This article is sponsored by Wakefit.co
Sometimes, the best ideas come from the most unexpected places. For Ankit Garg, his ‘big idea’ came from an unsatisfactory shopping experience.
Back in 2015, he went shopping for a mattress. Having spent almost four years working in a German MNC that provided raw materials to firms that manufactured foam, he had plenty of specialised knowledge on the subject. However, in the showroom, the experience was below-par for two reasons – the salesman’s lack of knowledge about sleep and mattresses, and the price.
“First, the cost of a good quality mattress was extremely high. Since I knew the cost of raw materials involved, I felt the price was not adding up. The second glaring gap was the showroom experience itself. While I could touch and feel the product, none of my questions about mattress construction, longevity, maintenance, etc. was answered. The salesmen had minimal knowledge about the products and more importantly the associated impact on sleep. Besides, at the time, there was no option for a trial period to use it in the comfort of my home,” shares Ankit.
Unhappy with these gaps, Ankit approached his manager Chaitanya Ramalingegowda with whom he also had a friendship, to discuss these shortcomings in the consumer experience and opportunities that existed in the space.
The chat was fruitful, and the two decided to do something about it.
Thus, in 2016, Wakefit.co was born as a Bengaluru-based company meant to make sleep and home solutions affordable and comfortable.
No more would mattress buyers have to take home whatever the seller thought they could afford, with no questions answered.
Instead, Wakefit.co offered complete information and promoted a transparent transaction, where customers could even try out the products in the comfort of their homes, after making a purchase.
Additionally, by selling directly to consumers online and cutting out middlemen or dealers, they not only elevated the buying experience but were also able to bring down the mattress cost by 40-50 per cent, compared to traditional products in the sector.
Sounds better? Customers certainly thought so. Since 2016, Wakefit.co has provided sleep and home solutions to over 500,000 customers across 19,000 pin codes in India.
Ensuring a good night’s sleep
Over the years, the company continues to focus on the importance of sleep and home, and how it can contribute to a person’s overall health.
Chaitanya says, “We live in a time where work and home pressures are extremely high. Our on-the-go lifestyles take a toll on our health and well-being. We need to ensure that our home becomes a haven for us, prioritising health, ergonomics and well-being. Sleeping right has numerous benefits, as it aids body recovery and dissipates stress. At a subconscious level, sleep also helps process memories. Having an ergonomics friendly home enables posture retention and spine health for a long time. Our sleep and home products facilitate enhanced wellness by blending scientifically-proven facts with consumer research.”
For instance, he claims that their studies and international research has shown that the body needs at least 14 days to know whether a mattress can help an individual sleep better. In line with this idea, they provide a 100-day trial period to allow people to use and experience sleeping on the mattress, similar to business models abroad.
Their flagship product is an orthopaedic memory foam mattress.
“Our journey started with the orthopaedic memory foam mattress. Memory foam, at the time, was fairly new to India and was restricted to the upper-middle-class segment due to its price. The primary benefit of a memory foam mattress is its ability to contour itself to the body shape of any person, thus providing optimal comfort to people of different body types. The contouring allows enhanced blood circulation during sleep time and thus, relieves pressure points in the body and aids better body recovery,” Ankit says.
The ‘customer-first’ model
In the initial days, Ankit and Chaitanya made deliveries to about 100 customers in Ankit’s car. The goal at the time was not only to build customer relationships but also to enhance product quality through customer feedback.
“When Chaitanya and I delivered mattresses in our cars to the first few customers, we heard a lot of interesting feedback. People spoke about certain areas in the country having hot and humid temperatures, which inspired us to launch a contour cut differential pressure foam, which allows better air circulation in the mattress, thereby providing enhanced comfort to the sleeper and bringing down body temperature,” explains Ankit.
“Many customers also told us that they often use the mattress for eating, studying, entertainment etc. and spillage is a common problem. Also, if the family has a new-born baby, then peeing on the mattress is also a problem. Hence, we launched a mattress protector.” he adds.
Even after four years, Wakefit.co continues to thrive on this model that prioritises customer experience. From video interviews for feedback to a full-fledged customer experience team that continues to take follow-ups on the quality of the products even after the purchase, the founders believe this is what sets them apart.
An example of their model is the flagship product itself, which was updated and improved about 16 times based on customer feedback. And customers do seem to enjoy it.
“I have been working from home for a few months now. I am constantly in front of a laptop with inconsistent work hours. The orthopaedic mattress from Wakefit.co does an excellent job of keeping me comfortable when I sleep. I feel like my body recovers after a good night’s sleep and relieves the stress I had built up the previous day,” says 29-year-old Tapas Chandra, a resident of West Bengal and a Wakefit customer.
“Our customers are at the very centre of everything we do. Our customer experience team is our largest team, with more than 200 members, whose job is to help the customer navigate the first few months of usage. They contact customers at least 4-5 times post-purchase and act as touchpoints for queries, feedback, instructions and assurances. Our biggest achievement is to have serviced over five lakh customers in a little over four years and receiving close to 50,000 positive reviews online,” Chaitanya adds.
With the pandemic making homes the centre of all our activities, Wakefit.co has now expanded to home solutions offering a variety of products like bookshelves, work desks, coffee tables, shoe racks, wardrobes, wall shelves, TV units, sofas and more. Through this, they hope to provide functionality and aesthetic and bring in health and ergonomics into our daily lives.
Image Source: Wakefit.co