Warby of X

Warby of X: Helix Sleep Brings Science To Mattress Buying

Helix Sleep Mattress

Buying a mattress can typically be a much-needed yet burdensome purchase.

Traditionally, it required going into a physical retail location and bouncing from bed to bed to bed in order to find the mattress that felt just right. Couple that with the fact that many consumers may not fully understand all of the options and products available to them, and the result has been a potentially time-consuming and friction-filled shopping experience.

But what if all it took to change that was a two-to-three-minute quiz?

With the combination of a short sleep quiz and its own a proprietary algorithm, Adam Tishman, cofounder at Helix Sleep, told PYMNTS the company is able to provide customized mattresses that it guarantees will provide the best night’s sleep without the burden of having to shop in-store.

PYMNTS: Backing a mattress purchase with science is a really interesting concept. How did the idea for Helix Sleep come about?

AT: The idea for Helix came about both based on a personal need and a pain point. Not only is going to the mattress store a huge pain and negative experience, but trying to understand products in this category is really difficult. Should you get the gel-infused option for an additional $100? Does it make sense to get this type of bed versus that type of bed? Customers should not be burdened with questions that require you to be a mattress expert. That’s the genesis of the concept of Helix — we were searching for a way to use science and technology to provide a better night’s sleep and take out all the pain and confusion to get there.

PYMNTS: How does it work for consumers? Is this a purchase that takes convincing, or are consumers comfortable with making a traditionally physical-based purchase online?

AT: As a consumer, you come to our website and fill out our sleep quiz, which takes roughly two to three minutes. You’ll tell us a little bit about yourself — your body type (height/weight), sleeping preferences (back/side/stomach) and mattress preference (firmer vs. softer). Based on your answers to those questions, we have a proprietary algorithm that designs your optimal mattress. Think about it like going to a tailor — we take your measurements and then design the perfectly fitted mattress.

In terms of purchasing, we help consumers who are worried about buying a traditional in-store purchase online through our personalization. Instead of offering a single product that we claim works for everyone, we’re building a bed based on who you are and how you sleep. This can go a long way in terms of helping people get over that hump. Plus, we offer a 100-night sleep trial, which means that you get 100 nights to really make sure that your Helix Mattress is right for you. If not, we offer hassle-free returns.

PYMNTS: Can you talk more about the Helix Sleep showroom in NYC? When was that physical touchpoint put in place, and how has it changed customer purchasing decisions?

AT: From the moment we launched the website, we’ve had a showroom — though it’s definitely gone through a few iterations to be what it is today. We love how the showroom gives us a physical space and personal opportunity to meet with customers in person and describe our brand and value proposition. We’re able to physically build the beds in the showroom for people to test out in a unique and comfortable environment.

PYMNTS: What is your take on the “Warby of X” concept? Do you see direct-to-consumer evolving as sustainable business model?

AT: Maybe. From a business perspective, it is really heavy lifting. There are plenty of reasons why Warby has diversified its strategy to retail. The biggest is probably that a home trial model is tough to make sustainable among a high percentage of customers. The bigger point is finding ways to make consumers interact with your brand and feel comfortable with your product. We feel like we’re beginning to achieve these goals through the personalization aspects of the sleep quiz, and there are many other companies doing interesting things on this front as well.

PYMNTS: The direct-to-consumer concept for mattresses is a space that’s increased in popularity in recent years. How is Helix Sleep working to stand out in that market?

AT: At Helix, our core mission is to provide a better, more personalized night’s sleep — essentially bringing customization to the sleep category. Most of our competitors spend a lot of time, energy and money arguing over whose mattress is the singular best for everyone — a premise we wholeheartedly rebuke. We recognize that people are different and look to celebrate the power of personal difference.

PYMNTS: What’s next for Helix Sleep? Do you have any news or updates you can share?

AT: We’re looking to continually innovate in terms of new products and experiences. I think 2017 will continue to be a fascinating year for Helix and the general sleep space. Stay tuned!

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