Retail Operations and Retail IT Mattress Firm

Empowering Frontline Teams: How Mattress Firm’s Retail Ops and IT Partnered for Success

Feb 14, 2024 5:12:50 PM

Retail | Operations

Mattress Firm is one of the largest specialty mattress retailers in the United States. Founded in 1986, the company grew from a single store in Houston, Texas, to a nationwide chain with over two thousand retail locations.

The company’s growth is propelled by an emphasis on customer service, which positions the company as a critical player in the bedding industry. The retailer’s success is rooted in its commitment to offering personalized sleep solutions, ensuring customers find the right mattress for their needs.

In April 2023, Mattress Firm embarked on a transformative journey by adopting YOOBIC’s cutting-edge frontline employee experience platform to enhance operational efficiency and employee engagement. Internally referred to as “Mission Control,” this platform represents a pivotal move towards digitizing the company’s operations and empowering its frontline teams.

At the most recent National Retail Federation (NRF) Conference, Steve Zawlocki, Vice President of Retail IT, and Robyn Martin, Senior Director of Store Operations, sat down with our Head of Sales, Jenna Goldstein, to discuss how the platform was instrumental in leveraging technology to enhance store performance, improve the overall employee and customer experience. 

NRF 2024: Mattress Firm and YOOBIC's Big Idea Session

Here are some of the key highlights of the talk and how stores can set the new standard for engaging and supporting employees through advanced technology solutions.

>> 📹 Watch the full recording of Mattress Firm and YOOBIC's Session at NRF

Building effective collaboration between Retail Operations and IT

The collaboration between Retail Operations and IT was a critical partnership for enhancing store performance and operational efficiency. This synergy was vital in the search for a comprehensive solution to streamline the company’s operations, leading to the adoption of YOOBIC, which they named “Mission Control.” 
This initiative was driven by feedback from the company’s CEO roundtables, where the need for a unified platform emerged as a consistent theme among field teams. These discussions highlighted the challenges faced by store teams in keeping pace with directives issued from the corporate office.

"(...) we partnered with our store operations teams, our field teams, it was a very detailed RFP and there was a lot of metrics that we used to evaluate each of our partners. And when we started to think about who is best in class, it pointed to YOOBIC. And there's a lot of contenders in that space."
— Steve Zawlocki, Vice President of Retail IT at Mattress Firm

Martin and Zawlocki were tasked with finding an all-encompassing solution. Their journey was marked by a close partnership, attending many meetings together to ensure that every stakeholder’s needs were met and that the solution would seamlessly integrate into their current ecosystem. The decision-making process was marked by an exceptionally detailed Request for Proposal (RFP), described by Zawlocki as “the most intense RFP” he has ever participated in. This diligence underscored the importance of thorough evaluation and collaboration in identifying the right technology solution. By involving store operations teams and field teams in the RFP process, Mattress Firm ensured that the chosen platform would meet the diverse needs and challenges faced by its employees in the field. This collaborative approach not only facilitated a more informed decision-making process, but also underscored the company’s commitment to inclusivity and partnership across departments.

The rigorous evaluation of metrics and the engagement of YOOBIC as the best-in-class solution for Mattress Firm. Zawlocki’s reflection on the selection process highlights the competitive landscape of technology solutions and the importance of finding a partner that aligns with the organization’s operational goals and values. YOOBIC’s selection was not just a testament to its platform’s capabilities but also to Mattress Firm’s methodical approach to ensuring that their technology investment would drive meaningful improvements in operations, employee engagement, and overall business growth. 

Steve Zawlocki noted the importance of being in sync throughout the process, emphasizing the meticulous documentation and vetting of numerous functionalities that YOOBIC offered, ensuring it met their specific action-based engagement needs beyond mere auditing. He stated, “We were… attached by the hip, in every meeting… It was a tough journey, but we were really strategic about our thinking, very mindful of how a platform could operate in our environment.”
Through this collaborative effort, Mattress Firm created a digital environment where Retail Operations and IT worked in lockstep to empower frontline teams. When strategically applied, the transformation underscores the potential of technology to revolutionize retail operations and foster a culture of innovation and inclusivity.

Mattress_Firm_Mission_Control_YOOBIC_retail_Operations_Solution-1-1Mattress Firm's Mission Control Powered by YOOBIC: Task Management, Retail Operations Calendar, Notifications

Solutions with the field team in mind

The approach taken by Mattress Firm to involve field teams in the development and implementation of Mission Control was both unique and inclusive.

