You’ve come to the conclusion that you need a new mattress. The first questions are, “What kind of mattress and bed do we want? What are our needs? What will help us get the restful sleep we really need?”
When you determine what kind of bed you want, you want to know what the best brands and models are. Other people’s experiences can help, so we get online and check the reviews. But which reviews can we trust?
Now it’s time for serious shopping. So do we visit mattress stores? Or do we shop online? This is a choice almost unheard of a decade ago. Now almost anything can be sold over the Internet—clothing & shoes, groceries, appliances, musical instruments, pets, even automobiles and mattresses.
Shopping for clothes involves getting the right fit. I don’t know whether a shirt or a pair of jeans really fits until I wear it. Shopping for a mattress is not far off. We don’t really know if the mattress is right for us until we’ve slept on it. We are like Goldilocks in a way. A mattress can be too soft or too hard, too warm or too cool; it may or may not be suitable for my sleeping position; and so on. So how do we know that a particular mattress is right for each of us before buying it?
A quick check on mattress prices reveals that they are generally lower online than in stores for the same or equivalent model from the same manufacturer. Also, online retailers usually have trial periods, which means that if the mattress is not the right fit, we can exchange it for another or just send it back. However, It has to be shipped back (unless a contract service company picks it up). In some cases you, the customer, have to pay for the shipping, which makes you wonder if returning the mattress is worth the hassle. So, before buying a mattress online, find out what the return policies are—not only for the seller, but for that mattress model—and get it in writing.
If we go to a store which sells several brands of mattresses, we can try several of them for comparison. But one to three minutes on a mattress in a retailer’s showroom is not the same as sleeping on a mattress for a week or a month.
☞Just a hint: Some mattresses manufacturers precompress their bedding materials so that they are already broken-in when you try them in the showroom and when they’re delivered.☜
The uncertainty of a showroom tryout is reflected in the satisfaction rates between mattresses purchased in stores and online, which generally differ by only a couple of percentage points. But returning a mattresss to a local store is easier than shipping it.
According to several reports, the current trend is toward combining shopping online with shopping in stores. This generally takes one of two forms: webrooming and showrooming. Webrooming is researching mattresses online then purchasing them in the store. Showrooming is visiting retail showrooms to look at mattresses up close, even try them out, then purchase the same mattress or an equivalent online. Some retailers sell both online and in stores, which makes either method easier (have you ever tried to compare mattresses at different retailers?).
This only works for lines of matresses available in both venues. However, there are a handful of mattress manufacturers who sell their products exclusively online.
Buying a mattress online and buying one in a store each has its own advantages and disadvanteges. In the end, you have to answer the question for yourself, “Should I buy a mattress online?”
Sleep Like the Dead
US News & World Report – Money
Mattress Inquirer (a supposedly independent review site owned by a mattress manufacturer)
Get Rich Slowly (a financial advice site)
Sleep.org (by the National Sleep Foundation)
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