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Member Spotlight: Mattress Land

Written by Rob Stott

March 4, 2024

mattress land store

Mattress shopping today is fairly formulaic. To explain it to someone who’s never stepped foot inside a mattress store, you could really just hand them a copy of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Just like Goldilocks tested out the three bears’ beds, finding one to be too firm, one too delicate, and one just right, mattress dealers follow a similar process in their own sales practice. And, hey, for an industry — or product, more specifically — that’s been around some 77,000 years, it’s worked.

But there’s always room for a little improvement, right? What if mattress shopping could be reimagined in a way that uses a little bit of technology and data to help a customer feel confident that they truly are picking the best bed for the perfect night’s rest? That’s exactly what the team at Mattress Land, headquartered in Fresno, California have been working to accomplish with their BedFIT system — a proprietary, AI—powered technology that is said to take the guesswork out of finding the best mattress.

“The way everybody does it is, they have people lay on two or three beds and they ask, ’How does that feel?’” Ryan Spradling, president of Mattress Land, explained during a recent Independent Thinking Podcast interview. “You’ll give me some feedback and based on a 10- or 15-second test rest, you’re going to make a lifelong decision on a mattress. We just felt that there was a much better way to do that.” Spradling points out that the instant feedback from the customer is great for determining the comfort level that they prefer in a mattress. But what it doesn’t get at is the support that they will receive during a several—hour stint laying on that mattress.

“That’s where our technology’s really going to help that end consumer pick the right bed the first time,” he says. “We’re pretty proud of it. We lean on it, and we believe in it in a big way. There’s some artificial intelligence built into this technology, so it’s only going to get better and better over a period of time.”

THE BEDFIT EXPERIENCE

There are two ways for consumers to access the BedFIT experience through Mattress Land. One is an eight-question online quiz that helps to narrow down the choices prior to visiting a Mattress Land store. The other, more accurate way to utilize the technology is by stepping into one of the BedFIT diagnostic booths.

If you’ve ever been inside one of those TSA scanners at an airport, the BedFIT booth might give off similar vibes. The computer/camera system inside the booth starts by taking a series of precise pressure and alignment readings to create a digital map of the consumers’ body and pressure points. From there, leaning on over 50,000 data points, the system determines the best postural support and pressure relief for that consumer’s body type. The result is a set of recommended beds and pillows based on that profile.

“Our main focus with this is on the consumer experience,” says John Scott, vice president of sales for Mattress Land. “When someone comes into our store, they come as customers and leave as families — that’s one of our beliefs. So, would you sell your family the wrong bed just to make a sale? Or, would you make that extra effort, learn about them, learn about their health needs, any kind of pain criteria and put them through the BedFIT program? Combined with that kind of information, they’re going to be able to make a more educated decision in a much quicker time and probably go home and sleep a lot better than they ever have. And that’s our goal, to improve that consumer’s life.”

BedFIT, which formally rolled out at Mattress Land in 2020, has really helped to redefine and streamline the customer experience at their stores. With 17 locations up and down the West Coast, consumers can expect a consistent and recognizable look and feel at any Mattress Land, whether they’re visiting up in Spokane, Washington, or all the way down in Bakersfield, California.

“I think for any retailer, consistency is their ultimate goal,” Spradling says. “If you have a consistent model that you can trust in every state, every location, then you can control the experience, you can control the narrative, and that’s always what we’re striving for. Certain markets have a little variance here and there. But from a store experience side, we’re as consistent as possible.”

LEANING INTO THE GROUP

Much like they’ve invested in the technology behind BedFIT, Mattress Land recently made a notable investment in their business by becoming Members of Nationwide Marketing Group.

The group experience isn’t new to Mattress Land, a business that’s been around since 1996. But Spradling notes that the decision to join Nationwide a year ago was made to better align the business with likeminded entrepreneurs in the bedding industry.

“Positioning ourselves with Nationwide — which really places a high value on mattresses and furniture, and really has some of the biggest retailers in the country — it offers us a good learning experience,” he says. “But more importantly, we’re just around retailers that are struggling through some of the same things we’re struggling through and just here to help each other out. I know we’ve already formed some really good relationships with good retailers already. It’s been great.”

Scott adds that being able to lean on the Nationwide team over the past year has been a major benefit to their business as well.

“We find that being part of a group, we have an extended interest in our business success,” he says.

“We’re a small leadership team. So, we find that being able to lean on the experience of the leadership teams within Nationwide allows us to make better, more informed decisions.

At the end of the day, though, as Spradling notes, Mattress Land is only going to get out of their group experience what they put in. Making that effort to engage with Nationwide over the past year is what has opened up some of those doors for the business and enabled them to connect with other retailers and those functional experts within Nationwide. “I think no matter how big or how small you are, there’s something you can take away from the group,” Spradling says. “We’re a decent-sized retailer, but there are a lot of retailers in the group that are much bigger than us, and plenty that are smaller as well. You have to look at the group and say, ’We’ll benefit from these five or six things,’ and then go after them. Nationwide has done a really great job of offering really diverse services and providing opportunities that can help retailers no matter their size. And really, no matter the size of your business, there’s something you can take away from that membership and get better at.”

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