The Undergraduate Research and Creative Works Department at High Point University recently collaborated with the Specialty Sleep Association (SSA) to conduct an online survey of mattress retail sales associates (RSAs). The online survey assessed the retailers’ impressions of consumer knowledge and interest in foundations and bed support systems. Based on over 100 RSA or retail buyer responses, the research findings were recently released and revealed some interesting insights.
According to the survey results, seventy-nine per cent of the sales associates believe that customers know very little about mattress support systems, and 50% of the retailers said that customers simply do not care. In summary, the research shows that, “Eighty-two percent of the sales associates rated customers as unlikely to link the foundational support of their mattress to its performance.” Also, according to the findings, 90% of the mattress RSAs claim to bring up the mattress support issue, but only 65% said they are bring up the topic during the mattress sales presentation.
The High Point University research offers the following analysis: “There is a strong need to educate customers about the role mattress foundations play in sleep quality. Foundations (and frames) need to be at the forefront of the conversation and tied to mattress quality.” The Specialty Sleep Association says that these key findings could have a significant impact on mattress sales
The mattress/ bedding RSA survey did identify key findings that could have a major impact on the mattress retail marketplace, according to Tambra Jones, Executive Director of the SSA. “The RSA’s inform us that 40% of customers will be using their old foundation and support which could impact sleep quality.” With 40% of consumers placing a new mattress on an old foundation and frame, there seems to be no understanding of the key role the base support plays with overall mattress support and comfort. This also indicates a lack of awareness of bed bugs, dust mites or physical wear and tear with old foundations and bed supports. Jones also noted that while there is a chance to increase sales and margins with adjustable beds, the RSA’s said that only 38% of conversations with customers focused on adjustable frames versus stationary or traditional bed support systems.
Finally, 4% of mattresses sold were returned because of a foundation or bed support failure. Based on 2017 ISPA statistical reports, 23.4 million mattresses were sold in 2017 with an Average Unit Selling Price (AUSP) of $311 per unit. If 4% of mattresses sold were returned for issues relating to bed support failure, this represents nearly 939,000 units at $311 per unit. This would total $292 million in bed support related returns. While 4% doesn’t seem like the most significant statistic, it could be said that if bed support issues were adequately addressed during the sale of a mattress, retailers could reduce returns worth millions of dollars.
According to SSA Board Member Dennis Rodgers of Forever Foundations, the SSA believes that bed support systems and correct foundation systems may be under marketed. “This research and conclusion would indicate an important opportunity to enhance customer satisfaction, improve quality performance, significantly reduce mattress returns and provide better sleep for consumers,” states Rodgers. “Imagine if you will; a couple purchase a new car. A number of years later they decided to purchase another car. The ride is not comfortable to them. To save money they decided to use the tires from the old car. They worked just fine! Within a few days, the couple return the car. The ride wasn’t like the ride when they took the test drive. It was very much like their old car, which was the reason they purchased the new car.”
Rodgers further comments a proactive foundation and bed support sales program could add significant attachment business to mattress sales. “Just as the top-of-bed accessories add-on marketplace has taken off, we think there is a great opportunity for “Under-the-Bed” support frame and foundation products to enhance overall sale of mattress and bedding products.”