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Shopping online has become part of our everyday lives. People like the convenience of shopping when they want, whether that’s from the comfort of their home or on the go from their mobile. There are risks when you buy a mattress online. This guide provides some practical ways to have a safe and successful online shopping experience.

In the past, mattress shopping was considered a frustrating activity. Shoppers would wander from store to store, comparing mattresses before purchasing. The process was often time-consuming, but at the time, buying a mattress online was considered absurd.

But in recent years, all of this has changed. Shopping online has become part of our everyday lives, and people are more comfortable making big purchases over the internet.

Many online mattress brands sell directly to the customer. They can offer free shipping and generous trial periods, where the customer can return the mattress if it fails to meet their expectations.

However, there are risks when you buy a mattress online. Here are some practical ways to have a safe and successful online shopping experience.

Happy young couple at home shopping online

What are the benefits of buying a new mattress online?

Shopping online has become part of our everyday lives. People like the convenience of shopping when they want, whether that’s from the comfort of their home or on the go from their mobile. Shopping online makes it easier to compare prices, and shoppers often have access to a wider range of products.

Convenient shopping experience

Buying a mattress online is convenient. Shoppers can purchase a new mattress when and where it is easiest for them. They no longer need to take time out from their busy schedules, travel to different mattress stores or deal with crowds and pushy salespeople when they arrive. Shoppers can do their research and window shopping online and then complete a purchase with just a few clicks.

A wider selection of mattress brands

When you visit a mattress showroom, you only get to see the brands they have on display. Furthermore, many stores have exclusivity on collections which often makes it difficult to compare mattresses between different stores.

Shoppers often rely on information from sales staff in-store to try and establish which mattress might be the most suitable. The store can provide brochures and leaflets giving further details about the products the shopper is interested in.

Shopping online allows you to discover many brands you wouldn’t find in your local mattress stores. It also allows shoppers to gather a wide range of product-related information, such as detailed descriptions and reviews. The information may be much more reliable and credible than the word of a commission-based salesperson.

Less pressurised

Shopping for a mattress in-store can be quite hectic and pressurising at times, especially during the sales.

There are often crowds of people to deal with, and you may get stuck behind a couple wandering around the store at a snail-like pace.

Then there are the overly enthusiastic salespeople who barely allow you to breathe before asking if you need help.

Posters and hanging boards are strategically positioned around the store, reminding you that the sale is ending. There may even be a tannoy announcement in case you didn’t get the hint.

Shopping online is a much more relaxing experience where you can take your time and not feel pressured into a sale.

Competitive prices

Shopping online for a mattress is often cheaper than buying in-store. Brick-and-mortar stores have to factor in additional running costs such as rent, electricity, and wages into their margins, which can often make it difficult for them to compete with online retailers.

However, this isn’t always the case. Some stores have multiple locations, so they can sometimes negotiate better deals with suppliers and pass these savings on to customers.

Generous mattress sleep trials

Shopping in-store allows you to try out different mattresses to help you decide which mattress is right for you. However, you can’t be certain how a mattress performs until you have spent a few nights on it from the comfort of your home.

Online mattress brands commonly offer sleep trials. These trials allow shoppers to test a mattress from home with the option of returning it within the specified trial period if they are unsatisfied.

Trial periods are designed to make shoppers feel more confident about purchasing a mattress online.

Some trial periods last up to a year, allowing you plenty of time to adjust to a new mattress and decide if it is right for you.

However, ensure you are satisfied with the trial terms and conditions before signing up. A condition of most sleep trials is that you must use a mattress protector with the new mattress to ensure it remains in good condition. You may also have to pay additional delivery or shipping costs to return an unwanted mattress.

What are the disadvantages of buying a mattress online?

Buying a mattress online may be convenient and cheaper, but there are some drawbacks. You can’t try the mattress before you buy it, and there may also be an increased risk of fraud.

Can’t try before you buy

The biggest problem when buying online is that you don’t get to see or try the mattress beforehand. You can’t be sure of its quality, whether it’s comfortable or safe to sleep on. You can also try different-sized beds in the showroom to help you establish the most suitable size. This is especially important for couples that share a bed.

