How SleePare’s “Try to Buy” Approach is Reducing Global Waste

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SleePare’s

In case you haven’t heard of them already, SleePare is a multi-million dollar, national mattress retailer that specializes in helping their clients shop for, test, and purchase the ideal, top-quality mattress for their health, budget, and lifestyle. Using a ‘hybrid’ store model of an online marketplace and brick-and-mortar showrooms, the company offers its clients a comprehensive shopping experience that embodies the best of the in-person store and digital shopping industries.

Over the past five years, the company has grown rapidly—partnering with high-ranking mattress brands like Puffy, Helix, Dreamcloud, Nectar, Winkbeds, Brooklyn Bedding, and more. Their affiliate partnerships allow them to serve more customers on a daily basis—all under the VIP-level service umbrella that SleePare has become known for.

About the Founder

The SleePare CEO, Shanir Kol, is a seasoned entrepreneur and industry trailblazer. Born in Jerusalem, Israel, he relocated to the United States in his early adult years, earning an education through the California State University Business School in Northridge, California. Today, he uses his extensive industry experience to lead his team to success: improving the lives of consumers by giving them the mattresses they need, at the price they want, and with the white-glove service they crave.

In actuality, this mattress matchmaking mission has another purpose: to diminish returns. While, in a practical sense, this helps lower costs for the manufacturer, its main purpose is to reduce waste by saving thousands of mattresses from going straight into landfills. In just five years of business, this approach has already had a significant positive impact on the amount of global waste contributed by the mattress industry and, according to Shanir Kol, the company only plans to go further from there.

The SleePare Business Model

Every day, the SleePare team goes above and beyond to support their customers—allowing them to make risk-free, well-informed purchasing decisions. This is mainly achieved through the company’s “Try Before You Buy” model—an innovative approach made popular in the e-Commerce industry by Shanir Kol himself.

Traditionally, mattress shoppers often must spend a great deal of time, effort, and money to find a mattress they think they want. And yet, this process does not always result in a satisfied customer. On the other hand, the SleePare approach utilizes a simple, personalized and stress free methodology to help the customer find their ideal mattress, with far less time and money spent.

Most SleePare customers start on their website. There, they can get custom recommendations, filter results, and even check out real customer reviews. In addition, the site uses a completely unbiased data analysis model to authenticate and compile buyer data from all across the web, giving shoppers a much more comprehensive view of their products.

After making their choice online, shoppers can reserve an in-person time slot at the nearest SleePare showroom. There, guests are welcomed into a calm, no-pressure atmosphere where they can test the mattress of their choice, without interruptions.

Despite the privacy they enjoy, no SleePare customer is shopping alone. SleePare experts are just around the corner to answer questions, address concerns, and even pair the guest with a specific mattress—based on their preferred sleeping position, sleep challenges (temperature regulation, sleep disorders, etc.) and other lifestyle preferences. This brings in that human connection customers love about a traditional, in-person shopping experience, without the pushy, shifty business practices of yesteryear.

Using this ultra-attentive, customized approach, the SleePare team has been able to enhance customer satisfaction throughout all of their locations drastically. Despite a flexible 3×100 Satisfaction Guarantee (100% satisfaction within 100 days, or 100% return), very few customers end up returning their purchases. In fact, SleePare’s hybrid business model has a 5% rate of return. That’s more than 70% off the typical return rate for buying a mattress online.

So why does this matter? Well, it all comes down to global waste.

Every year, about 20 million mattresses are sold worldwide through the web—6 million in the U.S. alone. Around 20% of these purchases are returned. This amounts to over 1 million barely-used mattresses in landfills, occupying around 40 cubic feet of space. That’s the equivalent of about 150 U.S. mail trucks filled, top-to-bottom. This leaves a non-biodegradable mess leaching chemicals into the soil and taking up space on an already cluttered planet. Even with biodegradable mattresses, they cannot decompose as needed due to their immense size—and they cannot be compressed as efficiently as other trash. All of this has a significant contribution to the negative ecological and environmental effects and hazardous working conditions around the globe.

“Mattresses are huge. There’s a lot of materials and resources that are needed to make one mattress and I don’t think people are fully aware of that,” said Shanir Kol in a recent interview. “A lot of C02 is involved in the packing and the transporting process and the numbers are so big when you think of all of those mattresses that are manufactured and almost immediately going to the landfill.”

