How online mattress retailers maintain profitability with free trail and returns

How are online latex mattress retailers able to offer up to a 365 day trial period of their mattresses and provide free returns and maintain profitability?

Can returned/used mattresses be resold? Some allow you to donate a mattress you don’t like to charity (and provide the retailer proof) so it can be a write-off, but is there that much of a markup that allows a free trail period and free returns that enables retailers to run a profitable business? Or are returns so low that the cost can be amortized or built into the cost of the mattresses sold?

Thanks

Hello Zutozman,
We’re not aware of any online latex manufacturers that sell all-latex mattresses and have a 365 day, return period along with free returns.

What you will find are plenty of companies that sell mattresses with latex included in the construction in order to “piggyback” their mattress off the great reputation of latex. Most of those companies are not manufacturers but are marketing companies. In several instances, highly advertised mattress companies have openly stated they are “marketing companies selling mattresses.” They find a manufacturer, copy an existing mattress, give it a catchy name, wrap it with a flashy website and sell it at a price that allows for high returns.

But here’s the rub. A majority of the mattresses that have appeared over the last 4 years, have been manufactured in China, and, at a cost far less than what it costs a US manufacturer to make the same product. The double-digit return rates on imported mattresses would put any US manufacturer out of business. So, to answer your question “is there that much of a markup”, yes there is in the case of imported mattresses.

But the landscape is changing with tariffs being imposed on mattresses made in China. In the last year many importers have switched over to US manufacturers and at the same time began marketing mattresses with “some” latex content. These companies still have high return rates built into their price because they are making a “single comfort-fits all” type of mattress. In nearly all cases these companies do not want you to ship the mattress back because it just increases their loss. They will have you donate to a charity, or allow you to dispose of it, and they then take the write off. In some situations, companies contract with liquidators who pick-up the mattress and then, resell, or auction it off.

If your planning to purchase a mattress that has latex, or is made entirely from latex, you have found the best source here on “The Mattress Underground”. In addition to Latex Mattress Factory there are about a dozen other trusted members who carry latex products at great values. They all have my vote of confidence.

Larry: Latex Mattress Factory

To clarify, I meant latex manufacturers that offered UP to a 365 day trial (some are from 100 -120 days) plus offer free returns; companies/mattresses like the Avocado hybrid& Spindle (both offer 365 day trail) , Birch hybrid & Plush Beds (both offer 100 day trial) & Latex for Less (120 day trial). All offer free returns, seem like reputable companies, all mattresses are made in the U.S. and offer some certification of their latex mattresses. I was wondering how these and other “reputable” companies can offer such generous trial and return policies.

It’s built into the cost, that’s all there really is to it.

For example, the spindle $1500 ‘10natural latex mattress’ has 3x3" layers of dunlop in the queen, with a wool/cotton blend enclosure. The average price of a 3" dunlop topper is around $250 depending on firmness, and similar enclosures run around $300 at a variety of websites.

So they are selling a mattress with around a 50% markup over the market value of those things sold separately. Obviously some of that markup covers additional labor/equipment/shipping costs associated with selling a complete mattress, but it also pays for exchanges/returns/warranties/etc.

Latex is such an outstanding product that it doesn’t get many returns. Also, companies with adjustable mattresses can make recommendations for their customers that result in lower returns. Companies that sell adjustable mattresses normally have return rates much lower than average. For example, if someone purchases our DIY layered mattress and finds that it’s too soft or too firm, they can adjust the mattress by rearranging the layers or exchanging a layer. This ensures our customers can get their mattress dialed in and avoid a return. There are several Mattress Underground members whose mattresses have this feature. In short, there are many different factors that affect how a latex mattress company stays profitable. When selecting a latex mattress here are some important points to consider that will allow you to compare & evaluate different companies:

  1. Type of mattress:
    a. All latex top to bottom
    b. Latex and foam hybrid
    c. Latex and coil hybrid - Avocado
  2. How much latex is in the mattress? Mattresses with just one inch of latex should not be called “latex mattresses” and should raise a red flag.
  3. Is the mattress natural and/or organic? Natural & organic materials have higher costs.
  4. Look at the seller.
  5. Look at the manufacturer. If the seller is also the manufacturer (and has been in business for many years) they should be given extra consideration.
  6. What type of cover - stretch knit or woven, cotton & wool or just cotton?
  7. What is the primary fire barrier solution- all natural wool or FR socks?
  8. Adjustable layer design or single comfort design. If a mattress is designed with multiple layers that can be adjusted, this should be given extra consideration because it reduces the amount of returns because it’s not a “one size fits all” mattress. To reiterate, the mattresses that are “one size fits” have a higher rate of return because there’s no such thing as a true “one size fits all” mattress.
  9. Check to see if the mattress has disclaimers that help a potential customer figure out if the mattress is right for them.

Coincidentally, the above points are criteria that the Mattress Underground will often use to evaluate new members.