"I did a lot of field interviews, to find out what they needed, what the pain points were and really what does this tool need to be.  It was really important to make sure that we had that field team input because they are the largest group of our users. This is their tool, we just execute it."
— Robyn Martin, Senior Director of Store Operations

Robyn Martin undertook extensive interviews with field employees to understand their pain points, needs, and the functionalities they desired in a tool meant to serve them directly. Martin’s grassroots approach ensures that the final product both reflects the corporate vision and is finely tuned to the users’ daily operational needs.

Introducing features like an interactive calendar and robust analytics directly addressed the field teams’ requirements for planning and performance tracking. Martin’s strategy of involving field teams in naming the platform cultivated a sense of ownership and engagement amongst employees even before its official rollout. This participatory tactic, coupled with a comprehensive pilot program that included an entire region, not only facilitated a smoother adoption process but also allowed for real-time adjustments based on user feedback. As Martin stated, “It was really important to make sure that we had that field team input because they are the largest group of our users. This is their tool, we just execute it.” The launch underscored the platform’s anticipated impact on store operations and sales growth.

Accelerating widespread adoption with a phased approach

Even the best business tools will fail without buy-in from employees. Mattress Firm’s adoption process exemplifies a textbook case of meticulous planning and execution in deploying a large-scale digital transformation initiative to improve adoption rates. Their strategic phased approach was pivotal in ensuring the platform’s widespread buy-in across their extensive network of over 2,300 stores and 6,000-plus users.

Martin emphasized the importance of not overwhelming users from the outset. “We didn’t want Day One for [employees] to go, what the heck is this? And basically, be afraid to use the tool. So, we did a phased approach,” she said. The initial phase focused on fostering adoption by introducing simple missions that gradually increased complexity. “Phase One was really making sure we got that adoption and making sure that our teams understood that this was to help them,” Martin stated. 
This methodical ramp-up allowed for a seamless transition to more sophisticated functionalities, such as workflow and request modules, without disrupting the user experience for field teams. This careful planning and execution illustrate the thoughtful adoption strategy, ensuring each phase builds upon the last to deepen the platform’s integration into daily operations.
Zawlocki shared insights into the technical and operational considerations underpinning the rollout strategy. He highlighted the simplicity and power of YOOBIC’s Integration Center, which facilitated the creation of complex workflows in an intuitive manner, allowing for significant operational efficiencies without necessitating IT intervention. This capability enabled the company to undertake more ambitious projects within Mission Control, including a novel use case, called ‘Mail Merge’ by the Mattress Firm teams, that streamlines communication and task distribution across the organization. Such innovations underscore the platform’s flexibility and the potential for ongoing enhancements to drive operational excellence and financial accountability.
The collaborative dynamic between Zawlocki and Martin, underpinned by their shared commitment to listening and addressing the needs of both executive and field teams, has been instrumental in driving the project forward. As they embark on subsequent deployment phases, they focus on leveraging Mission Control to solve operational challenges and enhance customer service, demonstrating the transformative impact of strategic IT and operations partnerships in retail.

Mattress Firm Store Operations Solution

Creating a streamlined, integrated tech ecosystem

The company had a strategic vision behind Mission Control: to foster a tech ecosystem that is intuitive, integrated, and responsive to the dynamic needs of its operations, ensuring that the platform remains a vital tool for empowering employees and driving the company’s success. Mattress Firm’s journey to creating a streamlined tech environment with YOOBIC’s platform highlights a model of digital transformation that prioritizes simplicity and user engagement. 
Zawlocki and Martin detailed the platform's seamless integration into their existing infrastructure, emphasizing the ease of implementation despite initial challenges. “It was a very simple implementation,” said Zawlocki. “Once we got through all the components, it was really seamless.” Integrating single sign-on and adapting to the unique store hierarchy exemplify the tailored approach to ensure the platform fits perfectly within Mattress Firm’s operational context. This customization facilitated a smooth adoption process, allowing associates to engage with the tool effortlessly, focusing on action-based communication without over-complication.

