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The Trend of Buying a Mattress or Furniture Online

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Selling mattresses at the Crowley Milner department store in Detroit, Michigan.

Today’s consumer values convenience over everything. Most of the people you advertise to are busy individuals, with demanding jobs, kids to raise, and lots of goals to achieve which is the main reason why online shopping is so strong these days.

Of course, both online and retail shopping have their pros and cons, but the current consumer seems to favor online shopping. Furthermore, in the last few years, the trend of buying online has extended from regular holiday and daily shopping needs to furniture and/or mattresses, leaving retail stores behind.  

Why is Online Shopping America’s Favorite?

According to recent statistics, 79% of the US consumers shop online (a dramatic increase from just 22% in 2000). Given these numbers, it’s only natural that the bed-in-a-box culture is registering constant growth ever since it was launched.

According to a study designed to watch Amazon shoppers, 87% of online shoppers are first attracted by lower prices and free delivery services. But there are other factors that direct buyers toward online stores, leaving retail ones out of the loop.

First, there’s the convenience factor: you can buy at any time, from any location, without having to invest any effort besides flexing your finger muscles. Second, the online offer allows access to a wider selection of products and manages to transform what it used to be a boring and sleepy industry into one that’s worth talking about.

Third, the buyer can learn information from online reviews, the producer’s page, and other sources – there’s no need to have a face-to-face with a sales consultant, which tends to be tedious and frustrating.

How are New Businesses Growing?

The e-commerce world of mattresses has pumped new blood into the industry. It does so by using advanced technology and clever marketing techniques that attract users into visiting, learning about the products and finally buying.

New businesses like Casper, Nectar, Simba, and more act like tech startups rather than mattress companies and they have huge marketing budgets. This allows them to advertise in both online and offline environments, spreading the idea that buying a good mattress is just as easy as ordering a pizza. As it turns out, the strategy is highly effective as they’ve already stolen a 5% slice of the annual market and the predictions are favorable, showing the slice could get up to 20% by 2020.

So, while traditional brands are struggling, online companies are thriving. Even more interesting is that, even though the ads make the user believe that online beds are designed based on new scientific research, the production methods are the same. The innovation is represented by the bed-in-a-a-box concept which reduces the stress and time of delivery to a few days. Furthermore, delivery can happen the very next day with some companies; and it won’t cost the buyer a thing!

Another aspect that’s important with online stores is the return period, which is about three months or more (some even offer one year). This relaxes the buyer and gets them to trust the brand. Not to mention, brands make it very clear that they don’t re-sale the returned products!

Should Retail Stores think Online?

The benefits of a local showroom, where customers can feel and test the products before buying are impressive, and they will continue to attract people into the store. However, you risk losing the buyers who don’t have the time or the disposition to drive by your store.

Even more, it’s difficult to ignore the online sector when you know that Casper made their first million dollars in the first 28 days of existence! But you shouldn’t rush your way into the online market just yet. There are so many companies betting on the bed-in-a-box concept right now that the market is slowly reaching the saturation limit. Once a balanced is reached, the market will naturally remove players that don’t know how to hold their position, and only the strong brands will manage to stay in the game.

As a retail store, you should hold your ground and maybe invest a bit more in online ads and marketing. You also have the chance to simplify the selling process and maybe add a perk or two to attract buyers into the store. But, for now, the retail industry is here to stay!


More on Peter Palmer: Peter Palmer is a sleep expert with over 15 years of experience in the field, and his mission is to find the perfect recipe for a restful sleep. He also collaborates with Topmattress.com in a desire to educate people about the importance of high-quality mattresses for a good night’s sleep.

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