Many online retailers offer mattress sleep trials to mitigate the risk. But it’s important to research the seller’s reputation beforehand to ensure you’re buying from an established retailer with a good reputation.

Lack of expertise

Buying a new mattress can often be a frustrating and confusing process. Shoppers can often rely on the expertise of knowledgeable sales staff when they buy in-store. By finding out more about the shopper’s needs, the salesperson can often suggest products that are best suited to their requirements, which often the shopper hasn’t considered.

Online shoppers have a lot of information at their fingertips, but without independent specialist advice, it can be difficult to determine which mattress is right for them.

Increased risk of fraud

Shopping online has never been easier or more convenient for customers. But buying online does come with some risks. Online mattress scams are on the rise, and rogue traders are becoming increasingly sophisticated. If you choose to buy online, it’s essential to do your research beforehand. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Shopping for a new mattress online

Once you’ve weighed up the pros and cons of shopping online, you then need to consider the process of buying a mattress online. Here’s what you need to know.

Spend as much as you can afford

It can be difficult to know how much to spend on a new mattress, considering some of us will only buy a new mattress two or three times during our lifetime. Though setting a budget may seem like a responsible approach, you don’t want to end up with a cheaper mattress that does not meet your expectations.

It helps to do plenty of research beforehand to give you an idea of the prices involved. However, don’t underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. You don’t want to wake up tired, achy, or groggy in the morning. As we spend almost a third of our lives in bed, you should spend as much as you can reasonably afford on a new mattress.

Spending £1,000 on a new mattress will cost less than 40 pence a night (assuming it will last at least seven years). We happily invest in new cars, holidays, and luxury handbags, so why not a new mattress?

Mattress types

One of the main drawbacks to online shopping is that you can’t try the mattress before buying it. So, therefore, you need to consider what type of mattress you might like and need.

A good starting point is to consider what you like or dislike about your existing mattress. For example:

  • Is it too soft or too firm?
  • Do you or your sleeping partner wake each other up during the night?
  • Is the mattress heavy or difficult to turn?
  • Does it make a noise?
  • Do you feel hot in bed?

Answering these questions will help you narrow down your options. For example, if the mattress is too firm, you may wake up with aches and pains, particularly around the shoulders and hips, if you sleep on your side. On the other hand, if a heavier person finds it difficult to turn over in bed, it could be that the mattress is too soft.

People that naturally radiate more heat in bed may want to avoid memory foam. This is because ordinary memory foam has a dense cell structure which retains heat, making the sleeping surface feel warmer.

If you and your partner disturb one another in bed, you may need a mattress that absorbs movement reducing partner disturbance. Upgrading to a bigger bed will also help.

Besides personal preference, you should also consider your body weight as one of the main factors when choosing a mattress online. The table below provides a guide on what type of mattress firmness suits your body weight.

Body weightRecommended mattress tension
Someone that weighs up to 11 stone (70kg)Soft
Someone that weighs between 11 and 16 stone (70 to 102kg)Medium
Someone that weighs 16 stone and above (102kg +)Firm

You also need to consider your preferred sleeping position. Side sleepers may prefer a mattress that conforms well to the body cushioning the shoulders and hips. Pocket springs, memory foam, and latex mattresses are good options for side sleepers.

You could ask friends or family members for recommendations, but remember, comfort is subjective. What’s comfortable for one person may not be for someone else. Their recommendations may also be based on outdated advice, for example, that a firm mattress is good for the back, which is often not the case.

Establish whether the website is trustworthy

Before you interact or engage with a website, it is important to establish if the online seller is trustworthy and that your money and personal data are safe.

Check the padlock in the address bar

Before providing payment details or personal information, establish whether the site is secure by checking if there is a padlock symbol in the address bar. Clicking on the padlock icon provides more detailed information about the site’s security. This includes whether the connection is secure, if it has a valid certificate, and how many cookies are in use. Also, check the characters in the web address. Does it look spammy?

Secure website with padlock in address bar highlighted

Review the company’s contact details

An online mattress company should provide clear contact and customer service information. Most companies should have a ‘contact us’ or ‘customer service’ page, often linked to in the website’s footer section. If you can’t find these pages, some companies provide this information on their ‘about us’ page.

