When does "sale" price become regular price?

I’ve been shopping for a mattress for a while now and it seems that online mattress companies, like brick-and-mortar stores are constantly having sales. Why is the mattress industry like this? When does the “sale” price become the regular price? Seems like this would be bad for business always being in promotional mode.

Hi jsj5g,

Yours is a good question, not only in this industry, but across many others. I’ll relate a story that might help explain it.

A friend of mine has a wife who is in charge of the print campaign for one of the country’s largest furniture retailers. Millions of dollars a year. This store advertises 50% off each and every week. He asked her one day, “Everyone knows that these discounts are fake. Why do you guys keep advertising them?” Her reply, “Because they work.”

And there’s the rub.

But there is a differentiation I’d make in the types of offers you typically find in mattress industry.

There are the smaller discounts that you’ll find at some of the smaller and more honest brick and mortar retail stores, and many online businesses, where they might offer a bed frame, 5%-10% off, pillows, sheets, or combinations thereof. Sometimes it is on a rotating schedule. These are moderate discounts and in advertising-speak create a sense of urgency and a reason to buy, as a consumer wants to feel they are getting a deal. These discounts are off of true everyday selling prices.

Then there is the other type of advertising, which admittedly is more often found in brick and mortar stores, and some of the largest, where they offer 50% off and more. There was one in my area last week, that when you totaled everything up, was 85% off plus free sales tax! These “discounts’ are of course off of fictional prices for which these products have never been sold.

You can read book after book about how a consumer perceives the “value” of a “deal”, and amazingly how they fall time and time again for some of these larger fictional savings. There’s a reason why marketing companies are paid what they are.

In the end, look at the final price you’re paying, and if there are smaller bonuses or accessories being offered, pick the one that is the most attractive to you. I’d personally tend to avoid businesses advertising the larger discounts.