Buying a mattress online is becoming ever more popular. The convenience of shopping from your home, avoiding the hassle and confusion of a retail mattress salesman, and having the ability to return it for a full refund if it’s not what you want all make online mattress buying something that is only going to increase and improve over time. There are some basic things you should consider doing when evaluating which mattress you want to buy.
A good mattress can be expensive. It’s an important purchase that effects your health and well-being, so it makes sense to take your time and do a good bit of research before making any sort of decision. Getting the right mattress is really all about the product, so comparing the product is critical. However, there are other key purchase and delivery considerations. Here are a few pointers to help you with your online research.
Product/company reviews are an essential part of doing online research on mattresses. There are 5 primary sources of reviews:
1. Word of mouth
2. Reviews by “review companies” affiliated with the manufacturer
3. Reviews made buy customers posted on the retailer website
4. Reviews by independent companies such as Consumer Reports
5. Reviews posted on Facebook or other social media
A key to the value of a review is the independence of the reviewer from the company/product being reviewed. Personal recommendations, also known as word-of-mouth referrals, are probably the most reliable form of a company/product review, especially when it comes to mattresses. Personal online reviews, such as those on Facebook appear to be the most unbiased, especially if you know the person who made the review. Consumer Reports is helpful, but you have to pay for a membership and it conducts a very limited number of mattress product reviews. Reviews by customers on the retailer website are useful if the retailer shows that the reviews are performed by an independent company. Reviews from review companies affiliated with the industry should be viewed with an understanding that they are getting paid some form of compensation to make the review.
Each person has different needs and likes. What might be good for one person may not be ideal for another. If one person has a bad experience with the mattress it doesn’t mean you will, but it does mean something. What makes sense is reading reviews from at least two or three different sources, and reading the details of the basis of the review. It also makes sense to ask questions of the specific retailer, either by phone, e-mail or online chat.
Check Trial / Return Policies
A mattress is a major household item purchase. Being able to return the mattress and get a full refund is very important. Most online companies have a consumer friendly trial period and return policy, ranging from 60 days up to one full year. Even retail stores are now offering extended trial periods. One challenge with retail stores is that each has its own policy, so make sure you know the policy “fine print” before you make a decision. Many retail stores charge re-stocking fees. The reality of the free trial period is “the longer the better”; many mattresses are made with types of foam that wear out over time. Once the trial period is over, retailers revert back to the manufacturer’s warranty, and these almost always cite the need for a manufacturing defect, something that can be difficult to demonstrate. Be sure to take advantage of the free trial period as you have just spent a lot of money and will be sleeping on your mattress for a long time. A mattress is not something you should have to make a compromise on any longer!
Know The Savings
Buying online can save you a lot of money over a retail store. However, this applies only if you know what the mattress or a comparable mattress costs at retail. Mattress prices are directly related to their contents; a retail store has the added costs of operating the store for selling the mattress. Online companies do not have a “brick and mortar” store, so there are no retail salespeople and in many cases there is no inventory. Many new online-only mattress retailers are passing some of the savings along from selling directly online. Other online-only mattress companies spend a lot of money marketing their products (those cable/TV ads are not cheap!). Not every online company provides a great value. If you shop online and compare the mattress product content between online companies and retail mattress companies, you can get a good idea of whether you are getting a real savings or not.
Check Shipping Costs
Most online retailers provide free shipping, but not all. Before making a final decision, make sure to understand what, if any, the shipping costs are and how long delivery will take. UPS and FedEx deliveries are dropped at your door. Be prepared to have two people involved in your new mattress set-up, and old mattress removal (if you have one). The videos are cute, but it really takes two people to set-up your new mattress safely and without breaking something! A few online retailers also offer the convenience of White Glove Delivery service, which means that they will have your mattress delivered, set-up and the packaging materials taken away. Some may also offer old mattress removal, which could be very helpful if you’re going to dispose of the old mattress. While these costs can be a little over $100, they might make the entire process a lot more convenient, which is often why you’re buying online in the first place. Retail stores will usually throw in set-up and removal for free to close the sale. Look over all your options if you are deciding between two or more brands.
Check Sales Tax
All retail stores charge sales tax. Not all online companies have to charge sales tax. It depends on where you are located and where the online retailer operations are located, as to whether or not you have to pay sales tax for an online purchase. For example, Amazon usually has to charge sales tax these days, while many online-only mattress retailers only have to charge tax in a few states. Sales tax can range from 6-10%, not a huge cost, but something that could sway your decision.
Mattress buying is a big decision that needs to be researched, whether you buy online or in a store. The items above should help you either way. Buying a new mattress online is really becoming an easy thing to do. Previously, retailers made you think that you had to go to their store. With online purchasing, you are now in better control of the process. There are lots of choices and you now have alternatives if you find out the mattress you bought is not exactly what you want.