How the Mattress Industry is Changing for the Best
For decades the mattress industry languished in a state of zero change. The consumer was boxed in with rigid selling practices that resembled something like visiting a used car dealership. And a few large mattress retailers controlled the market with colorful ads, cut prices and aisles loaded to the brim with different types of products that nobody needed. Often, salespeople could not tell the difference between the different models, who cares, as long as they convinced the customer he or she was getting the best deal.
The internet brought disruptive change to the fourteen billion Dollar a year mattress industry. At the forefront of this development came Casper with an entirely new strategy that would revolutionize the entire market. Caspar is the first ever pure-play online mattress retailer. Since then many more online sellers have entered the market, and the traditional bricks-and-mortar ventures are shifting a part of their sales’ activities to the internet.
The democratization of this once staid business segment brings along significant advantages to the consumer.
- For one, people on the market for a mattress can inform themselves adequately before going out and spending a lot of money on a big-ticket item. Websites like mattressmatchers.com have all kinds of reviews, product comparisons and more to help people make an educated choice.
- The mattress is no longer a myth. Thanks to disruptive technology and the availability of information, consumers are armed will all they need to make the right buying-decision.
Research on sample sleeping groups discovered that people move around when they sleep. This finding changed a lot. When before it was assumed that a different sleeping surface was needed based on the person, it is now believed that adaptable surfaces are the way forward. Caspar has proven this with its one-mattress-type strategy. They have many happy sleepers in their customer base confirming their assumption.
- The commoditization of the mattress. Generally speaking, the mattress may still be a big-ticket purchase, but due to the ease in which it can be bought and the one choice fits all aspect, much of the former exclusiveness is gone.
- Buying online is convenient. No more trips to the stuffy mall or the dedicated mattress shop. Almost gone are the days when rebarbative salespeople lambasted the customer with so many different products and deals that they returned home none the wiser and without what they needed in the first place. A new mattress is just a few clicks away.
- As pure-play online mattress retailers do not need a physical presence on the high street and the corresponding high personnel and rental costs that go with it, they can invest their money in R&D instead. Also, they focus on customer satisfaction concerning the sleeping and buying experience rather than just the price.
- Same-day delivery. In some areas of the country, it is faster to order a mattress than a pizza. That’s what one of the Caspar co-founders claims. This is thanks to the collaboration with delivery companies like UPS and the ability to package the product in small fridge like boxes.
- Word of mouth has almost become enough. As one mattress for all seems to work, a person can listen to their neighbor’s testimonial and be pretty sure that they will be happy as well.
- Warranties and sure-thing return policies have demystified and promoted the online buying experience – consumers no longer need to worry that they have not seen, lain on or touched the product. If they are dissatisfied, the consumer can return the mattress.
The changes of the last four to five years are a positive development for the consumer. What used to be an industry run by the seller has now become tailored to the buyer.