Sleep Number’s NYC Shop Is a Tech-Lovers Experience Aimed at Challenging Mattress Startups

Step inside the brand's new space in Manhattan

Sleep Number's Manhattan store is fully equipped with the latest technology. Dianna McDougall for Adweek
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Everywhere you look, it seems mattress companies are opening sleep lounges with nap pods or attending major industry events like SXSW to showcase products that improve your sleep quality, and therefore your health. There’s so much competition in the mattress world these days—what does a mattress brand have to do to stand out?

Enter Sleep Number.

The brand’s new shop, which opens today in Manhattan, is not your typical retail store or mattress showroom. To keep up with the increasing competition, Sleep Number injected technology and a thoughtful, open design into the space with the goal of positioning itself as a health-and-wellness company that can truly improve sleep quality and quality of life for busy New Yorkers. With the location, Sleep Number aims to transform the traditional retail store into an experience where you can learn about the latest in smart mattresses or how mattresses connect to smart homes and fitness trackers. You can also hear about (and learn firsthand) how Sleep Number mattresses adapt to different body types to provide quality sleep for anyone.

“Our new Sleep Number store in the Flatiron District demonstrates the transformative impact of our smart bed on individual comfort, restfulness and well-being,” Shelly Ibach, president and CEO of Sleep Number, said in a statement. “We are improving lives by delivering an unparalleled sleep experience.”

Angela Gearhart, vp of brand experience at Sleep Number, called the New York store “one of those must-see retail destinations” that incorporates technology “in a way that is seamless to the experience.”

“It feels like an organic idea,” Gearhart said.

Dianna McDougall

The other distinguishing factor of the retail location, according to Gearhart, is the sleep experts in the store. All employees will be able to work with the technology and products to help shoppers find their perfect mattress, pillows or bedding for them.

So what’s it like when you first set foot in the high-tech store?

Just inside there are two digital maps of Manhattan that display the average time people in different neighborhoods—from the Upper West Side to the East Village—woke up and went to bed, how long they slept and what their average sleep score, or quality of sleep as measured by biometric sensors built in to the bed that can track heart rate, breathing and movement in bed.

In the next room—there are five rooms in all—shoppers will find the brand’s temperature-balance line of products. The middle of the store is where shoppers can really test out Sleep Number’s products, including the latest Sleep Number 360 smart bed.

“What this experience does is it brings all the benefits of the 360 smart bed [which starts at $999] to life in a way that feels comfortable, because laying down in a bed in a store with people looking at you can be a little weird,” Gearhart said.

There are two beds, one on each side of the store, with a TV above each one. Each bed can map your body and display pressure points on a heat map. A sleep expert adjusts the bed to fit your body and your Sleep Number setting. You can feel the bed moving as you lie on your back and side.

Dianna McDougall

The experience also shows how the bed can rise and fall at the touch of a button if your partner is snoring and keeping you up in the middle of the night, as part of a three-minute, immersive “ride” where the consumer learns about the technology built in to the bed. The experience is unique to Manhattan, for now.

Additionally, shoppers can play around with a giant, interactive SleepIQ app to learn more about how the Sleep Number 360 smart bed connects to your home and daily life. “You can see over time how your sleep changes and the things that you do can impact your sleep,” Julie Elepano, senior manager of product brand at Sleep Number, said. The smart bed can link up to a number of fitness trackers to help monitor how physical activity impacts sleep. It also can connect to Nest devices to control room temperature.

The final two rooms in the store house pillows and a customizable bedding lab. All of the bedding is set out in the back in different colors, so shoppers can touch, feel and see what the products look like. There’s also an interactive element where consumers can lay out what their dream bedding would look like and make sure all the different colors go together.

“The whole store is designed to be compelling,” Gearhart said. “It needs to be differentiated and relevant and give people a reason to come and engage with the brand and then act.”

Don’t miss Brandweek, coming up September 23-25 in Palm Springs. No panels, no sales pitches—just three days of interactive discussion, problem-solving, entertainment and networking. Learn more here.

@ktjrichards Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.