Mattress Reviews 2023: Mattress Firm Crashes And Burns And Why We Hate To Shop For Mattresses
There’s nothing that reminds us more of how much we all hate to shop for mattresses than the recent announcement that Mattress Firm, the largest seller of mattresses in the US and most pun-committed company, filed for bankruptcy protection on October 5, 2020. It had been reported in August to be exploring bankruptcy proceedings and shuttering its money-losing stores, many of which were in freestanding buildings costing thousands a week maintain.
Houston-based Mattress Firm was founded in 1986 and and had sales of more than $3 billion. But the company anticipated losing $150 million in the 2018 fiscal year, according to court documents reported by the AP. Mattress Firm has more than $1 billion in liabilities and owes nearly $65 million to its largest creditor, Simmons Manufacturing Co.
Mattress Firm in court filings blamed rapid expansion and the “cannibalization” of sales from sister stores that were literally blocks away “Many Mattress Firm stores are in direct competition with other Mattress Firm stores, resulting in disappointing sales,” the company stated. It plans to close 700 of its more than 3,200 shops to reboot the business as a last ditch effort to keep a pulse in the iconic retail mattress store, as it gasps for air.
Americans “Would Rather Have A Wisdom Tooth Extracted Than Buy A Mattress”, Dentist Turned Mattress Retailer Says
Ok, no dentist actually said that, but you know what we mean. One mistake the giant crick and mortar mattress retailer made, probably from the dawn of the company, was likely failing to understand just how much Americans despise mattress shopping. Mattress salespeople often seen as pinky ring wearing sales people with little or no training that coerce customers into paying more, with opaque prices, confusing branding, and cups and balls trickery.
One common trick is to inflate the “standard” retail price of an item, then offer a large “discount” that still leaves the mattress price far above its actual cost. Another trick is for manufacturers to sell the same mattress under different names, with different fabric coverings in different stores, making it difficult for shoppers to price compare.
Mattress Firm grew fast in part by buying rival mattress seller and fellow pun-lover Sleepy’s for $780 million in late 2015, adding 1,050 stores to its portfolio. But it doubled down on physical retail as much of mattress sales was moving online, and many branches withered in strip malls and suburban shopping plazas.
The company was blindsided by startups that recognized how terrible mattress-shopping could be and offer a better experience. Casper, founded in 2014, raised $240 million to sell mattresses directly to consumers. Though not the first online “bed in a box” business model, they procured huge funding to market and advertising their promise of easy online ordering and hassle-free delivery and returns of relatively affordable mattresses.
And, they developed a pretty cool brand name, logo, and a cult following. But even they are experiencing the wrath of copy cat competitors beating them up on price and turning their unique model into a stamped out business model.
There are now a host of such online mattress retailer, such as Leesa, Tuft & Needle, Purple, and Nectar. Amazon has also entered the field, offering its own bed-in-a-box mattresses. And still, even while being drowned in hundreds of confusing mattress options, fake review sites, and endless social media carpet bombing, we STILL hate shopping for mattresses.
Consumers Feel Like They Have No Control Over Pricing
At Walmart, Best Buy, or Whole Foods, the listed price on any item is almost always what you pay. You might be able to get a discount with a coupon, but asking store employees for a discount will just get you a lifeless, blank stare.
Incredibly, not every industry works like this. Haggling is very common, and we’re actually expected to do it in certain, industries, like car and jewelry sales. What about the offer and counter-offer dance when buying a house?Because customers don’t participate in these markets very often, there’s less incentive to win customer loyalty with equitable and transparent pricing, and more opportunities to swindle unsophisticated buyers into overpaying.
The mattress industry is even more confusing. It’s notorious for over inflated prices, confusing branding, and trickery that leads to consumers overpaying because they just want to get the hell out of the store, or click the buy button.
Still, not paying enough for a mattress is also a big problem. After all, most people spend about eight hours per day — that’s a third of their life — sleeping. And a good mattress will last a decade or more. So it’s worth investing in a mattress that will give you restorative and productive sleep. So, what shoudl you pay for a mattress? According to The Mattress Buyer Guide’s founder, Marc Anderson, “around $1,000 for a queen, and $1,200 for a king”. This follows the pricing, after sales and discounts, that most of his retailers in their site’s Trusted Dealer program typically charge for one of their upgraded models.