"Every launch, every promotion, we can see that they're executing, so we know they're ready for business, that's crucial for us. We also know that this takes maybe a minute to do, and most of our missions are less than three minutes. So it's actually not too much of their day That's also really, really important."
— Robyn Martin, Senior Director of Store Operations

The collaboration between IT and Retail Operations was instrumental in identifying and incorporating essential features into Mission Control. The emphasis on an all-in-one solution that could handle everything from simple task management to complex business analytics was crucial. YOOBIC’s Integration center allowed the company to create robust process flows and technical functionalities with minimal IT intervention. This capability, alongside developing an interactive calendar and robust reporting tools, has significantly enhanced operational efficiency and planning for field associates. Retail Operations’ focus on gathering field feedback and strategic IT insights has driven the continuous evolution of Mission Control, addressing both immediate and future operational needs. As Martin stated, “We wanted something that had the ability to take everything… and be able to keep our teams in line and on track.”

Driving engagement through tasking and communications

Mattress Firm’s implementation of YOOBIC’s platform signified a pivotal shift in how task management and communications are leveraged within the organization. The platform transcends the traditional role of a task manager from a “big brother tracking tool” to a dynamic means of fostering engagement and empowerment across the field.
Jenna Goldstein highlighted the transformative impact of using YOOBIC to create a sense of community among field teams, noting a significant increase in task response rates. This evolution in task management reflects a broader trend in retail operations, where tools are designed to not only ensure compliance but also enhance team cohesion and give employees a voice within the larger organization.
One innovative use case Goldstein shared was using YOOBIC for personal milestones, such as recording farewell messages for departing employees and showcasing the platform’s versatility in driving engagement beyond routine tasks. This approach to tasking and communication underlies the platform’s capacity to knit teams closer together, creating a bottom-up community that values each member’s contribution.
Both Martin and Zawlocki are enthusiastic about expanding Mission Control into new areas, such as financial accountability through advanced modules. This further illustrates the platform’s adaptability and role in driving operational innovations. Their collaborative efforts led to the development of workflows that simplify complex processes, making them accessible and manageable for store teams. “We’re really excited as we are literally launching a new module,” Martin said. “It will really have financial accountability from an organization standpoint.”

Leveraging YOOBIC to drive business growth

The company’s strategic adoption of YOOBIC, particularly its innovative use of the platform’s Integration Center and advanced scheduling functionalities, underscores a forward-thinking approach to driving business growth. Zawlocki highlighted the simplicity and robustness of implementing YOOBIC compared to massive ERPs, emphasizing the platform’s capability to enable powerful process flows and technical functionalities with minimal IT intervention. This ease of use and flexibility allows Mattress Firm to build strategic execution plans that enhance operational efficiency and empower employees to focus on high-value tasks.

"The YOOBIC integration center is a really powerful thing. It's very robust. The idea is that the business side can build some functionality without IT intervention. It allows you to do very powerful process flows and technical kind of things by just moving objects around and building  workflows."
— Steve Zawlocki, Vice President of Retail IT at Mattress Firm

The detailed and thoughtful incorporation of tools like the interactive calendar is particularly transformative. By allowing field associates to visualize their schedules and tasks in a time-oriented manner, YOOBIC streamlined administrative processes, enabling staff to allocate more time to customer engagement and sales activities. This approach optimizes staff productivity and significantly impacts the customer experience by ensuring that team members are available and prepared to convert every store visit into a sales opportunity.
By leveraging technology to streamline operations and enhance the customer experience, Mattress Firm set a benchmark for how retailers can adapt to changing market dynamics and consumer expectations. As the company continues to explore new functionalities and modules within YOOBIC, the potential for further growth and efficiency gains remains significant, illustrating the pivotal role of technology in shaping the future of retail.

A unified solution for growth

Mattress Firm’s strategic adoption of YOOBIC’s platform, aptly named Mission Control, exemplifies a transformative approach to retail management that focuses on streamlining operations, enhancing employee engagement, and driving business growth. Through its innovative features, such as the Integration Center and interactive calendar, YOOBIC has enabled Mattress Firm to optimize its operational efficiency and foster a more engaging, productive environment for its frontline teams.
For retailers looking to replicate Mattress Firm’s success and elevate their operational capabilities, YOOBIC’s frontline employee experience platform offers a comprehensive solution. By adopting YOOBIC, businesses empower their frontline teams, streamline task management, and enhance customer service, ultimately driving growth and efficiency. 

To learn more about how YOOBIC can transform your retail operations, schedule a demo today. Take your first step towards empowering your teams and unlocking the full potential of your retail business with YOOBIC.