Sleep Experience creates spa feeling, says Mega
Michael J. Knell -- Furniture Today, September 2, 2013
BOUCHERVILLE, Quebec - Mega Group has unveiled its next generation Sleep Experience boutique concept at the new Germain Lariviève store in the Quartier Dix30 regional shopping center on the south shore of Montreal.
Created by Mega design director Carole Vallieres, assisted by team members Carrie Chubey and Stephanie Latour, the new Sleep Experience environment is designed to submerge the consumer in a spa-like universe surrounded by soft waterfalls and muted colors.
"The concept behind Sleep Experience is to enhance the consumer's experience looking for a better and restful night's sleep," said Gerry Wong, director of Mega's bedding merchandising program and the 15-unit Sleep Experience banner.
Within the boutique's 3,100 square feet are four alcoves that allow the customer to discreetly discover an array of mattresses and bedding accessories. Each alcove is equipped with a flat screen television and informational video, explaining the technologies and benefits of each mattress.
Wong said the Germain Larivière space contains 36 floor models from brands including Beautyrest (Simmons Canada), Serta, Tempur-pedic, Pure LatexBliss, Nex-Gel (from Rev Sleep), Zedbed and Concept Zzz, Mega's private-label mattress brand.
Zedbed is specific to Germain Larivière - which is part of Mega's Evolution subgroup for larger independent retailers - as it isn't currently included in Mega's core mattress lineup.
"Our concept allows for market differences and customization," Wong said.
The Germain Larivière's assortment includes with 14 specialty mattresses on eight power bases and 22 innerspring/hybrid models at price points ranging from C$199 for a twin mattress to C$2,229 for a specialty queen size. The minimum display for any Sleep Experience gallery - whether in-store or freestanding - will be 22 models.
The merchandise plan includes an assortment of accessories - pillows, mattress toppers and protectors. The pillows are presented on a floating shelf system and customers are encouraged to select one to carry with them and use while testing the mattresses. Wong said Mega is placing a heavy emphasis on accessories, describing them as "critical. Sleep accessories represent 25% of sales."
The Quartier Dix30 gallery is the 15th Sleep Experience - or Experience Sommeil as it's known in Quebec - outlet. Germain Lariviève is expected to add similar boutiques to its stores in the Montreal suburbs of Laval and Ste-Rosalie this fall.
A similar gallery will be included in the design of the first-ever built from-the-ground-up Brand Source Canada store, which is expected to open in Ottawa this September.
Currently the Sleep Experience banner has two freestanding stores, both built on the new model. The Sudbury, Ontario, location, with 40 floor models, had a soft opening last fall.
The banner also includes three dual category stores (appliances and mattresses) and 10 in-store galleries. Three member stores are using the new model and Wong said two of the dual category stores will convert to the new concept this year.
Wong said the cost to create the Sleep Experience interior is about C$20 per square foot and is designed to support annual revenues of C$300 per square foot.
Expanding the program to other members is high on Mega's "to do" list for 2013. "We are reviewing it with a number of Mega retailers who are interested in converting their mattress departments to our new Sleep Experience boutique," Wong said.
In addition to design services, Mega's support program includes advertising, merchandising and online training. Sleep Experience is operated as part of BrandSource Canada, which provides the banner's Web presence. This is augmented with store websites, such as that posted by Sudbury Sleep Experience at www.sleepexperiencesudbury.ca.
Wong said he believes Sleep Experience has tremendous potential to help independent furniture retailers grow their bedding sales.
"We see enormous opportunity in this category in the Canadian marketplace as most of our furniture retailers have not taken the opportunity to capitalize on big their advantage over the sleep shop - their traffic," he said, adding that the Sleep Experience concept was created to sell sleep, as that's what brings the consumer into the store when the time comes to buy a new mattress.