Ordering A Mattress Online

I’m sure you have seen the infomercials and videos on YouTube. The entrepreneur is lying on the beach enjoying some down time when a monkey hits him in the head with a coconut. In that moment of clarity, and a wee bit a pain, an idea for a new mattress is born. The inventor imagines making a foam mattress from coconut oil. How cool is that?

Soon, he is all over the media, singing the praises of the brand new Purple Hippo 2000, the newest innovation guaranteed to make you sleep better. And even though not a single brick and mortar store carries his product, this is spun as an advantage to you – cutting out the middleman.

I do not mock innovation, or even direct marketed products. Both the Tempur-Pedic and Select Comfort (Sleep Number) brands were built primarily by direct marketing. The entire mattress industry is always attempting to build a better mousetrap, which is good for all of us. And the fastest way to market is often direct to the customer. But are you prepared to be the Early Adopter?

Should A Mattress Be Bought Online?

I usually do not hear about the good experiences of guests who purchase online. I would assume the only way these companies stay viable is by selling lots of mattresses that do not get returned, and provide a reasonably good customer experience. In over a decade, the general feedback I received from direct mattress purchasers was very negative. Again, it is unlikely that anyone would go to a mattress store to sing the praises of a mattress they bought online. The complaints were varied, but usually fell into three camps – comfort, durability, and experience.

Sleeping Woman

Shop for sleep, and avoid the online nightmares.

1. Comfort – I have yet to find a truly one-size-fits-all mattress. Good quality memory foam comes close, but even that can prove problematic with different sizes, shapes, and sleep positions of people. Comfort is very subjective, and its almost impossible to determine if a mattress will fit, AND BE COMFORTABLE, without trying it in person. Ordering online is a huge gamble – UNLESS you have actually slept on the exact mattress model before. If the product does not work, it typically is rather difficult to return. Before ordering online, KNOW EXACTLY, IN WRITING, the return policy. Does it need to be in its original packaging? Who pays for shipping? What about stains or damage? Don’t get stuck with a mattress that you cannot sleep on, and cannot return.

2. Durability – This is probably the most difficult category to consider because the problem normally does not manifest until after your options to exchange have ended. One thing I have heard quite often is that the guest loved their mattress for about a year, and then suddenly it collapses. Warranty issues can happen regardless of the brand. But, how complicated is the warranty process? The larger brands have billions invested in research and brand equity. They may be slow at times, but they will fulfill their warranty obligations. The smaller players should be more proactive. While they are often very good at the sales side of the equation, they may not be as good when it comes to customer service. Before ordering, make sure you understand what the warranty covers, what it excludes, the length of the coverage, and who pays for what to get the mattress replaced.

3. Experience – Almost everyone I have spoken to had a good initial experience purchasing their mattress online. It was the customer service after the sale that was usually problematic. Deliveries that did not arrive when promised, terrible odors, damaged merchandise, a mattress that has been compressed down and takes several days to expand, are among the many complaints that I have heard. And if there is a problem, not having a local contact or warehouse will create long delays to get a problem resolved. Keep all these in mind while you are evaluating whether or not to buy online.

A few other things to note. Are you ordering from a kid working from his mom’s basement, or a legitimate manufacturer of the product? The latter is far better. Do you PERSONALLY know anyone who sleeps on the mattress you are ordering? Online testimonials are notoriously unreliable. You normally get the extremes – the super good ones left by employees, their friends, and their family who received free mattresses. Or you get the extreme opposite, competitors trying to discourage potential customers. Its rare to find honest reviews online. And even when you do, they are likely to have completely different sleep needs than you.

Do your homework, and choose wisely. The goal is quality sleep, not a mattress nightmare.


Image: nenetus / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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