The company should provide full contact details, phone numbers, emails, postal addresses and the names of people to contact if you need to ask questions.

Online mattress companies should have a physical location. You can often find this information in the footer section, but you can also check on the ‘contact us’ or ‘terms and conditions’ pages. If an address is listed, you can verify the business is genuine by searching for the location on Google Maps. 

Evaluate the website

You can learn much about the seller’s credibility by checking their website. Here are some things to look for:

  • Does the website provide a substantial or comprehensive description of the beds and mattresses?
  • Is the information provided on the website written by an expert or someone that knows what they’re talking about?
  • Does the company have a clear privacy policy, terms and conditions, and returns policy?
  • Is there spelling or grammatical issues on the site?
  • Does the website appear to be well-maintained and kept up to date?

Check independent reviews

Knowing more about the company’s reputation will help you determine whether they are credible and trustworthy. You can evaluate the reputation of the company by searching online for reviews.

Sites like Trustpilot and Google My Business allow people to share their experiences with others. These sites will help you quickly discover whether shoppers generally have a good or bad experience with the company. Some people may provide a negative review because the mattress was delivered late, they were unsatisfied with the product, or they received poor customer service. On the other hand, good service is hard to come by, so if someone speaks highly about a company, this is a positive sign.

However, be sceptical about reviews posted on the seller’s website, as anyone can write them. Some companies cherry-pick their reviews by only publishing the good reviews provided by customers.

Does the company have a social media presence?

You can also check whether the business has a presence on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can establish whether the company is active across its social media channels, how they engage with its audience, and read relevant reviews from customers.

Compare different websites

When shopping online, don’t just settle for a mattress from the first website you discover. Gather as much information as possible from different websites to help you become a savvy online shopper.

Delivery and shipping

Many online companies offer free delivery and shipping. However, it helps to establish the full delivery details before ordering, such as:

  • If you’re ordering a one-piece mattress or other large items, will they be delivered to the room of your choice or left at the front door?
  • Do they remove and dispose of the packaging?
  • If you’re buying a bed frame, will it be assembled?
  • What happens if there is a failed delivery, for example, if the mattress won’t fit up the stairs?

For some products, a one person drop to door delivery service will suffice. For example, boxed or rolled up mattresses have become extremely popular. These mattresses are compressed, rolled and packed into neat packaging, making them easier to manoeuvre than a traditional mattress.

Bed disposal

When you buy a new mattress, you also need to consider what you will do with your old mattress if you have one. Some online stores provide a bed disposal service where they can get rid of your old mattress while delivering the new one. But it helps to double-check this before ordering. Otherwise, there are plenty of other ways to dispose of an old mattress.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the bed base

When people buy a mattress online, they often fail to recognise the importance of the bed base they intend to use the mattress with. A common mistake people make is buying a new mattress and placing it on an old worn-out bed base. Not only could this damage the new mattress, but it could also potentially invalidate its guarantee.

It’s generally advisable to buy the mattress and the bed base together. You also need to check the two are compatible. For example, many bedsteads come with slatted bases. The gap between the slats can vary depending on their design. If the slats are too far apart, this could damage the mattress. Each manufacturer should provide recommendations for slat spacing, so it’s important to check this to ensure the mattress and base are suitable for use together.

When is the best time to buy a new mattress online?

Big sales events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are good times to buy a new mattress online. Besides these events, keep an eye out for sales throughout the year. Some online retailers will even offer extra discounts on the sale prices. For further information, see The best time to buy a mattress.

Final thoughts

Shoppers are increasingly comfortable researching and buying mattresses online. Most online bed manufacturers produce products that are safe and as described. However, it is vital to gather as much information as possible about different mattresses and the seller’s reputation to avoid complications in the future.

Many shoppers prefer a hybrid approach when choosing a new mattress, which involves gathering information online before going to a store to test out the mattresses they think are suitable.

If you need more information about buying a new bed and mattress, see our Bed buying guide.

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About the author

Tony Brown is the founder and creator of The Bed Consultant. His career in the bed industry began in 2002. After graduating from university with a degree in Business Administration, Tony joined one of the largest independent furniture retailers in the UK as a bed consultant. Tony has helped thousands of customers find the perfect mattress.

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