As with any product, the key to getting a deal on a mattress is to comparison shop. However, as many people know, mattress retailers have long sought to make this challenging by offering products that are “unique” to their stores, even if in many cases the distinctions are only skin deep. As a result of this practice, it quickly becomes difficult (if not impossible) for the consumer to know whether he or she is really comparing ‘apples to apples.’
So, how does a value-conscious shopper go about getting the best deal? We recommend you follow these simple rules:
Start by finding a specific mattress you like. To do this, we recommend you follow our simple steps for how to buy a mattress, which includes researching your options on GoodBed as well as trying them in a store. Once you have the name of a specific mattress you would be willing to buy that is in your price range, you can set out to find the best deal possible on that mattress, or an equivalent one.
Be prepared to negotiate. In the mattress business, negotiating is commonplace, even in some large department stores, and even for mattresses that are already “on sale.” Do not be afraid to ask for a discount off the listed price – the worst you can hear is “no,” and a store that is not willing to negotiate is far more of an exception than they are the rule. Also keep in mind that price is just one piece of a store’s total value proposition to you – depending on your needs, consider negotiating for related products and services, such as faster or cheaper delivery, better financing terms, removal of an existing mattress, inclusion of a new bed frame or bedding, etc. See our guide to choosing a mattress store for a more complete list of value-added products and services offered by mattress stores.
Let the stores do the “decoding” for you. Looking for an “equivalent” mattress to the one you like? The best people to help you with this are the salespeople at the other stores. If you provide them with the full product name of the model you like, they will gladly tell you what model of theirs is most equivalent. Some retailers even maintain an elaborate database containing the names of equivalent models carried by their nearby competitors. If you are concerned about the credibility of a particular salesperson’s response, ask when he or she will be in the store and call back again on their day off.
Use the phone. Once you know the name of a product you want, the most efficient way to explore your alternatives is to call other stores before visiting them. We recommend calling 3-5 stores in your area, with the intention of ultimately visiting only 1-3 before making your purchase. Start by using our Mattress Store Locator to easily find the mattress stores in your area. On the phone, tell each store about the mattress you like and let them know that you are interested in exploring some alternatives. Ask them to tell you about their closest equivalent to that model, including its price. Before you hang up, be sure to ask them for the best price at which they can sell you that mattress as well as what (if any) additional products and/or services would be included in that price, and remember to get the name of the salesperson with whom you are speaking.
Use the web. After you have spoken to each store, return to GoodBed to learn more about the “equivalent” mattress brand and model they recommended. Does it meet your Personal Mattress Criteria? How do its product attributes compare to the model(s) you already know you like? Does this brand and/or model have favorable ratings and reviews?
Reward the most compelling phone proposals with a store visit. After you’ve spoken with each store by phone, compare the responses you received. Based on their description of the “equivalent” model, your subsequent research on that brand and model, and the nature of the discount and/or value-added services they are prepared to offer, decide whether it is worth visiting that store to try the mattress.
Repeat if necessary. If you are fortunate enough to find two mattresses that you like at two different stores, make each store aware of the choice you are trying to make, and let them compete for your business. If you are so inclined, this process can be repeated as many times as necessary until you feel you have gotten the best deal possible.