retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Okay, we have one more addition to the list of products that most people probably would've guessed could not be sold online and delivered by the local FedEx or UPS guy.

Mattresses.

Sure, there long have been ways of buying mattresses online or over the phone (1-800-mattres), without having to go to the mattress store. But my friend Bryan Silbermann - yes, the same Bryan Silbermann who is the CEO of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) - was telling me the other day about an experience he'd had with a company called

Tuft & Needle, which was started by a couple of guys from Silicon valley who were frustrated with the mattress-buying experience.

So they put their brainpower to work, and developed an "adaptive foam" model that they say is perfect for side, back & stomach sleepers - and for which they offer a 100-day guarantee. The mattress - which is extremely competitively priced - is shipped via traditional delivery methods in a box ... which the consumer opens, which results in the mattress unfolding. (See the video above. It is totally cool.)

If you don't like the mattress, the company refunds your money, and asks you to donate it to a local charity.

Now, when Bryan told me about this, he'd just ordered his mattress, but it hadn't arrived yet. Subsequently, he reported back to me that the experience was every bit as easy as the company claimed it would be, and that the mattress was the most comfortable he'd ever slept on.

In other words, an Eye-Opener. Except that the idea here is that for the experience to work, your eyes actually have to be closed.

KC's View: