Nectar uses experience-seeking to boost mattress sales, making $35 million in the process

Danielle Garrand, special to
Key Points
  • Nectar has made tens of millions in less than a year, billing itself as "the most comfortable mattress."
  • The start-up lets consumers test their beds for an entire year, with no questions asked return and a forever warranty.
Nectar co-founder Craig Schmeizer.
Source: Nectar

There's a fierce war going on to help consumers sleep, with one new combatant trying to stake a claim in the $15 billion mattress industry.

In less than a year, online mattress retailer Nectar has sold more than 50,000 beds and generated over $35 million in revenue, the company recently told CNBC.

Nectar, which bills its product as "the most comfortable mattress," enters a crowded marketplace dominated by names like Tempur Sealy, Serta Simmons and Casper, just to name a few. In fact, Nectar's soaring growth has drawn comparisons with the latter, which made $100 million in its first two years in the business.

Nectar, however, isn't necessarily fazed by the competition. Co-founder Craig Schmeizer explained that the ability of companies to sell directly to consumers online had "energized" the sector — pitting at least 80 companies against one another in the effort to give people a good night's sleep.

Enter the Nectar mattress, a foam bed with four layers, that costs anywhere from $500 to $900, depending on the size. For consumers, the benefit is a 365-night (yes, that's an entire year) "try out" phase with no-questions-asked returns, free shipping and a forever warranty.

Nectar mattresses
Source: Nectar

Schmeizer told CNBC that "people today are seeking experiences in almost everything that they're seeking or doing," and that includes the seemingly mundane task of buying a mattress.

Along those lines, Nectar put the customer experience at the forefront of its branding. The company employs "sleep specialists" who function as service agents and work all over the world without a centralized office. The setup fosters constant customer engagement, and differs from the traditional buy-and-go experience consumers normally experience when they buy a bed.

Schmeizer described Nectar mattresses as thicker than other beds, and can endure longer due to dense, high-quality material. The company also throws in a free pillow, and promise a "No Bed Bug Guarantee," that states if any bug is found on a new mattress it will be completely replaced, no questions asked.

Nectar, which uses a variety of big data techniques to pull in consumers, has been growing by approximately 20 percent each month, according to the company.

Nectar will soon be expanding its line of products to include sheets, pillows and adjustable beds. One of the items on tap is a DreamCloud mattress, a luxury hybrid spring and memory foam bed that will cost around $1,000. Among the new markets the company will try to crack are Canada, Asia and the United Kingdom.

Nectar's formula for success is simple. "Everyone sleeps," Schmeizer told CNBC — even as he wants the company to be like "businesses that my grandparents built."

Correction: Nectar offers its customers a free pillow.