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Midwest Mattress Chain HassleLess Mattress Introduces Employee-less Stores

HassleLess Mattress’s experimental retail stores remove the salesperson to drive down costs, allowing the customer to browse comfortably, and eliminating the notoriously high-pressure sales environment of a typical mattress store. The Wisconsin-based retailer is just beginning its regional expansion, with new locations popping up across Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. Its 25 current stores offer a base for customers to try out mattresses without a store employee giving them a sales pitch. Read on for our review of the self-guided retail concept.

   

HassleLess Mattress has incorporated educational design elements and touchpoints to make the shopping experience as convenient as possible for customers, but certain elements make the store feel less than welcoming. The stores are typically located in high-traffic areas for an easy stop in a customer’s commute. At the store entrance, visitors are greeted by a flat screen television with a looped video explaining how to best navigate the store. Signs remind customers that there are no employees in the store, which saves them money, but that representatives are only a phone call or text away and ready to help. Customers are encouraged to browse the store as they would any other mattress store, but to do so at their own pace, without employees intervening. However, a store without salespeople present to welcome the customer and make them feel comfortable should be replaced with a well-lit environment, evident security, and other communication features that make the environment feel safe and approachable. These elements are missing from this store.

The in-store and online experiences are integrated; at the back of the store is a kiosk, inviting customers to place their mattress order online to be shipped directly to their homes, scheduling delivery for a date that is most convenient for them. Customers can also place orders online on any computer or mobile device, and request help via an online chat, phone, text, or email.

The online experience is not without hassle, however. For example, the “Offers” landing page requires customers to sift through a long list of rotating promotions, emulating the sales-driven experience in a typical staffed mattress store. Frustrating promotions are included, such as a prompt to add a pillow to your cart to find out what this week’s low price will be.

Source: HassleLess Mattress

The brand also has separate webpages for clearance and “hot buys,” adding to the confusion. The “hot buys” page advertises a discounted price with a prompt to “call for an even lower price,” pressuring customers to interact with staff members to negotiate a good deal – a step in the process customers are likely looking to avoid when choosing to shop with HassleLess Mattress.

Source: HassleLess Mattress

Brands and retailers continue to experiment with similar convenience tools such as just-walk-out technology to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience and reduce labor costs, but it is important in implementation that helpful and necessary elements of the store experience are not lost.

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Ava Buechel

abuechel@mdretail.com

Ava provides market and consumer research, planning, and analysis support for McMillanDoolittle retail consulting projects. Her experience in marketing, digital transformation, brand strategy, and retail innovation brings an updated perspective in the fast-paced business climate of today.

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