Brick-and-mortar mattress stores rival car dealers when it comes to television ads loudly promoting hot sale prices. Now consumers can skip the hype and purchase mattresses online. Is this a smart way to buy, or will you end up losing sleep over it?
Just add air
Retail stores still dominate the mattress market, but online sales, which began in 2007, have risen to 12 percent of the industry’s annual total. These cyber-sellers use special machines to compress foam mattresses into plastic bags and then ship them in boxes the size of a coffee table or even smaller. When the consumer unpacks the mattress, it re-absorbs air and returns to shape.
Some online companies now also ship innerspring mattresses. Mattresses purchased online can rest on various surfaces, and the companies sell and ship their preferred foundations as well.
Three of the biggest online names are Tuft & Needle, Leesa, and Casper, but there are many others. Some brands sell on Amazon.
Comparing shopping experiences
Brick-and-mortar stores’ selection varies from one retailer to the next, and manufacturers often market similar products under different names. This can make head-to-head price comparisons difficult. Online sellers offer simpler inventories, streamlining selection to minimize shopper confusion.
Many online mattress stores offer free shipping, but generally, you set the bed up yourself. Most companies offer “white glove” delivery, which includes set-up, for a charge of $75 to $100.
No test drive, no worries
You may think that it’s risky to order a bed online since you can’t lie on it as you would in a store. But consumer testing has shown that online brands offer good to excellent comfort levels. Some online brands now have showrooms or display their mattresses at other retailers’ stores so that customers can check them out in person.
As with mattress store products, online mattresses offer comfort features such as body contouring and pressure point relief. Online customer reviews are solidly favorable.
You can’t haggle to get a better deal when buying online, but mattresses generally are about 15 percent cheaper in cyberspace. Online mattresses start as low as $325 on the branded sites, although lesser-known brands available on Amazon can start even lower. Some models can exceed $2,000. The branded sites will also sometimes offer seasonal sales, money-off promotions and free items such as pillows with purchase.
Return policies on mattresses
One of the most amazing benefits of buying a mattress online is the return policy. Many companies offer a 100-night trial, vastly more generous than most retail stores, which may require returns within 60 days.