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Did Mattress Firm Try To Dismiss The Entire "Bed In A Box" Industry?

Jul 05, 2017

Did Mattress Firm Try To Dismiss The Entire

Mattress Firm, the country's most prolific mattress retailer with more stores across the country than is humanly possible, just adopted a "If you can't beat 'em, beat 'em up" philosophy when it comes to the recent trend in mattresses being sold online in a box. But is their campaign to discredit the fast rising bed in a box phenomena a little self-serving? Let's take a look.

Mattress Firm, a mattress retailer with locations dotting the country, was recently purchased by a foreign investor, Steinhoff International. Steinhoff International is a South African-based international retail holding company, dealing mainly in furniture and household goods, which operates in Europe, Africa, Asia, The United States and Australia. So, one of the nation's leading mattress retailers is not even an American-owned company any longer. Mattress Firm, which sells the usual lineup of major brand mattresses, recently launched a site, seen here, to discredit the quickly growing bed in a box movement.

So we have one of the leading mattress retailers, owned by a foreign investment company, taking a big swing at good ol' American ingenuity when it comes to the cottage industry that is the bed in a box movement. What is the "bed in a box" movement? Let's take a look.

The bed in a box movement has it's roots in consumer dissatisfaction. To best express this, I will go back to my personal experience, having sold brands such as Sealy, SertaTempurpedic, Sterns & Foster and many of the major brands your mom and dad remember. There are two common complaints these major brands dealt with: too expensive and not very durable. In fact, if you visit Sleep Like The Dead, an independent review site for mattresses, you will see consumer feedback from over the years reflecting this fact. The major brand beds don't really hold up that well over the years relative to their price, or simply have disappointed consumers commensurate to their price. This is reflective also of my personal experience having sold these brands previous to starting Nest Bedding. And it was out of this dissatisfaction that led to consumers wanting more transparency, better value, and better quality, hence the bed in a box movement. The bed in a box movement is a quickly growing segment made up of many startup mattress companies selling primarily online or a handful of their own locations, providing consumers with an alternative to the big brands.

Mattress Firm must try and diminish the reputation of the bed in a box industry because we are taking business away from these old, overpriced brands, and they are suffering from that movement. Mattress Firm is mired in a business model that is bloated and leads to higher prices and lesser quality. Let's take a moment to dissect that business model:

1. Brand X mattress sold in Mattress Firm is manufactured in a factory in the USA. It is sold to Mattress Firm.

2. It is then loaded on a truck from that factory to a Mattress Firm warehouse. 

3. The consumer purchases a mattress from their local Mattress Firm.

4. Mattress Firm dispatches a delivery crew and truck to the consumer's home to deliver the mattress.

This is the typical retail business model relating to mattress sales and can help explain why name brand beds are so expensive and why their quality is not as good.

At step #1, you have the major brand with their advertising, marketing, offices, staff, factory, trucks and employees. This is a major expense that has to be factored into the cost of the mattress. 

At step #2 you have the cost of a store and store upkeep, the staff and mattress salesperson's salary and commissions.

At step #3 you have the costs associated with the Mattress Firm brand, their support staff and their marketing and advertising. Adding costs in step 2 and 3 are what is referred to as the retail "mark up" to cover the costs and make a profit from the sale of that bed.

At step #4 you have another layer of expense; a truck and truck maintenance, a crew of workers and a warehouse where the mattress was stored.

As you can see, there are a lot of hands in the pot and a lot of things that have to be paid for by the time that Mattress Firm-sold mattress arrives in your home.

It's this bloated business model that has led consumers to look for alternatives when their over-priced name brand bed didn't hold up. Enter the bed in a box movement.

The bed in a box movement cuts out many of these layers of expense, affording consumers with a lower priced option and many times a better quality than can be found at your typical retailer like Mattress Firm.

Since this is my blog, let's look at Mattress Firm's list of so-called "myths" and how it relates to Nest Bedding and compare notes.

Myth #1: You are not getting the best value.

This one seems to be saying that they have a better value because they have salespeople, curated selections and affordable price points. Well, I would counter that at the very heart of the movement away from big box mattress retailers like Mattress Firm are because of the salespeople. The balloons, the sales, the gimmicky sales, the pressure to buy sales environment has likely been the very reason consumers have been flocking to the online mattress movement. And the "curated mattress selection" seems to be nothing more than filling a 10,000 square foot store in some cases with as many mattresses as humanly possible. 

At Nest Bedding, our salespeople are not on commission, we don't have balloons and giant sales and we don't have showrooms packed to the gills with mattresses. You get a truly curated selection, narrowed down to a few choices of materials, prices and feels, without any of the "gotta buy it now or else" pressure tactics.

Myth #2: Returns are not very easy

They REALLY must have been desperate to find negative things to say about our industry because here they simply say you are stuck with a bed in a box mattress for 30 days. But a quick read of their website finds that they in fact have the exact same policy here requiring you to keep your bed a minimum of 30 days. No Mattress Firm, it's not on the consumer to return the bed or put it back in a box. This is a disingenuous and self-serving statement.

At Nest Bedding we ask that you trial the bed a full 30 days as well, it's industry standard because it can take a bit for your body to adjust. And as a company, we encourage consumers who don't find their selected bed comfortable to exchange for another bed in our line up or donate it locally. And if those options don't work, we pick it up.

Myth #3: Is it the same quality? 

They actually pose the question here; "Is if the same quality as a regular mattress". We see what you did there Mattress Firm. "Regular" mattress, insinuating that this is some not-as-good product. The fact is, most of their "regular" mattress are made with materials which are not as high quality as those found in bed in a box type bed or at least are the same. Some of the name brand beds are made with foams that are not very dense and break down quickly (read the comments from consumers on Sleep Like The Dead's website for an idea of suspect durability) and this would prevent them from being offered in a box.

At Nest Bedding, because we don't have the layers of overhead that Mattress Firm and the name brand beds they sell, we can focus on truly the top quality materials available, which are available to all brands by the way, and offer a truly better product at a better price.

Myth #4 The One Mattress Fits All Business Model

Mattress Firm states that the One Perfect Mattress business model is flawed and the inference is that since they have lots of models, their business model is better. On this we can semi-agree, however, it can be argued that there are well-over 100 mattress brands to choose from online, and they all offer different beds, so the consumer can choose latex, foam, springs, soft, firm, medium all from a better, less expensive retailer and never darken a Mattress Firm doorstep.

At Nest Bedding, we adopted a hybrid business model early on, choosing to offer a truncated offering of beds and bed types rather than adopt a "One Mattress Fits All" philosophy, You can choose from foam, coils, latex and different sizes and price points and still take advantage of the lower overhead, lack of pressure buying experience at Nest Bedding.

Myth #5 Get your new mattress right away

Mattress Firm is banking on the premise that consumers will pay more and sacrifice quality to get a bed the same day it appears. And in their straw man argument that it takes "2 days to 2 months" to get a mattress in a box, that is not always the case, especially at Nest Bedding. Most consumers these days are happy to skip the over priced name brands and circus atmosphere at their local big box mattress retailer if it means better pricing and better quality, and if it takes a couple days to arrive, that is an acceptable trade-off. 

At Nest Bedding, because we are factory direct, we get beds out the door quick and FedEx to your doorstep in a matter of days, and in some cases, we have some stock in our local stores you can take home the same day.

So, let's review: you can buy that old name brand, over-priced bed from a foreign owned retailer, or buy a better quality, better priced bed from a factory direct, family owned, USA based company in Nest Bedding. 

Seems there is no myth, this bed in a box retailer is clearly the better choice.