Chad Lundeen has a dashboard that won’t stop lighting up. The award-winning vice president of real estate and store development for Saatva, Lundeen spent time in San Diego investigating possible locations for his luxury mattress brand’s latest showroom. The mattress industry disruptor has already opened retail locations at popular main street hotspots like 14th Street in Washington DC, and Boston’s Newbury Street. Instead of looking at main street retail, the data pointed to the outdoor Westfield UTC shopping center in San Diego, checking all of his boxes.
Lundeen and his colleagues plan to open 8 to 10 new stores annually. Those numbers make the pressure high and the margin for error low. The Saatva team heat maps the country, overlaying custom variables data regarding healthy lifestyle and recreation preferences on top of standard data points like sales and conversion rates.
“I have customer data from 12 years in business, good technology, and a well-thought-out plan,” Lundeen says. “Armed with all these tools, I can dial up and down my factors and be as patient or opportunistic as I need to be to get Saatva the right location.”
When ABQ first met with Lundeen in 2022, Saatva was committed to collocating to the hottest destinations near like-minded brands like Restoration Hardware and Design Within Reach and was preparing to open its second viewing room. Now, the company has 13 of those; some, like locations in iconic neighborhoods such as West Hollywood in Los Angeles, while others, like Lincoln Park in Chicago, are more mainstream. Southeast outposts like Charlotte, North Carolina, and the forthcoming Coral Gables, Florida, may have smaller footprints but are attracting new customers as brick-and-mortar retail continues to evolve.
“Big Box power centers and online marketplaces have changed the way people shop, and we are finding a boost from people looking for a traditional experience,” Lundeen explains. After the Philadelphia and Seattle viewing rooms opened in spring 2023, they quickly became some of the company’s top performers from a revenue per-square-foot perspective.
Lundeen says Saatva will continue to look at other open-air and boutique retail locations. “We have terrific partners in our main street locations, but there are simply new and exciting things we can do elsewhere,” he says. For example, Saatva can tap into a marketing and communications ecosystem and find other synergistic opportunities in these retail destinations.
Each viewing room stays connected to its community through localized finishes, materials, signage, and digital content. No matter where a Saatva retail location opens, it’s careful to keep the customer experience at the center of everything. That’s because the company’s cofounders, Ron Rudzin and Ricky Joshi, wanted to disrupt and replace the iffy reputation of the mattress salesperson and the impersonal experience of buying one.
Customers who come to a Saatva viewing room discover a low-pressure environment. Nobody—including the welcoming sleep guides—works on commission. Materials, finishes, and design choices evoke health and calmness. Pleasant aromas pump through diffusers while Samsung screens and interactive touchscreen displays loaded with behavior-sensing technology display streamlined content and product information.
Rudzin and Joshi’s mission to build the best experience in the mattress space permeates all Lundeen does. “As I look for new locations and design viewing rooms, I’m always thinking about my own shopping habits and what our customers will want and expect,” he says. After all, each customer will have the product in their most personal room for a decade.
The year 2023 was a strong one for Saatva. The company opened new stores and continued to gain market share and increase brand awareness. Revenue is going up by double-digits, and longtime partner Bedding Industries of America (BIA) merged with Saatva, which gives the company greater control over the end-to-end supply chain and guides the total customer experience from manufacturing to white-glove delivery.
Saatva has enjoyed a longstanding partnership not only with BIA but with Samsung and all of its legacy partners. In 2024, the company is leaning further into its relationship with Samsung by bringing more lifestyle imagery and localized content to its screens. “We’re going beyond only using radio, TV, and the internet to engage our customers and get involved in the community,” Lundeen says.
Saatva also partnered with the American Heart Association (AHA) to bring doctors and sleep experts to its Chicago location to celebrate Better Sleep Month. The AHA leveraged the displays throughout Saatva’s space as a platform to educate guests about the recent addition of sleep as its eighth pillar of heart health and the benefits of good sleep hygiene.
The company is also putting cutting-edge tools into the hands of each viewing room manager. A third-party app scans social media platforms and lets users take a social sentiment analysis they can then use to fine-tune product displays, inventories, and other items.
Saatva is simply a different type of mattress company. Lundeen sees proof every day. Recently, his marketing colleagues heard of a customer who called a viewing room to return their mattress. The Saatva employee who took the call inquired why, only to discover the customer’s elderly dog could no longer jump into bed. Upon hearing the news, the sleep guide ordered and sent the customer a set of dog stairs so the family’s four-legged friend could access the Saatva bed. It might sound like someone going above and beyond, but Lundeen says it’s seemingly an everyday occurrence.
It’s one of many ways Saatva is a dream come true compared to legacy retailers. The Smarter Luxury Sleep company is on track to have at least 20 viewing rooms open nationwide by the end of 2024.
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