The Update: How Mattress Firm’s pivot to e-commerce drove growth in uncertain times
In this episode of The Update, Mattress Firm’s Chief Marketing Officer Ramin Eivaz explains how the company partnered with Google to accelerate its digital transformation, even in the midst of widespread uncertainty. Along with Google’s President of Americas Allan Thygesen, Eivaz takes us inside the company’s focus on data-driven decision-making and an omnichannel approach to better understanding the customer journey.
RAMIN EIVAZ: We did have to rethink everything.
Just because it worked before COVID, didn't mean that it's going to work.
And, oh, by the way, just because it works in Houston,
doesn't mean it's going to work in New York, and vice versa.
ALLAN THYGESEN: In this episode of The Update, I talk with Ramin Eivaz,
CMO, Mattress Firm, a national mattress retailer,
about how the pandemic accelerated his company's digital transformation.
Why don't we start by talking about how the COVID-19 crisis impacted your business?
RAMIN EIVAZ: When you think about the depth of challenge we were dealing with,
when you think about the length of challenge that we potentially have to deal with,
all of those unanswered questions were creating pain and challenges for our businesses.
But, then equally important, we had to focus on the health and wellness
of our families, our employees, our customers, and associates.
The good news is that we had somewhat started our transformation journey prior to COVID,
as we had become a much more data-driven organization.
And what COVID did, it helped us to accelerate that transformation.
ALLAN THYGESEN: So, faced with that crisis,
how did your executive team and the larger organization respond to it?
RAMIN EIVAZ: We had to rethink everything,
because the entire marketplace was different. What worked in e-comm maybe a few weeks earlier,
wouldn't necessarily work there. And if you're trying to quadruple, or even
further grow your business, you can't just take marginal steps.
So, to that extent, I truly want to credit the corporate culture of entrepreneurship.
It was a problem-solving team, trying to figure things out at the speed of light.
So, as you think about it, coming together as a total organization across functions,
and in a spirit to which you are being extremely dynamic,
the speed and agility became the new currency,
where we had to solve for those challenges, for those problems.
ALLAN THYGESEN: What were some of the biggest learnings from the crisis,
and what results were you able to generate?
RAMIN EIVAZ: Historically, we used to think that we were an omnichannel retailer,
but as we got to COVID, you realize you really were still siloed, pretending to be omni.
This truly helped us start seeing the performance, and the numbers,
and the shift from one channel to the next, how our digital media on search
helped e-comm, as opposed to foot traffic, in a specific geography.
And, that the beauty of it was, not only were we able to substantially grow our e-commerce,
the brick and mortar equally grew. We worked with our Google team.
And, being able to leverage many of your data signals to be able to create
what we will call our “industry-demand index,”
and actually establish a very high correlation of that index to our sales performance.
It's been a key component of our planning. We achieved 2- to 3-year goals in 2 to 3 months.
We are not giving that ground back.
ALLAN THYGESEN: How are you taking those lessons and applying them to the future?
RAMIN EIVAZ: We are not going to apply national standards or practices to every market,
but, instead, recognize the personalization that is needed,
the targeting that is needed to engage with our customers
in different locations and markets differently.
To be relevant and top of mind is a learning that we're going to take with us going forward.
And, we are not backing down. I mean, we are doubling down,
because we think the ground we have been able to sort of take is …
we need to build on it and accelerate our momentum even further.