Several years ago, I helped get a new brand off the ground with only 6 mattresses in our selection. More and more, stores are starting to understand you don't have to have a big selection to help consumers find the right fit for their situation. Why is that?
Let's look at what you find when you go shopping in the San Francisco Bay Area for a mattress for example. You go online and find mattress sales, or you look on Yelp for the best mattress. Perhaps you see mattress sale in the newspaper or a TV ad. Most of these types of stores that can afford mass advertising are making a huge profit off of uneducated consumers. The solution? Get educated! And the first lesson to learn is that there are really only three mattresses and a few ways to make them.
The big box mattress stores in our area around Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and San Rafael boast they have a huge selection. And while on the outside that seems like a good thing, its actually a very bad thing for you as a consumer.
1. It's expensive! Maintaining a huge showroom and huge selection means you have a bigger store and higher rent, a bigger warehouse to keep all the different models, and that translates into a higher cost of doing business, which then trickles down to you paying a higher price. Mattress sale? Please, you are not that easily fooled! If you double the price on something, then come down half, you still make a big markup. Fact is most people have nothing to compare it to, so they charge whatever they want to begin with, then when they put the mattress on sale, it's still carrying a big markup.
2. A big selection is just rows of the same thing. A mattress is very, very simple. But because it is covered up in fabric, you are at the mercy of the mattress salesperson as to what is in it, and what they claim is in it. Basically, a mattress is either a foam or coil base with layers of foam and fibers, wrapped in fabric. That's it. Now, the foam can be either synthetic foam or latex foam, or some combination thereof, whether its synthetic and latex or synthetic and another kind of plant oil, soybean, castor, etc. That's it. You take those combinations, wrapped them in a simple fabric, and make a firm, medium or soft version, and you have pretty much every mattress on the market. If you buy a more expensive one, they will use fancier fabrics, fancier names and stitching, fancier labels and higher quality foams, but they are basically the same.
At Nest Bedding, and at a few other stores around the San Francisco Berkeley San Jose mattress market, we keep it simple. We carry a great, US made memory foam product from Bed In A Box.com that is non-toxic, foam over a foam base. We carry latex mattresses, pure, natural latex over a pure latex foam base, and latex over a pocketed coil. We also have something unique for our budget conscious customers, or those just not wanting any type of foam, simply a cotton and wool over coil.
Don't get overwhelmed when you are going from mattress store to mattress store here in the bay area looking at sales. Do your homework and find small, local retailers who divulge all the information about their products online so you can do your homework before shopping, save gas and get the facts!