I’m sure you have been reading about AmazonGo cashierless stores. If not, Amazon is planning over 3,000 of these stores in the next few years so you can walk in, pick up your merchandise and simply walk out with your charges waiting for you on your Amazon account before you make it to your car. (If you like reading about Amazon check out THIS post from my buddy Brent Beshore and his team at Adventur.es; there is plenty of information in there to keep you busy for a few hours.)
So is it possible to do a mattress store with no retail salesperson? I know that it has already been tried but I am unaware of anyone doing that successfully today. After thinking about this for a while I thought I would share some of my thoughts on how somebody could actually pull that off.
- The mattress product assortment has to be really narrow. Maybe even all one price in three different firmnesses, and let Goldilocks find that “just right” feel for herself. If you try to expand past that you will just cause confusion therefore indecision. As for your pillows, protectors, and other items follow the same path. The downside for some of those sleep essentials will be shrinkage. If you have samples of pillows that they can use from bed to bed a dishonest customer could end up walking out with them. You could, however, put some cameras in the store like Wal-Mart does these days showing that they are being recorded; maybe that will stop the bad guys. Sheets would be easy enough, just provide a hand sample so they can pick their favorite quality and feel.
- You have to nail the fulfillment side that’s for sure. If you have your products on Amazon, that would be easy enough. Just follow the Tuft and Needle formula and run it all through your Amazon platform and they will process the order, bill your customer, warehouse it all and deliver it for you no problem.
- Your point of sale has to do the job of the RSA. You need to be able to educate your consumer on the benefits of your products and why somebody should shop with you instead of with someone else. (This will disqualify many of you out there because you don’t build value in your products or stores which can be clearly seen in your advertising. Does that upset you? Sorry for the smack of reality.) Could you do a virtual assistant where you could facetime people in the store, sort of like a help bot when you are shopping online but a real live person? How about tablets strategically placed with video thumbnails to bring the consumer deeper into the selling funnel. Topics? (Nothing over one minute please!)
- Tell me about this product; what does it do and what proof can you provide me with?
- What makes it better than others at similar price points?
- Why shop here?
- FAQ’s to include return policies, delivery details etc.
Other keys to success? Either a digital or traditional brand could mean a lot here. If you carry something that a consumer is familiar with it will help build some trust for the consumer if they aren’t totally comfortable buying in this type of store.
Make it a cool space. Pipe in some great music, fun graphics and calming smells to establish some texture in the store. If you deliver a simple to navigate, hassle-free shopping experience you will be rewarded.
What do you think, could this work? Likely not for the master suite purchase for most, but it would be great for a slice of the buying public. Maybe this concept is working and I just don’t know about it, if so tell me about it in the comments section.
Could be a great pop-up store model for inside a mall. Usually, there is always a small shop available these days at most malls at a greatly reduced rate. Mall security is also a plus.
Very good points Jack!
The potential for this model to work seems greater than the AmazonGo convenient store. Having the mattresses anchored to a platform and tethered pillows would make it easy to avoid shrinkage.
For the discerning customer interested in quality, detailed explanations of the components inside the mattress build trust through transparency. Offering verifiable transparency on spring quality spring systems then detailing why a mattress that uses the quantum edge is better than a typical foam encased mattress provides a unique customer experience they won’t get from a fast talking box store rep.
If there is an opportunity to develop a smart docent, much like in a museum, customers could learn at their own pace. Provide a website with a similar interactive experience and online retailers would be in trouble!
I agree that there is definitely potential here. I think that automation at retail, autonomous cars etc. are going to change our lives in a big way! Humans better step up if they don’t want to be replaced! Thanks for reading Dave and for the comments!!