This serious issue has only gotten worse, thanks to the invention of more convenient and cost-effective (but environmentally unfriendly) shopping concepts—like the “bed in a box”. In this approach, a flexible mattress is rolled and compressed so that it may fit into a shipping container. This allows for immediate online purchase and delivery to customers.

As positive as this seems on the surface, this type of innovation actually created an entirely new mess of problems. Since customers are able to buy such a large product on impulse, they are less likely to be satisfied with their purchase than if they had enjoyed the full shopping experience—including testing out the product. In addition, the specialized design, material sourcing, production, packaging, and shipping of these ‘more convenient’ products requires the use of additional resources and funds. After all that, up to 20% may still be returned—only to be sent straight to a landfill. At the end of it all, this booming market demand creates more problems than it solves—and contributes to the global waste pandemic in spades.

Thankfully, SleePare has remained miles ahead of its competitors. In addition to helping tens of thousands of people improve their health and sleep quality with an informed mattress purchase, the company has already formed initiatives to help clean, sanitize, and donate used mattresses to those in need. In this way, they’re hoping to help even more people and reduce waste at the same time.

Nationwide Success

Since the initial concept was born in 2017, all the way through its official founding in the next year, SleePare has established itself in five major U.S. business hubs—and counting. Starting with a single showroom in downtown Manhattan (New York City, NY), the magnitude of positive customer feedback quickly led to the opening of a second showroom in Washington, D.C.. This momentum has only increased—with a mattress showroom in midtown Miami, Florida in 2020—and another in Boston Massachusetts in 2021.

After only five years of enthusiastic business—and over 10,000 mattress sales nationwide—SleePare opened a fifth showroom in mid-city Los Angeles, California. This year, they opened showroom #6 in Tysons Corner, Virginia—and generated over ten million dollars through a powerful combination of direct and affiliate sales.

In addition to these yearly sales numbers, SleePare’s return rate has remained at 5%, translating customer satisfaction into better care for the planet. Guests have driven for hours and hundreds of miles—even crossed state lines—just to meet with SleePare experts, leaving with an experience they are sure to remember for the rest of their lives.

“I just can’t believe it,” Shanir Kol says. “I see people visiting us from two states over and take the full day to drive here and then drive back home the full 3,4,5 hours away which is really overwhelming which I didn’t see happening. But people are really concerned with sleeping well and their health so they take the effort and it’s great to see.”

The company’s immense success, as well as the ever-increasing rates of customer satisfaction, are a sign that this company is certainly doing something right. At least, that’s what their CEO thinks.

“I’m being told by people how happy they are just to be able to use our services and I don’t think a lot of businesses get that reaction from customers on a daily basis, so that’s really rewarding every time,” Kol says. “Meeting people in the store and seeing how happy they are just to learn that we exist makes me happy every single time. When I meet people in the stores and the first sentence out of their mouths is ‘oh my god I’m so happy you guys exist I’ve been going crazy for so long looking for a mattress’.”

With 6 successful locations, thousands of mattresses kept out of landfills, and tens of thousands of customers choosing the SleePare experience—it’s clear to us that the company is doing so much more than selling mattresses. Not only have they been able to help nurture the U.S. economy and support hundreds of American workers, their environmental health initiatives have provided outstanding, and ongoing public service that is sure to benefit our planet for years to come.

According to Shanir Kol, this is only the beginning. His current plan for the company is to have over 30 total locations across the United States and Canada, by 2023. This includes a showroom in at least 22 metropolitan areas within the U.S. By doing this, Kol hopes to give more than 90% of American residents access to the revolutionary SleePare experience. With this current trajectory in mind, Kol expects to be able to help over 40,000 American citizens choose the right online mattress and obtain the quality of sleep they deserve each year.

Within these aspirations, it is not difficult to see one of Shanir Kol’s greatest strengths as an entrepreneur: his motivation to consistently progress and advance.

“Obviously when you are operating in over five states there are constantly challenges,” says Shanir Kol. “You need to have that internal strength to keep going and not let yourself get tired or slow down with all of those challenges that you face every day.”

With even more struggles on the horizon, this is the type of outlook the eCommerce world needs to drive it into the future.  We look forward to seeing the impact SleePare will continue to have on our communities, our economies, and the planet as a whole.