Next up in our mattress executive interview series we’re chatting with the President of Zinus, Colin Lawrie, about the company’s broad set of affordable mattress and furniture offerings, the decision to launch products off their own stand alone website, and where they’re headed next.
When you finish reading, enter to win a brand new Zinus cooling gel hybrid mattress!
How did growing up in Scotland lead you to getting involved in business in North America and specifically the sleep sector?
While I was living in Edinburgh, I happened upon a newspaper ad that led me to a position with the Hudson’s Bay Company in Canada. I was only 19 at the time, but I decided to make the move, and started as a management trainee in a small aboriginal community. I eventually became a buyer for the company where I really gained an understanding of retail and an eye for sectors ripe for change, which led me to the furniture industry and ultimately to Zinus.
Zinus.com launched in 2016, walk us through the decision to go from strictly selling through third parties to launching your own e-commerce store?
We saw a lot of success selling through e-commerce channels, such as Amazon and Walmart, and still do. However, we also recognized an opportunity to disrupt the underrepresented furniture industry. With the rise of e-commerce and the emergence of review-driven purchasing, we felt our well-reviewed products would flourish in this new landscape. Additionally, after experiencing the mattress sector as an OEM manufacturer, we saw how inflated and overpriced mattresses were selling for, and the opportunity to bring fair prices and true value to consumers.
Along the lines of selling through third party sites such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc., is it difficult to receive feedback from your customers since they aren’t purchasing from you directly?
We have hundreds of thousands of positive reviews online, both on Zinus.com and through third party sites. We have a team here at Zinus that is dedicated to reading and analyzing the reviews every day, in order for us to digest our customer’s feedback and suggestions, so that we are consistently meeting or exceeding their expectations.
The score of product offerings from Zinus is quite impressive, are there certain products that are only available at Zinus, and if so, is there reasoning behind it?
We offer our signature Cooling Gel Memory Foam and Cooling Hybrid Gel Foam mattresses exclusively on zinus.com. Zinus is in an exciting position of growth and as we continue to innovate throughout the entire home, we will continue to keep an eye toward pieces and or collections that can potentially be offered exclusively on Zinus.com.
The traditional box spring seems to be going away a bit in favor of platform beds and foundations, which Zinus offers both. Would you mind educating the consumer on the pros and cons of each?
The use of a box spring vs. a platform bed is really about personal preference so there really aren’t a specific set of pros and cons. Since sleep patterns are so unique to each person, we offer a variety of foundations for mattresses, including box springs, bed frames, platform beds, and even bunk beds. Our mattresses do not require a box spring, but we recommend some sort of foundation, like a platform bed, that provides extra support and stability for all of our mattress types.
Zinus is one of the few mattress companies that also offer sofas and love seats. The pricing on the products are quite reasonable. Have you found any synergies of mattress shoppers also looking for other furniture as well?
We are in a time when the majority of consumers are looking for convenience in many aspects of their lives, from the meals they prepare to controlling their home lights through voice control. So, at Zinus, we thought “why can’t we make the mattress and furniture industry this convenient for consumers?” Our products are designed for e-commerce—they are affordable and easy to assemble, arriving at your doorstep packaged neatly in one box. As we continue to design and expand more into home furniture, quality and ease of assembly remain our top priorities.
Are all of the products from Zinus.com shipped out of the distribution center in California? With some of these larger products, like the sofas, are they shipped through third party freight companies?
Zinus owns all of its production, manufacturing, and distribution facilities and every part of the research and development, design, manufacturing and packaging, and our shipping is handled through FedEx and UPS. Ownership of the process from start to finish allows us to offer the most affordable prices to our customers.
You already have quite the variety of product offerings, but are there any new lines we should be looking for in the near future?
We just launched our line of sofas, which features four distinct offerings including Classic, Contemporary, Modern, and Mid-Century, and have plans over the next few years to continue to expand our offerings further into the home.
By featuring seven different mattresses at Zinus, it may be a bit overwhelming for the consumer. How would you suggest someone determine which mattress is best to meet their needs?
We truly believe that everyone deserves a wonderful night sleep, so we design mattresses for all sleep types—from stomach, side or hot sleepers. We recognize there is not one bed for every sleeper, which is why we have created a quiz that helps match your sleeping habits and needs with the perfect Zinus mattress.
Returns are an issue for online mattress firms as well as for our environment. We read that the return rates for Zinus are around 3%, which is far below the industry average. What do you attribute these outstanding numbers to?
We are very proud of our return rates, and there are a few factors at play that keep our return rates well below industry average, including our variety of mattresses that offer a solution for every type of sleeper and our carefully designed packaging that minimizes any damages caused in transit.
The consumer is making more and more of their purchases online and there seems to be a plethora of new online companies entering the sleep space. Where do you see the industry heading in the next two to three years?
In the next two to three years, we’re going to see consumers becoming increasingly comfortable making large purchases like furniture online and they will look to convenience in the ordering process and assembly along with speed of delivery as key factors in their decision making.