The days of wandering the mattress showroom in desperate hopes of finding a bed that’s at least mildly comfortable (all while a salesperson breathes down your neck) are over. Thanks to the rise of e-commerce, anybody with money to spend can hop online and buy themselves a brand spankin’ new mattress.
There are many upsides to purchasing a mattress online. These include convenience, reduced prices (in many but not all cases), freedom from sales pressure, and the ability to read reviews and comparison shop a huge number of brands and mattress types. You can also choose between direct-to-consumer retailers and online stores that sell mattresses from a variety of manufacturers. Sounds great, right? Well, yes and no. Before you hit “purchase,” you should be aware of several important factors that make online mattress shopping a little more complicated.
You can’t try the bed.
Easily the biggest downside to online shopping is the fact that you can’t try out the bed before buying it. Given that the right mattress for you will vary depending on your preferred sleep position, health conditions, and personal preferences, buying a mattress without testing it out first requires a big leap of faith. Sleeping partners also have their own mattress preferences, and it can feel a bit like you’re Goldilocks searching for the mythical bed that’s “just right.”
Of course, this is where online reviews can really come in handy. Seek out reviews from people who mention having similar preferences or sleeping styles as you in order to help gauge if the mattress will suit your needs.
If you don’t like the mattress after purchase, all of your options will cost you time and/or money.
Let’s say you buy a mattress online, assemble it in the bedroom, and sleep on it for a few nights only to discover that it really isn’t comfortable. Then you’re left with a couple options, and neither of them are great. You can:
- Purchase a topper for your mattress. While this might make you more comfortable, you’re likely to pay much more money for a mattress topper than for the mattress itself.
- Take advantage of a free trial. This requires some foresight, since you’ll need to enroll in the trial before bringing the bed home. Some companies will allow you to test out several mattresses over the course of 100-plus days before making your final decision. This obviously has its benefits, but the downside here is the hassle involved. Don’t underestimate the energy (and money if you hire movers) required to move various mattresses in and out of your bedroom and navigate different return policies.
- Return the mattress. The smoothness of this process varies greatly by company. Some companies promise a free pick up and no-fee returns, while others will require you to package the mattress and pay to ship it back to the retailer. Often times if the mattress gets dirty or is damaged during shipping, retailers stick you with the bill. In contrast, several companies offer to pick up the mattress from your home free of charge. That’s why it’s imperative that you have a crystal-clear understanding of a company’s return policy before purchasing a mattress online.
You’re likely to experience less sales assistance.
This is certainly not true for all online retailers, but in some cases buying online means that you won’t benefit from personalized attention. It also means that you won’t have an opportunity to negotiate price, which is a common occurrence in brick and mortar stores. You’re also less likely to benefit from free or low-cost takeaway of your old mattress, meaning you’ll need to figure out how to dispose of it on your own.
Again, this is where some online sleuthing can really come in handy. Before you purchase a mattress, scope out reviews of the retailer online and monitor their social media pages to see how they respond to consumer questions or complaints. If the retailer doesn’t respond to people’s concerns, that’s a red flag. In contrast, demonstrations of helpfulness can give you confidence that you’re making a safe choice.
None of this is to scare you away from purchasing a mattress online. There are tons of great companies out there that are committed to providing high-quality, affordable mattresses and stellar customer service. However, it’s helpful to be aware of the challenges involved in online mattress shopping and to do your due diligence before you buy.