So how DO you buy a mattress that will help you get a good night’s sleep without getting ripped off? Read on for details.
Knowledge is power
Mattress salespeople’s power comes from the fact that they know what a reasonable price is for each mattress but you do not. For example, a price tag might claim that a mattress normally costs $3,000 but is currently available for 60 percent off at $1,200. In reality, no one ever pays $3,000; $1,200 is the regular price. And if you aren’t afraid to haggle and invest a little time, you’ll be able to get it for hundreds of dollars less, along with freebies like pillows and mattress protectors.
As with any haggling event, the key to getting a better deal is to demonstrate that you know the product’s real value and won’t pay a dollar more. The easiest way to do that is by playing brick-and-mortar stores against online stores. Go online right inside the retail store, and take charge. Ask about details, like what’s inside the mattress and why it’s better than a comparable mattress sold online.
Once you find a mattress you like at a brick-and-mortar mattress store, use your favorite search engine to find the lowest price for that same mattress from an internet retailer. If you have a smartphone, you might be able to do this right in the store. In fact, we talk to plenty of customers who have told us that they’ve ordered a mattress online while waiting for a salesperson in a retail store, only to walk out.
Of course, the mattress industry hates this kind of comparison shopping. To discourage it, some mattress manufacturers will give the same mattress different names in different stores.
For example, the popular Simmons Beautyrest line has different brand names at different stores. The “Beautyrest Recharge Allie” at Macy’s is called the “Beautyrest Recharge Devonwood Luxury” at Sears, the “Recharge Signature Select Hartfield” at Mattress Firm, and the “Beautyrest Recharge Lyric Luxury” at US-Mattress.com. If customers don’t realize these are names for the same mattress, it’s harder for them to bargain effectively. And it’s exhausting to try and reverse engineer the whole process. So, people walk out of retail stores and end up buying online.
We don’t normally think of the mattress industry as a hotbed of design and creative innovation, but the last five years have seen the emergence of a totally new generation of direct-to-customer mattress businesses.
These companies are all based on the same basic idea: they sell mattresses made of foam that can be compressed enough to fit in a box the size of a dorm fridge. That lowers shipping costs and makes it easier to get the bed into tight spaces. Once removed from the box, the mattress expands to its full size.
You might think a mattress that expands from a box wouldn’t be very inviting, but in fact, online reviews suggest that people love their bed in a box mattresses. As an example, a reasonably priced memory foam mattress is made using materials similar to those found in high-end memory foam beds lie Tempur-Pedic that can cost thousands of dollars more, but really don’t feel that much different. To an expert, the Tempur-Pedic material is more sophisticated and more comfortable, but the average consumer won’t be able to notic any difference at all.
Casper and Leesa charge around $950 for a queen-size mattress. Tuft and Needle’s basic model is even cheaper at $600. And because the companies sell their product directly to consumers via the web, there’s no haggling, though you can ask a chat representative to throw in some freebies, which they typically will.
To seduce customers into giving their mattress a try, Casper and its rivals have introduced another innovation: a free, no-hassle return policy. You can try their mattresses for free for 100 days, and then return them if you’re not satisfied, and you’ll get 100% of your money back.
One big downside with these companies is a limited selection, but actually, that is by design. Too many choices is likely one of the reasons Mattress Firm is dying. Confused customers wander through endless rows of mattresses that all look and feel about the same. Online,each company sells just one, or maybe two, models and have targeted the middle of the firmness scale. That means if you prefer a mattress that is particularly firm, or particularly soft, these products may not be a perfect fit, but they’ll be close enough.
Like traditional brick and mortar stores, though, some of the newcomers pose problems for shoppers. The fast-talking salesman has been replaced with fake online reviews and search-engine-optimized ads that send unsuspecting internet shoppers toward inferior products.
One thing is sure: None of the online options can compete with Mattress Firm when it comes to being punny. To find a Trusted Dealer on this web site,