Like many small business success stories, the McRoskey Mattress Company was born from a change of plans. When Edward and Leonard McRoskey moved from St. Louis to San Francisco circa 1899, they found themselves in the middle of an economic recession. No one was interested in buying the mattress-making equipment the brothers were trying to sell.
So Edward and Leonard started making mattresses with the equipment and sold those instead. This ended up being a wise transition. Seven years later, after the San Francisco Fire of 1906, lots of people needed new mattresses, and the McRoskeys were the best game in town.
Old Company, New Ideas
McRoskey is now owned by third generation family members, and appears to have made another change of plans: selling mattresses like a service instead of like products. This is an ingenious inversion of thought. People who are looking for a mattress are actually looking for things like a good night’s sleep, relief from back pain, higher energy levels, and so on. True satisfaction with a mattress purchase, it would seem, is a lot more like the satisfaction you get from a good massage therapy appointment or an acupuncture session.
Mattresses are also much more like cars and houses than you might think. Your mattress has a large impact on your lifestyle, and getting a bad one is a major inconvenience. A lot of trust and assurance needs to happen in the ideal mattress-buying process.
Committing to a Plan
McRoskey really embraces these factors and tailors their marketing to meet them. To let you test-run their product with no commitment, their website points you to hotels that use their mattresses.
To assure you of the quality of their products, McRoskey put together a high quality video of their San Francisco factory. Seeing the well-lit environment, the conscientious employees, and the time-tested process used to make each mattress naturally alleviates much of the worry someone might have about investing in something they will probably sleep on for years.
And what other product-based business rewards people for referrals? It’s a strategy out of left-field, but it must be working: McRoskey doubled the reward for referrals in 2017. It looks like people are happy to talk about what mattress they use, and even happier to do it when they can get a new set of pillows in the process.
McRoskey Mattress Company really embraces the idea that product-based businesses can be all about the customer experience. Even products over 117 years old can sell like they’re new if the buying-process is tuned to perfection.