A Significant and Growing Online Business
Tempur Sealy International, Inc. is the world’s largest bedding provider. The company develops, manufactures, and markets mattresses, adjustable bases, pillows and other sleep and relaxation products. Combining a proud history and groundbreaking innovation, the company holds some of the most highly recognized brands in the industry: Tempur®, Tempur-Pedic®, Cocoon™ by Sealy, Sealy®, and Stearns & Foster®. Tempur Sealy products are sold nationwide direct and through 6,000 retail partner locations. Competition in the mattress industry is intense, and there is significant disruption in the space.
Recognizing that product ratings and reviews on the Internet are now more influential than word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family, Tempur Sealy has forged an impressive reviews program to collect and display user-generated content vital to fostering confidence during the buyer journey.
This program enables the company to constantly engage with consumers, while 1. Enabling direct-to-consumer sales and 2. Syndicating the reviews the company collects for display across its retail dealer network to generate more sales on these sites too.
As a result of its efforts to enhance the digital shopping experience, by the end of 2019, Tempur Sealy’s full-year global direct channel sales had nearly doubled during a two-year period. And this was before Covid-19, which had “a transformational impact” as the company fully leaned in on ecommerce, according to Josh Sowards, Senior Customer Marketing Manager at Tempur Sealy International, Inc.
The Tempur Sealy Ratings & Reviews Program for Retailers
Enriching an Increasingly Online Customer Journey
Mattresses are a higher ticket, long-consideration purchase, and buying a mattress today is an omni-channel experience, explains Sowards.
The shift to ecommerce for consumer products has been significant over the past few years – a trend dramatically accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, some 30-40% of all Tempur Sealy products are purchased online, up from only 10% in 2018 – according to Sowards. This represents a massive shift in buyer behavior, particularly for items subject to significant personal taste and preferences that did not traditionally lend themselves to being sold online (vs in store, where shoppers can trial the product).
Tempur Sealy has been laser focused on this change in buyer behavior, and how it can support the buying experience for both its customers and retailers. The reality is a typical customer journey is omnichannel, incorporating both online and offline elements.
“Most people spend 224 days to purchase a mattress and 60 of those days are in the exploration stage, where they conduct general and product-specific research,” says Sowards. “Consumers want to touch and test a mattress before they buy, while digital product reviews are crucial early in the journey during the research stage, and at the end for validation prior to purchase.
Reviews Becoming Evermore Critical to Mattress Buying Decisions
“If you don’t have reviews, you’re nowhere,” continues Sowards. “We have to have good copy, great photography, video content and features and benefits; however, reviews are another standard element that our retailers – who carry our products – expect when we launch something new.
“They want a product to hit their website and their retail floors at the same time with reviews because they understand the impact – not only from an educational perspective but also from a conversion perspective,” he says. “Buyers just don’t convert on products without reviews.”
Multiplying the Impact of Reviews Via Syndication for Tempur Sealy Retailers
Today, Tempur Sealy is syndicating 3.5 million reviews across 22 retail partners. This encompasses nearly 10% of its retailer network which accounts for 80% of its retail business.
The Covid shutdowns that began in March 2020 were a shock to Tempur Sealy retailers. Fortunately, Tempur Sealy had its Retail Edge program in place to provide syndication access to Tempur Sealy product reviews.
“Almost overnight, we shifted our resources to help our retailers, and reviews were an integral part of that effort,” said Sowards. “We were overwhelmed by the number of retailers that leaned into review syndication to bolster their web experience instantly. This was an incredible benefit to them, rather than having to invest tens of thousands of dollars to do this themselves over time.”
500+ Reviews Syndicated Per Product
Working with PowerReviews, Tempur Sealy is able to garner 500-1,000 reviews quickly and get those out to its retailers via review syndication. “When we can turn on syndication and offer our retailers 950 reviews for a certain product, it completely shifts their landscape,” said Sowards. “They can see the time-on-site and clicks increasing, and engagement just goes through the roof.”
The importance of reviews in today’s retail environment shouldn’t be taken lightly, says Sowards, who notes building a critical mass of reviews for syndication provides a competitive moat to remain a preferred vendor to Tempur Sealy’s retail partners.
PowerReviews works directly with Tempur Sealy’s Retail Edge retail partners. “We’re delighted to offer the partnership with PowerReviews to our retailer dealer network,” Sowards said. “Aside from reviews syndication, they are getting access to a great partner that can help them grow their business.”
Getting Strategic with Reviews
Since websites work via complex algorithms to determine what products are more prominently displayed; those products without reviews fall to the bottom of the page. To address this issue, Tempur Sealy has worked with PowerReviews to conduct product sampling for reviews campaigns – especially focusing on accessory items such as pillows and mattress pads.
Tempur Sealy’s efforts here have paid off handsomely. The company now has review coverage for 89.3% of its products.
“We are building product sampling for reviews as a standard best practice in advance of every national product launch over the next five years,” says Sowards, who says the product program will be expanded to include full size mattresses delivered via white glove delivery.
Tempur Sealy is also bringing the power of ratings and reviews to its retailer showrooms to provide added social proof to support the omnichannel buyer journey. QR codes on Tempur Sealy display products direct shoppers to product web pages populated with reviews, while “bed wraps” visually highlight poignant consumer review feedback.