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Why The Sleep Geek and Mattress Online make a strong team

Beds and mattress retailer Mattress Online recently announced a new partnership with Yorkshire-based sleep practitioner James Wilson, aka The Sleep Geek.

The 12-month exclusive partnership aims to improve lives through better sleep by properly connecting products to problems – without traditional sales techniques getting in the way. James will be supporting and educating the Mattress Online team with sound sleep and wellbeing advice – helping them get to grips with the fundamentals of stress reduction, enjoying work to its fullest and providing tailor-made customer service.

Furthermore, James will be helping with employee wellbeing but, as his work gets embedded into the brand, he will also be providing customer-facing staff with the tools required to help customers make the right choices for them.

So, how is the new partnership bedding in?

Steve Adams, Chief Executive Officer at Mattress Online, revealed that James is settling in nicely with the team super excited to have him on board. “We wanted to work with someone who was the right fit; who understands our values and culture and who genuinely believes in what we want to achieve as an employer and a customer focused retailer. We can’t share the details just yet but we’ve already begun researching how our staff sleep to help shape the health and wellbeing element of James’ work – and the results have been interesting!

“It’s a unique opportunity to stand out in the industry and set the bar as customers become savvier about products and services – it differentiates us from other typical sales focused retailers – we’re reinforcing our customer focus and supporting our staff by putting them at the centre of the partnership.”

James added: “As far as I know, a partnership like this is the first of its kind in the world, where a mattress brand is working in partnership to help their customers and staff to sleep better. We have created some social content (the sleep grinch has made an appearance) and started the process of planning the different strands, advice and tips for Mattress Online (MO) customers, content for training sales people, giving them some simple sleep knowledge and linking sleep issues to the products MO sells and also starting the process of working out, how do the people at MO sleep, so we can make sure the sleep seminars address the issues MO’s people have with their sleep.”

It’s all about helping customers make the connection between sleep issues and how the products the business sells can help these issues. And with Mattress Online already achieving a strong customer service reputation, with a 4.8/5 TrustPilot score from over 55,000 reviews, the company sees the partnership as an opportunity to be one step ahead of the competition and be connecting products to problems for their customers rather than just selling.

Mattress Online says it is “crucial” that their staff are sleeping well too, and in turn offering realistic help and advice to customers. Steve said: “There’s no one size fits all when it comes to sleep, and we know that when we talk to customers. One of our company values is that we do the right thing – and it’s only right we are prioritising the sleep health of our team.”

“The Kip Mate approach is designed to provide an understanding of what happens when we sleep, and then focus on a couple of factors, helps individuals understand themselves as sleepers, it talks about creating a workplace culture that is sleep friendly, it looks at our relationships and lifestyle and how these affect sleep and then gives some simple and effective tools and tips that will help improve the sleep of the people at MO,” James added.

So, why now?

James revealed that he has been searching for the right mattress brand to create a long-term partnership with for the last five years. A connection with Rotherham United Football Club opened the door for this to be explored, while synergies in beliefs and ambition were equally shared, making the partnership a good fit. “It has been hard to find a brand that was not trying to use me to “sleepwash” their offering. I am unique amongst sleep experts in that I come from a product background, my Grandpa and parents worked in the industry (my Grandpa was the founder of Duckers Sleep Products) and so I am more aware of the positives and the negatives, about the industry, which made finding a partner with the same beliefs about how we help people sleep better and how products like mattresses, duvets and pillows can do that was difficult.

“Many brands just wanted a relationship based on shallow marketing messages, whilst I was looking for something more involved and was about improving the experience of those buying these products. Mattress Online and I hold similar beliefs, we both are passionate about the mattress industry, but also, we can see clearly how it can be improved. The fact they are based in Rotherham, my hometown, is an added bonus, and is clear proof that all the best things come from Rotherham!”  

Both The Sleep Geek and Mattress Online have a relationship with Rotherham United Football Club, and Steve Coakley, the clubs Commercial Director, made the connection and offered to make an introduction. Steve continued: “We’d followed James’ work for a long time, so we were delighted when we reached out and he wanted to come and chat with us. When we first met and started to talk there were so many similarities between us and James in terms of our thoughts on sleep and sleep challenges for our colleagues and customers, and streamlining customer understanding around choice and advice.

“The shared passion and aligned ambitions were clear – both parties believe strongly in helping the customer by demystifying buying a mattress. James is also a Rotherham lad which is where we are headquartered. So much about the partnership just felt right.”

On that feeling, the partnership is expected to deliver sleep success and is not solely sales focussed. For James, this will be measured by helping customers and staff sleep better, implementing his sleep expertise in the right way and not just for endorsement or marketing purposes. “Hopefully it shows the industry that using sleep expertise should be utilised in pulling the products we sell as an industry closer to the people, like me, helping people improve their sleep day to day,” while Steve added: “We’ll look at feedback from our teams who are taking part in training and wellbeing sessions, we can of course garner statistics around the engaging web content James will be contributing to, and we can measure how his work translates to support for our customers through reviews, read time on site and brand trust – it’s not about sales.”

The partnership is one of many investments in staff training Mattress Online incorporates, with Steve sharing a final thought on other initiatives at the business. “As well as our ongoing NVQ training programme for staff, our internal Health & Wellbeing Programme is now in its second full year, and for 2023 we will be adding financial wellbeing to the mix. We’ve introduced some staff development with executive coaching, and our managers will be embarking on best practice training for recruiting as we continue to bolster the team.”

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