The bed buying market is changing globally. Technology and innovation in the design and development of beds and the way they are being sold are impacting the market. In South Africa, we are seeing a change in the way people engage with bed shops and how technology is changing buyer behaviour.
This change in buyer behaviour has resulted in many bed stores having to adapt and change how they attract, interact and sell beds, in order to remain relevant to their customer base. Let us take a look at what the best bed shops are doing to continue to grow in this ever-evolving industry.
Are bed shops still necessary today?
The short answer to this question is yes. There is still value in having bed shops that showcase the variety of mattresses available, where consumers can go to ask questions and find out more information about the different beds on the market. These days bed shops are having to up their game by moving with the times and embracing what many call “The Internet of Things”.
Baby Boomers, Millennials and Gen X’ers alike, are changing their shopping habits, and physically going in-store is no longer the starting point for many. Instead, people go online to research the different beds and mattresses on offer. While researching these options you would look for information such as which type of bed would suit your needs, new technology and innovation in the bed sector, health benefits, pros and cons, sizing, cost as well as the reviews left by other consumers.
From this point onwards, many people choose different routes for the purchasing process. You may choose to purchase a bed online from the bed shop because you are short of time, enjoy the convenience or urgently need a new bed. You may also decide that you want to go to the store to compare options, ask more in-depth questions, and gather more information in order to make an informed decision.
An important question to ask yourself when choosing to buy a bed either online or in-store is “what should you look out for?”
The qualities of a good bed shop
The value of a good bed shop lies in being able to compare one mattress to another and compare brand to brand in one place. This gives you an idea of the options available, their price points, and what technology they make use of. Make sure to check the following when choosing to visit a bed shop online or instore:
That they stock renowned brands
It is important to take a look at what brands the shop stocks. If the store stocks several renowned brands you can rest assured about their quality. These brands have done their research on the shop to ensure that the levels of service and quality are what they should be.
That they have a variety of options
Variety is very important as you want to see all that is available on the market in terms of mattress sizes, brands, pricing, innovation and technology.
That they have a comfort selection
Another aspect is if they have a varied comfort mattress selection, that differs in firmness, to speak to the needs of different customers and what they are looking for. Not everyone finds a firm mattress comfortable, the same is true for softer mattresses, so the shop should have options that cater to different tastes.
That their employees are knowledgeable
It is vitally important these days to have employees that are knowledgeable. Having an employee who knows the brands, understands your needs, can answer your questions, and is able to provide professional advice makes all the difference.
That offers an array of accessories
Between balancing family and work life, time is in short supply and a store that provides you with all the necessary bed and sleep-related accessories is a plus. No need to visit three different stores when you can get it all in one place.
So, when choosing a bed shop to buy from, do your research and look at what they have to offer. At the same time, have a look at any added value that they might be offering that may impact your buying experience.
Added-value offerings to look out for when choosing a bed shop
Many bed shops are looking at more ways to connect and engage with buyers and have put in place fantastic value-added offerings that make finding information and purchasing a bed that much easier. These value-added offerings include:
Personalised customer service
With customers having access to many different ways to shop personalisation of customer service for many stores can be incredibly difficult. Bed Shops need to ensure that their customer service, both instore and online, is as efficient, personal, and as effective as possible. Online, this could take on different forms, for example having a consultant available online in real-time to answer any questions directly or, to suggest another option if an item is out of stock, having a detailed set of FAQ’s and ensuring that those who are answering enquiries or calls are able to provide insightful and helpful information. The same is true for in-store customer service, in that being greeted with a smile, talking to a knowledgeable consultant who can assist you with any question you need to be answered and a team who ensures that the process from purchase to delivery is managed efficiently, makes all the difference.
Online and Offline integration
What makes shopping online and shopping in-store that much easier? The answer is a seamless transition from shopping online to shopping instore. A few elements that impact this transition include having the products featured on the website in the store, having the same look and feel online and instore, having special offers for both and not just online, and allowing those who purchase online to make returns to a store or to pick up from a store. All these elements impact the buying experience.
Mobile apps have become an important sales tool for many businesses globally. Not only are mobile apps easily accessible and simple to download, but they often provide you with more information, are a great way to find out about promotions, offers and sales and allow you to connect and engage with the store.
Loyalty programs have become increasingly popular over the past few years. When deciding to take part in a loyalty program look at what is on offer, if there is an opportunity to participate in selected promotions, if the value of the reward is something that would benefit you and what the pros would be for joining a rewards program.
Having discussed several elements related to choosing a bed shop and what value-added offerings to look out for when purchasing a bed, we now look at the most important aspect of buying a bed from a shop, both online or in-store. It is vitally important to consider any restrictions or requirements that you may need from the bed.
Restrictions or Requirements that need to be considered when buying a bed
There are several different restrictions and requirements that need to be considered when buying a bed. Without considering and examining these elements you may end up choosing the wrong type of bed, leading to many sleepless nights. These considerations include:
The size of the room
The size of a room impacts the size of the bed needed. It is important to measure the room and compare these measurements to the measurements of the bed. It would not make sense to get a king-size bed for a bedroom that is only able to fit a double bed. Not only will you have a problem with opening your cupboards, but the likelihood would be that you would open your door and step directly onto the bed, which is not ideal.
The age of the person who will be sleeping in the bed
At different ages we have different requirements for our bed and mattress. The needs of a child are infinitely different from that of an older person. For example, a memory foam mattress may be perfect for a 5-year-old, but for an elderly person this will not be the case as the memory foam may make it more difficult for them to get out of bed, but if the mattress were made using latex this problem would be lessened.
If there are any special needs that need to be considered
You must take into account any special needs that the person sleeping on the bed has. These needs could include difficulty with allergies, backache, or osteoporosis. All of these elements impact the choice of bed.
The impact of body shape and weight
Body shape and weight impact the way you sleep and the kind of bed that you need. Heavier set people need to look at a mattress that will provide support for their weight while people who are more petite can often get away with sleeping on a softer bed with less support.
Couples vs individual needs
When buying a bed for a couple it is important to realise that each person in the partnership has different needs, so finding a bed solution to match both sets of needs is important.
There are so many considerations that need to be made when buying a bed to ensure that it is right for you. This is not a small purchase and is an investment in your sleep and ultimately your health, so you need to make sure you are choosing the right one. Other elements like warranty, delivery, and maintenance of the bed may also influence your purchasing decision so make sure that you ask the right questions when looking at bed options. These questions include:
What is the guarantee or warranty and how does it work?
Many bed brands and bed shops offer a guarantee or warranty on their mattresses, which will not only give you peace of mind but give you an indication of the quality and longevity of the bed. It is important when discussing the warranty to check if there are any conditions that you need to make note of to ensure that the guarantee remains valid over time.
Is there a return policy?
Choosing a bed is a process, and one that you might not get right the first time around, which is why it is important to ask about the store’s returns policy and if there are any restrictions that you should know about. Many mattress brands now offer a trial period which will enable you to try out the bed for a period of time to see if it suits your needs. It is important to ask if this is an option that you can take advantage of.
Is your delivery free?
We often assume that delivery is free nowadays especially when making a large purchase like a bed, but in many cases, delivery is not free, which is why you need to ask the question.
Do I need to turn the mattress?
Mattress care is essential to the longevity of the bed which is why it is important to ask if it is necessary to frequently turn the mattress. Many of the newer mattresses have been designed using innovative technology that ensures that you do not need to turn your mattress, but this is still an important question to ask.
Having now considered all the elements necessary to choose the right bed for you and have asked the right questions, all you need to do now is to purchase the bed either online or instore.
Buying a bed online vs instore – the benefits and challenges
Buying online versus buying instore is really a matter of personal preference. Some people are comfortable enough with their research to purchase at the click of a button while others want to touch, feel, and experience the bed in person. Each of these buying experiences come with their own set of benefits and challenges. These include:
|Prices||Online stores offer better pricing because they do not have to pay for the storage of mattresses in a shop. This cuts down on costs allowing for better pricing on products.||Mattresses and beds purchased in store are generally more expensive because the shop will need to put mark-ups on the cost to pay for storage space.|
|Assistance||When buying a bed online you rely largely on your own research.||Instore, you can ask knowledgeable staff members for advice, but keep in mind that they work on commission so their advice may be skewed.|
|Testing out beds||When buying beds online most bed brands allow for a trial period to ensure that you are happy with your purchase and that the bed fits your needs. For example, Genie Beds offers a 100-night trial when purchasing any of the beds.||While in-store, you are able to experience and try out the mattress in person.|
|Convenience||Buying a mattress online is a quick and convenient process where everything is done at the click of a button.||Selecting a bed instore is often more complicated, you are provided with a lot of information from the support staff and the process becomes longer.|
|Guarantees||Guarantees remain the same whether you buy online or instore.||Guarantees remain the same whether you buy online or instore.|
|Returns||Online returns are usually easier to do and do not require any additional costs.||If you are wanting to return something in store there are often additional costs involved.|
|Best deals||You are likely to receive the best deal online.||Stores need to make up for storage costs and costs associated with running a store that impacts pricing and deals.|
|Delivery||Delivery is usually free with online purchases||In-store you can expect a minimum cost of R350+ for delivers|
|Customer support||Customer support is efficient and available in real-time, often while on the website.||Customer service can be slow and usually is only effective when you call.|
Choosing to buy your bed either online or instore is a personal preference and you should choose the one that makes you feel the most comfortable. To make this process a bit easier we have created a list of the top three bed shops in South Africa.
Our top 3 bed shops in South Africa
Choosing to buy your bed either online or in-store is a personal preference and you should choose the one that makes you feel the most comfortable. To make this process a bit easier we have created a list of the top three bed shops in South Africa.
1: Mattress Warehouse
- The Mattress Warehouse is both a manufacturer and supplier of beds.
- This bed shop has more than 10 years’ experience in the bed industry with many happy customers.
- Their two main goals are to assist South Africans to find and buy the best bed according to their sleeping style and budget while providing them with a fun and engaging experience.
- They really understand that one size does not fit all and stock a wide variety of beds. Their range of beds includes 14 brands (including Genie Beds) and 12-bed sizes to choose from.
- With seasonal deals offering you a good price and stores in the larger cities throughout South Africa, they are worth a visit.
- Hirsh’s is a family run business which offers all types of household goods. Started in the late 1970’s, they are stable and known for excellence.
- This store has an inspirational rags to riches success story. Allan Hirsch who was at the time, a handyman and his wife Margaret, used a mere R900 to get their business off the ground.
- Today they have stores in Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal, and Western Cape.
- What we especially like about Hirsch’s, is their intimate feel. Anyone who walks into a Hirsch’s store is treated like family.
- They are known for their customer services and have taken measures to ensure that customer service, both instore and online, is efficient and effective. This is evident from their website which offers a chat service to make it easy for their customers to get in touch with them, or for visitors to make enquiries.
- Essops is a family business that was established in 1991.
- It has grown in leaps and bounds and has branches in Johannesburg, Krugersdorp, Pretoria, the Vaal, and Durban areas.
- Focused on design and style, they stock high-quality beds and accessories.
- True to their South African heritage they shop locally as well as through direct imports.
They are also a proud stockist of Genie Beds.
Let’s put this to bed
See what we did there? In all seriousness buying a bed is an important and costly purchase that will stick with you for 8 to 10 years. With this being said, no matter which way you choose to shop, either online or in-store, you need to ask the right questions and do the research to ensure that you are choosing the right bed for you. Luckily you can shop our Genie Beds range at any of the above stores or online via our website, www.geniebeds.co.za. We are here to support you through your buying experience and have a range that caters to your unique sleep needs. The Genie Bed range includes the Genie Original, Essence, and Elemental beds which each have different firmness levels. Each of our beds are hypo-allergenic, promote better circulation, allow for optimal spinal alignment and have no motion transfer allowing you to have hours of uninterrupted sleep. