Most mattress retailers don’t pad out their online presence. But Larry Miller – yes, the “your mattress is fre-e-e!” pitch man – isn’t lying down on the job as far as e-commerce is concerned.

The chief executive of Sit ’N Sleep hired a Marina del Rey firm, Wingman Advertising, to bring his website up to date to help boost his modest online sales. More significantly, he’s introducing online video tours of the mattress-shopping experience in hopes of drawing more customers to his stores to buy bedding. In a way, it’s “showrooming” in reverse.

“If you don’t try new things, you’re dead,” Miller said. “A company that looks, feels and tastes the same way five years from now is a dying company.”

But what he’s doing online is unusual. Brian Diedrick, director of digital marketing at Wingman, said he was surprised to find that video isn’t at all common in the world of mattress marketing.

“Looking at which mattress retailer has video, we found out that the answer is essentially no one,” Diedrick said. “Not only do our local mattress retailer competition not have video, but looking at Macy’s or even Amazon, we were almost shocked to find systematically no video for individual mattress products.”

Miller said he now sells mattresses online to local, national and international customers. But more important: About two-thirds of his customers say they research mattresses online before they come to the brick-and-mortar stores, and he wants the videos to supply them with more and better information so they’ll be more comfortable buying.

Read the full story in the June 23 weekly edition of the Business Journal.

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