Seeking to stay at the forefront of the connected sleep journey, Sleep Number has introduced a new agile, digitally powered brick-and-mortar concept centered on sustainable design. This new greener store incorporates technology inspired by its Sleep Number 360 product and research supported by its own data to promote sleep health.
Inspired by Sleep Number’s cornerstone smart bed 360, slated to debut later in 2022, the new store design, which launched at the retailer’s Edina, Minn. store on June 23, 2022, boasts technology to guide customers toward healthy sleeping habits as well as supporting its in-store sleep experts. Serving as a centerpiece to every newly redesigned store, the new Sleep Number Climate360 bed will be displayed directly under the brand’s sundial ceiling fixture.
During planning for its new sustainable brick-and-mortar concept, Sleep Number blended the strength of human relationships, physical store connections and digital experiences to offer individual journeys to each customer through high-touch engagement. Following the Minnesota store opening, Sleep Number opened its redesigned West Bloomfield, Mich. store on July 21, and another space in Aurora, Ill. is scheduled to be unveiled on July 28. The retailer plans to open 16 such locations by the end of the year and eventually use the concept across its portfolio of over 650 stores.
“An intentional focus on sustainability is one of the biggest changes to our design development process,” said Angela Gearhart, VP of Connected Brand Experience at Sleep Number in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “It’s the first time that we’ve used sustainability as a guiding principle and a foundational requirement. The urban built environment is one of the largest contributors to energy consumption and C02 emissions, and retail is a large contributor because the store’s life expectancy is about two to 10 years before it’s remodeled or relocated.”
Retailers are now being held to task by regulatory agencies (and by the public) for their responsibility in maintaining environmental health. When surveyed for the Retail TouchPoints 2022 Benchmark Survey — Connectivity, Community and Collaboration: Inside the New Era of Store Design, 36% of respondents noted that they are exploring sustainable building materials for their retail locations.
In March, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed new regulations that would require expanded climate-related disclosures for investors — and companies are stepping up to expand sustainability efforts. According to a PwC survey, 57% of sustainability leaders said that accountability for achieving ecological goals has been established companywide, and 53% aligned operations with sustainable strategy.
Implementing a Sustainability-Led Store Design
As a participant in the United Nations Global Compact, Sleep Number redesigned its stores with sustainable details in mind, including materials manufacturing, construction and maintenance. The retailer will monitor and test these new design elements to gauge where it should invest in a comprehensive remodel strategy for additional doors.
“We wanted to take a forward approach and apply sustainability strategies from the beginning, very intentionally, so that sustainability is not a separate strategy,” said Gearhart. “You’re making choices that align to that value, but still look beautiful and create this effortless environment to elevate the brand experience.”
Eco-characteristics in the store design include:
- Flooring manufactured in U.S.-based zero waste facilities that use 100% closed loop pre-consumer recycled content;
- Fixtures made from certified recycled acrylic;
- Laminated fixtures consisting of high-pressure laminate (HPL), with a top layer made up of an average of 34% post-consumer recycled material (PCR) and a bottom layer of 32% to 67% PCR;
- Eliminating melamine for solid surfaces in favor of products that are GREENGUARD Gold Certified;
- PVC-free wall coverings manufactured with recycled fibers that are themselves recyclable;
- LED lighting to reduce energy consumption;
- Paints, coatings and adhesive that are either no- or low-VOC (volatile organic compounds);
- Restrooms that include low-flow fixtures to decrease water use;
- Drinking fountain bottle fillers in stores to encourage reuse of containers; and
- Forward-looking initiatives designed to transition the operational footprint of manufacturing and corporate facilities to renewable energy.
Customer-Centric Technology Supports Eco Efforts
At the core of Sleep Number’s consumer mission is identifying the individual resting needs of its customers, and through content-driven initiatives in its new stores the retailer hopes to help guests discover their own sleep solutions using digital innovations such as:
- A 360 smart bed Experience to inform customers of the benefits of quality sleep and how the product can help them achieve it;
- Interactive bedding planner and PillowFit Quiz digital experiences that customers access via QR codes;
- Multiple interchangeable technology presentations;
- iPad content that empowers Sleep Expert associates as they guide customers; and
- Testing for incorporation of future AR experiences.
Sleep Number will use these features to enhance each individual’s discovery of their own sleep experience. High-touch elements include touch-and-feel samples and the bed’s smart technology, which affords interaction with customers.
“Within the 360 smart bed experience, the consumer can see, feel and hear the bed, to help the consumer understand the key benefits of quality sleep and the 360 smart bed,” said Gearhart, noting that video content is available in an overhead monitor connected to the bed.
Sleep Number also took steps to ensure that it is able to easily shift with a quickly evolving digital landscape. By incorporating digital tools to support its Sleep Experts and customer journey, Sleep Number is designing its stores to evolve with new technology without requiring major renovations or contributing to waste.
“QR codes are effective to link to interactive digital experiences on the website, to things like our wedding planner and our pillows quiz,” said Gearhart. “It’s super changeable and easy to update without needing to have content in-store. Our Sleep Experts also utilize iPads, and the content and the iPads as well as a guided customer journey really assist in that selling process.”
According to Gearhart, the Sleep Number redesign goals are based on these components, with the goal of creating a “premium brand experience that is sustainable, but totally developed.
“Our purpose and this new store concept support Sleep Number’s brand positioning as the leader of connected sleep, science and research,” added Gearhart. “A whole brand evolution and brand positioning was the impetus for looking at how we come to the consumer in a new way, to individualize the customer journey and create an emotional and rational connection.”