About the only thing tougher than shopping for a car might be looking for a new mattress. Between crazy TV commercials and bedding stores on every street corner it can be confusing. And I won’t even start with those pushy salespeople.
To be sure, the mattress industry is booming. According to the website Statistic Brain, about $7 billion of mattresses are sold each year with almost 36 million units shipped. That’s nothing to sleep on which is why the the industry can be cut-throat.
While the majority of mattresses are sold through specialty sleep retailers and furniture stores, the direct-to-consumer channel is growing. It has a unique premise – why spend time going to stores getting confused with various models and brands, worrying how to schlep it home yourself or paying extra for the company to deliver it, when you go online and have it delivered directly to your door. Welcome to the 21st century.
There are several players in this segment many of whom are sub-brands of established mattress companies that are in the traditional retail distribution space. One such company is Ghostbed, a division of Nature’s Sleep. I recently interviewed CEO Marc Werner who created a bed after undergoing three neck surgeries and had trouble sleeping as a result.
“I developed a mattress that would support my back and neck because I couldn’t find one that worked,” he told me.
Werner also realized that the younger crowd buys things online, especially through their smartphones. So he created a direct-to-consumer business (don’t call it “mattress-in-a-box” he said) where a special type of mattress made with memory foam and gel could be put into a box and sent out via FedEx. Ghostbed was born.
Mattresses are priced at $750 for a Queen and $875 for King. Shipping is free. I ordered a King on a Monday and the box was sitting on my doorstep by Wednesday morning.
Not only is the experience of buying a mattress online unique but the process of unboxing it is a phenomenon. Customers make videos of themselves opening the box to show the mattress slowly coming to life. Werner and his staff promote his customers to do this and upload them online. It actually is kind of fun as you can see here:
The mattresses is 11-inches thick and after a few weeks of sleep I have to agree with Werner. The process couldn’t be simpler and it is honestly one of the most comfortable mattresses I have ever owned. I still have a few months left on the company’s 101-night tryout but there is no chance of me returning it.
Ghostbed also sells pillows and box springs to make it a one-stop shop.
According to Statistic Brain the average length of time a person keeps a mattress is 7 years. My previous one lasted just over 3. I’ll be sleeping with a ghost for quite a while now.