New online bed retailer Comfi has introduced a retail store in Auckland with no staff.
When looking for a bed online, customers are met with barriers of not feeling the actual product. To combat this, Vicki Eriksen, co-founder of Comfi introduced a new concept that allows consumers to book an appointment at the store and try out the bed “minus the noise”.
“In this way they can try a bed in a tranquil, private space away from the gaaze of high-pressure salespeople as they lie between the sheets during their trial,” she says.
Eriksen says the concept comes after the difficulty of purchasing a bed for her daughter in the first lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
Since then, her and Susie Harris started looking into sleep and mattresses and ultimately led to the creation of a company that makes finding beds online easier.
“We thought, how can we do this? And so, we embarked on a journey looking abroad,” she says.
Both Eriksen and Harris say they found inspiration when stumbling across mattress start-up company, Casper in New York where people can book private nap appointments.
Eriksen adds that with the current climate with the pandemic, it only seemed reasonable to offer a service that is Covid-19 friendly as consumers become more cautious with how they shop.
“The ability to do this during a Covid environment is also increasingly important for a large segment of consumers who are now risk averse to traditional retail store environments.
“The reality of many consumers now is that they want to be able to shop online any time of the day or night and the traditional brick-and-mortar retail model has not effectively caught up with this shift in expectations,” she adds.
Customers will be able to book an appointment online at any suitable times, including after hours and will receive a pin-code to enter and spend at the brick-and-mortar showroom where they will get to test out the beds.
CCTVs are in place in the showroom for retailers to monitor the store without it needing to be staffed, and the one-time access codes permit entry for a limited amount of time.
Customers are given free reign when entering the showroom to feel the beds out, but Eriksen says for customers who are wanting a sleep to “knock yourself out if you’re tired”.
Other options can include an appointment with a person or a Zoom session where the bed will be demonstrated via video call.
Since the opening of the retail store, Eriksen says their sales conversion rates have increased by around 100 percent, with nearly every appointment in the showroom ultimately leading to a sale.
However, she says that the vision for Comfi is not to open several hubs, but rather give consumers the opportunity to try out the beds. If Comfi were to open another store, Eriksen says the next port of call would be Christchurch.
Comfi provides luxury beds made from sustainably sourced New Zealand wool from sheep farmers in Taupō. Shareholders in the company include Neat Meat CEO Simon Eriksen and Jucy co-founder Tim Alpe.