Chad Lundeen – Saatva
Sleep being a private activity, shopping for a mattress in public might be counterintuitive to some people. That’s why Saatva designs its viewing rooms to be restful and calming.
The mattress company, which has headquarters in New York and Austin, Texas, has viewing rooms in six major U.S. cities. The newest, which is in Chicago, opened in spring 2022.
According to Chad Lundeen, Saatva’s vice president of real estate, the self-guided showrooms use technology and sensory experiences to help customers learn about mattress options. This includes interactive Samsung displays, soothing scents and noncommissioned sleep guides .
The guiding principle for Saatva employees, Lundeen says, is to make the process of buying a mattress as seamless as possible. He believes the retail experience is “the uncompromised personification of your brand.”
“We have a really tailored approach,” he says. “It’s about low pressure and personal connection. All employees are trained in customer-first service. Customers are handled by people who really care. That’s the ethos from the beginning.”
Color and calm
In December 2019, Saatva transitioned from an e-commerce company to one that included brick-and-mortar stores. Lundeen’s role involves identifying new locations using customer data.
To determine ideal locations, he assesses where demand is and ranks locations by how they impact the company. Once a location is identified, Lundeen looks for available spaces that fit Saatva’s emphasis on customer experience.
Once a site is selected, he handles lease negotiations and architectural design and then works with contractors to help construct the viewing rooms. When completed, he manages the facilities.
For each space, Lundeen and his team consider how light enters the space, how to use colors to create a calming effect, and how to use self-guided technology to better inform the customer. The goal, he says, is to create a low-pressure, tranquil oasis where customers can explore their options for purchasing a mattress in a relaxed way.
“Mattresses are personal,” he says. “It’s a long-term purchase that impacts health and mental wellbeing. I think the viewing room lends not only a great experience with digital integration people can meander through, but we are also creating a sanctuary space.”
Data and community
After opening its first viewing room in New York City, Saatva opened more in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago. New locations are being planned for Portland, Oregon, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Dallas, Texas.
In partnership with Samsung, Saatva uses display screens in each location with “magic info” tech so they can be updated with localized content.
“Every screen is addressable, letting us push local and national content at any time,” Lundeen says. “For the Boston Marathon, we leveraged this content management software to share images of the race and our sponsored runner, engaging our store customers with the historic event and local running community.”
The company also supports community organizations, including the Austin Pathways program, which is a partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin to support low-income residents in subsidized housing. Saatva supports the New York-based education nonprofit PENCIL, as well, which connects students and educators to business professionals to give young people more opportunities and resources.
“We want to support the communities so we, as well as partners and affiliates, can give back and help tell their story where we live and work,” Lundeen says.
A design journey
What led Lundeen to Saatva, above all, was his love for design and architecture. He received his bachelor’s in architecture from Mississippi State University in 1996.
He became interested in retail and development in the 2000s when he was working on mixed use retail centers and malls as a design architect. He says he was intrigued by the psychology of what makes customers make decisions.
In 2007, Lundeen joined Vornado Realty Trust, where he worked on large mixed-use projects across the country. He says his time there introduced him to the world of real estate, design and construction.
From 2013 to 2018, he continued exploring this passion at Sonos Inc., where he developed retail platforms (such as flagship stores and shop-in-shops), connected design concepts to brand objectives and created environments that drove customer engagement.
That experience brought Lundeen to Saatva in 2021.
“I’ve been in every position from owner, consultant, architect, to end-user,” he says. “All those points in my career path give me a unique perspective in this multi-faceted real estate role. I love being a part of this amazing journey to create an unparalleled retail experience for our customers.”
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