They might initially be looking forward to a better night’s sleep in the near future, but it’s more likely that the hunt for a new mattress brings up feelings of stress and uncertainty — whether that’s due to the hefty price tag, that there are so many options to choose from and it’s hard to know which one is the best, or the fact that most mattresses last five to 10 years, which means the wrong decision can impact them for years to come.
Mattress shopping is often time-consuming, and while hitting ‘add to cart’ feels infinitely faster than spending several hours (or days) devoted to testing out mattresses in-person, customers can spend valuable time starting the process over again if their purchase doesn’t satisfy after they’ve slept on it for a month.
For retailers, the direct-to-consumer model has certainly interrupted the traditional mattress industry in the last five to 10 years, but it hasn’t come without its own challenges. For customers, having fewer options to choose from doesn’t necessarily leave them with the best options.
According to Jessica Alexander of the UK’s National Bed Federation (NBF), a standard mattress retailer would aim for a return rate of less than 5%. But for online retailers, she’s heard of return rates of 20% or more. While that’s a consistent return rate for most online purchases, there’s one key distinction between most consumer goods and mattresses: mattresses cannot be resold. While many online retailers will pick up unwanted mattresses, only about 19% of mattresses are recyclable. This means that if all else fails, a customer’s unwanted mattress could end up in a landfill. Not such a sweet dream for the environment.
Plenty of online shoppers are highly satisfied with their purchase, but finding the right mattress can get tricky if they have particular needs (think back pain or temperature control), or if they’re sharing a bed with someone who has different sleep behaviours (tossing and turning, for example). Simply put, different bodies have different needs when it comes to mattresses.
For customers, traditional mattress shopping usually consisted of visiting a physical store (or multiple stores) and testing dozens of mattresses until the best fit was found. For salespeople, this meant asking a series of lifestyle questions and memorizing different mattresses to match customers to a product, all while keeping their budget in mind. And even then, customers sometimes had to rely on trial periods to ensure the right fit — a risk for everyone involved.
The truth is, for most customers, it’s still generally better to shop for a mattress in-person rather than online — yes, even during a pandemic — because actually lying down on a mattress is still the best way to find the right one.
Though in-person shopping doesn’t guarantee every customer walks out of the store with the right mattress, there is a way for retailers to close the gap between the vast array of choices and genuine customer satisfaction. Even if customers aren’t shopping online, that’s usually where they start their research on things like brands, technology, and materials. By the time they arrive at a store, they already have significant background knowledge, so in order for retailers to really impress, they need to offer an elevated experience.
When it comes to mattress shopping now, the best course of action is for retailers to offer a solution that makes customers feel confident in their buying decision from the moment they step into the store. These days, customers can have the best of both shopping worlds: they can have their mattress options narrowed down based on their particular needs and personally test those options to ensure they’re making the right choice, thanks to the REVEAL Mattress Recommendation System.
REVEAL uses pressure mapping to show customers a personalized, unbiased mattress recommendation based on their pressure points, and the level of comfort and support they’ll need for a better night’s sleep. They can also see individual results or recommendations for couples, and how pillows and adjustable bases can impact pressure points.
Using a sensor-based mattress fitting system like REVEAL not only expedites and personalizes the customer’s shopping experience, but it helps retailers maintain sanitization requirements thanks to its easy-to-clean surface. REVEAL is also a great offering for stores that are booking one-on-one personal appointments as a safety precaution.
A personalized, science-backed mattress system gives customers the advantage of shortening the time it takes to find the right one while still getting the best shopping experience and ultimately, sleep experience. With REVEAL, customers will be pointed in the right direction from the start, try a few options based on their pressure map information, and come away with the right mattress.
A late 2019 Better Sleep Council study showed that people who take shopping shortcuts aren’t satisfied with their mattress purchase. They feel less informed and reported being less satisfied with their sleep quality. Shoppers who spend time researching feel more satisfied with their purchase, enjoy their shopping experience and are more likely to be satisfied with their sleep quality. - BetterSleep.org
Even once the pandemic is behind us and we return to safely enjoying the activities we once did, it’s unlikely that customers will opt to return to the traditional way of shopping for mattresses that includes hours of comparing retailers or testing out mattresses that aren’t right for them.
Though online shopping shows no signs of slowing down and there are more online mattress retailers than ever, customers are still looking for a way to get the right product the first time. And as more data reveals the hidden costs of direct-to-consumer mattress shopping, such as environmental impacts, more customers will be looking for a more sustainable way to buy.
Retailers can help customers reclaim their valuable time by eliminating the risk involved in their decision-making process using a sensor-based system like REVEAL — while also helping them reap the benefits of a better night’s rest.