What makes more sense — buying a mattress from a showroom or buying a mattress online? Ask any sane person and their answer would most likely be the first. Similar to clothes and shoes, mattresses seem to be one of those things that need to be tried out first in real life before an actual purchase, right?
Surprisingly, this is wrong.
Mattress research and surveys show that in a lot of cases, buying a mattress online is actually preferable. Here are 10 reasons why:
#1 – Mattress owner satisfaction is almost just the same for people who bought offline and online
Shocker, isn’t it? We assume right away that people who made their purchase online without giving their mattress a test run are likelier to be more dissatisfied. Results from surveys showed though that statistically speaking, there was no significant difference in the buying experience. People who bought from online where just as satisfied as the buyers who got a chance to lie down on their mattresses in a showroom.
The following variables may explain this.
#2 – Mattresses have their individual characteristics
Just like people, no two mattresses are exactly alike. Even if you have two mattresses with the same brand and model, there will be minute differences in their “feel” due to slight differences and inconsistencies in production and manufacturing. This is most especially true with latex beds and memory foam mattresses.
#3 – Mattresses in showrooms will be in a different condition from what you’ll actually get
So let’s say you’re no princess from the iconic “Princess and the Pea” — you know, that princess who was so sensitive that she could feel a pea under a gazillion mattresses. It’s possible that you’re not sensitive enough to feel the difference between mattresses of the same specs. However, I can personally attest that the sample mattress I tried in the store did NOT feel like the mattress that actually got delivered in our home.
The most obvious reason would be that in the showroom, you get to try out a mattress that a lot of people before you have already lain in. Imagine the foot traffic in the store and countless other folks before you giving that sample mattress a go. (Incidentally, I got offered a huge discount on their sample mattress because it was the last to go but I respectfully declined. Turns out later my gut led me to the right decision.) So while you may have loved the feel and give of the showroom mattress you tried out, actually lying on your spanking brand new straight-off-the-warehouse mattress might give you a different feel and cause you misgivings.
In short, don’t feel bad, little bird. That mattress you tried out at the store was just broken in.
#4 – Distractions in the store may result in inadequate testing
When you’re shopping, there’s a million distractions going on about you. The kids might be whining and your spouse hustling you to get a move on. The salesperson might be talking a mile a minute promoting said product. Or maybe it’s just the too-bright lights or the presence of other customers that eventually result in an inadequate try-out session.
#5 – The temperature in the store and in your home may differ
Memory foam in particular is affected by temperature. Lower temperatures make a mattress firmer while higher temperatures make a mattress softer. If your home has a different temperature from the store, you will find that your mattress doesn’t feel exactly like how it felt at the store.
#6 – Your sales person might be hassling you to make a purchase
Not all sales people are bad but it’s not uncommon for these folks to pressure you into buying. This can range from extreme hype-up of the product (You won’t find a more comfortable bed than this!) to actual threats (We just have a very few items left!). This is usually a result of store employees having to meet quotas or attempting to get a commission for the day’s sales.
Ideally, you get a salesperson who actually cares that you go home with an awesome bed that’s perfect for your needs but this is not the case in many occasions – especially if you have no long term relationship with the brand or the salesperson.
#7 – Online buyers tend to research more
Store buyers usually enter a store with the knowledge that they’ll be getting help from store employees who have some measure of expertise. Online buyers, however, know that they can only rely on themselves and so proceed to do what online buyers usually do — consult Google for the best brands, the best models, and feedback from previous buyers. Online buyers usually consult many sites and many reviews until they are sufficiently confident in pulling the trigger on an online purchase.
Fun fact: More consumers report that online mattress brands are more durable and provide more comfort in the long-term than those bought from stores.
#8 – Online retailers often have excellent customer service
One dealbreaker with online buyers is customer support. Shoppers usually go for companies that reviewers say have very responsive customer service. On the retailer end, it’s one way to be more competitive over brick and mortar stores. And on the end of the buyer, it’s a way of safeguarding yourself should you have a problem with your purchase.
Responsive customer service ranges from quick replies to questions about products to savvy replacements or refunds for dissatisfied or unhappy customers. (Many a time I’ve seen a one star rating be replaced by a three star rating simply because the company went the extra mile in providing a replacement or refund straight away; in some cases, without even being asked.)
#9 – You can score big discounts from an online purchase
You can save as much as 20% if you buy online. A lot of online retailers like Amazon offer discounts regularly or you can search the Internet for coupon codes that you can apply at checkout.
#10 – Old bed removal is usually not offered by online stores
Apart from a showroom trial, one more thing that an online store doesn’t have is old bed removal. As you may expect, online retailers do not offer this service. Full service delivery, however, is usually available for both.
You may want to read: Best Mattress Guide
Based on the above, there are key takeaways that we can learn:
- If you are buying from a showroom, remember all the variables that may negate your purchase experience. Forewarned is forearmed. If you can, build a relationship with the store and with your salesperson in order to get genuine service.
- You can purchase online with an easy mind. It’s comforting to know that there’s no difference in how satisfied buyers are with their mattress regardless whether they purchased it online or offline.
- To make a successful online purchase, do your research and choose an online retailer with an excellent track record for customer support and returns.
- And lastly, make sure to know exactly what you are buying into when you choose your mattress type. For example, memory foam is an excellent solution for those dealing with pain from arthritis but there is usually an off-gassing period. Uninformed buyers are usually dismayed and return their purchase too early thus missing out on potential health benefits.
One final pro-tip for those who are in the market for a new mattress or bed: Whether you’re buying a mattress online or offline, do your research. There’s a wealth of information shared on the internet if you care to look.