It’s time for a new mattress, but you really don’t want to go to the mattress store and you aren’t sure if online shopping is for you.
I’m here to compare and contrast the strengths of both methods. I’m gonna go over the delivery, trial periods, quality of the mattresses, affordability, etc.
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What is affordability of either online or in-store mattress purchasing?
A big part of your mattress buying decision is going to be how much it cost. The price ranges of the mattresses can vary widely, especially online where you can find queen-size mattresses anywhere from $200 all the way up to $5000.
That’s a really big range so you’re really gonna be able to find exactly the price range you’re looking for.
Whereas if you go to a mattress store, you’re probably gonna have less price variability.
With that huge price range online, it can be tough to know how much you should spend for a good mattress.
I would say that the standard online pricing for all-foam bed in a box mattresses for a queen size is just under a thousand dollars.
For example, the Layla is a really quality product that comes in right in that price range.
If you’re wondering what most mattresses online cost, I’d say it’s about that cost.
But one thing to note about online mattresses is obviously whereas in a store you can see exactly what you’re getting, online you can wonder exactly what the quality is, but there are a few ways that you can tell.
I think one of the biggest obstacles for people trying to decide if they should buy mattress online versus in-store is because they’re wondering how good can an online mattress really be.
Something that’s interesting is that at this point, a lot of people buy pretty much everything online, without a concern of whether it’s high quality or low quality, because they know that online products are just as good as those that you can buy in a store.
One of the ways that you can check to see if a product or a mattress that you’re buying online is of high quality, without actually having it in your hands to test out, is by checking to see what materials are being used in the construction of it.
In the case of the Layla, which is a memory foam mattress, you can check to see if they’re using high-density, quality memory foams, which are gonna last a bit longer.
If you’re buying in store, you will be able to feel the mattress and understand exactly what you’re getting when you’re buying it.
One of the ways that online mattress companies have gotten around that is by offering really nice trial period, so you can have them in your home for a little while and decide whether or not you want to keep it or send it back.
Getting to try out different mattresses for a few minutes and find out how they feel is the initial advantage of the in-store mattress buying experience.
But it is only for a couple of minutes and it can be not the best real-world test case for how you actually sleep in bed.
To give you an actual trial period, a lot of online mattress companies give you at least a hundred nights and in some cases up to a full year to have the mattress in your home, sleeping on it every night, deciding whether or not you want to keep it or sending it back, so you can get a really good idea of whether the mattress is right for you.
So the advantage of in-store versus online really depends on if you’re not sure exactly what you want out of your mattress. Different materials, like memory foam, latex or poly foam, things like that, give you a quick idea of how they actually feel. The in-store experience is probably a little better in that situation.
However if you do know more about what you’re looking for, the online trial periods are probably a little bit more of an advantage because you can have them in your home for a little while, actually testing them out, sleeping on them for a few weeks or a month or two, deciding whether or not you want to keep it or send it back.
Obviously one of the biggest differentiating factors between the online and in-store mattress buying experience is customer service.
One of the biggest complaints that I hear from people about actually going to the mattress store is the mattress salesman.
Mattress salesman might get a little bit of a bad reputation. However they can help give you information, answer some questions while you’re in the store.
If you’re asking about multiple mattresses, they’re gonna have a little bit wider knowledge on those than just one mattress company online.
But people can feel a lot of pressure if the mattress salesman is just standing over them while they’re trying out a few different mattresses and that pressure is where the online mattress buying experience came out of.
If you’re shopping online, there’s a huge variety of mattresses, however many companies only have one or two models in their entire mattress line.
But one thing that is an advantage to the online shopping experience is you can ask the questions to their customer support teams. A lot of them have live chat, without getting that pressure back from the company or that in-person that you might feel too pressured to buy the mattress.
A lot of these online companies do have 24-hour chat services so you can actually ask them questions at any time when you’re shopping.
Really with customer service it does come down to preference.
If you’d prefer the face to face experience and being able to ask the salesman questions about a wider range of mattresses that they have in their shop, versus more of a laid back approach online, where you can ask at your leisure whenever you’re actually shopping and get the information on a specific mattress that you’re looking for.
Another big part of the online versus in-store debate is the actual delivery of the mattress.
With mattress stores, a big hallmark of their customer service is the same day delivery available. So if the story has the mattress in a warehouse or something nearby they can deliver it to you that same day.
That is a big plus for the in-store experience.
The online mattress companies can’t deliver the mattress to you the same day. They usually arrive in under a week. So it’s not that bad.
Another thing is that mattresses such as the Layla’s sometimes come as a bed in a box, meaning that they’re rolled up in plastic and condensed into a smaller box.
So you have to open up the box, unwrap the plastic, let them expand for a few hours or even overnight before you sleep on them.
Even though it does take a couple of days, many online mattress sellers do offer white glove delivery. So if you’re not confident that you can actually set up the mattress yourself, many online mattress companies will offer free white glove deliveries, so they will actually take away your old mattress and help set up your new one as well.
But what if you do not like the bed once it’s in your home?
The next point of online versus in-store is which is easier to return.
Online mattresses do often have free returns and things like that. The policy is very widely online. You really are gonna have to take a closer look when you’re shopping at whether the company provides free returns, someone’s gonna pick it up or if you have to box it up and send it back yourself.
In store it can be a little bit easier. You can call the store and have them come and pick up the mattress, but there will be extra fees associated with that return.
If you do have like a truck or u-haul and you can have a couple people drag it back, it’s probably a little easier to return it.
In terms of the advantage, it’s a little tough to say. Online is a little more vary, because it depends company to company, where in store is probably a little easier to call but there will be extra fees associated with it.
Pros & Cons
Now that we’ve compared and contrasted the online mattress buying experience against going to a mattress store, I want to quickly go over the pros and cons that we’ve discussed.
I personally prefer doing a little online shopping. However, it’s not for everybody.
One of the pros with online shopping is the ease. You can do it very much at your leisure. You can go online, check out a few different mattresses and not feel the pressure of being forced to buy something while in store.
Another big pro for the online mattress buying experience is the affordability.
Like I said, there’s a huge range of mattress prices available online and you’re not going to necessarily find such a wide variety of mattresses in the store.
Finally I still give a big advantage of the customer service of the online mattress buying experience over the in-store mattress buying experience, just because you’re not going to feel the same pressure to buy a mattress. While you’re online, you can ask the questions you want, oftentimes 24 hours a day with the customer service chat lines available on their sites.
Obviously it’s not the perfect experience when trying to buy a new bed.
Some of the complaints about the online mattress buying experience is that you can’t try out the mattress before you actually order it.
I did talk about ways that online companies use trial periods to help ease those fears but it is a little bit of an advantage if you don’t know exactly what you want or what you’re looking for out of a new bed.
Another con with the online mattress buying experience is the return process. It does vary pretty wildly from company to company.
Some will be much easier than others, but the shipping and return process with the online mattresses can be a con that I hear from a lot of people.
The in-store experience has some advantages. They’re the opposites of the advantages for online.
The first big advantage for in-store is that you get to try out multiple mattresses in one day. Getting to go and lie on the bed for a little bit before you make your purchase.
One of the other advantages for the in-store experience is same day delivery. Often times White Glove delivery which online stores just really can’t do.
Some of complaints are pretty common complaints for the in-store mattress buying experience.
First up is pesky salesmen. Sometimes it can be tough to feel that pressure when you’re just lying on a mattress and someone’s standing over you, pushing you towards the bed. Maybe you normally wouldn’t buy if you just had it in your home to try it out for a little while.
The trial period is a big advantage for the online experience as opposed to the in-store experience.
Instead of just 15 minutes to try a mattress while you’re in store, you actually get a couple weeks or months when you’re buying online as opposed to that in-store quick trial.
Finally one of cons for the in-store experience are return fees. For the online experience, there’s a wider range of policies. You’ll have to check. But for a lot of the in-store experience there is extra fees associated with sending a bed back if it doesn’t work out for you.
That’s it for the online vs. in-store mattress buying experience.
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Alex P. Davis has a BA in Interior Design from The New York School of Interior Design and 10 years of experience expertly designing sophisticated interiors.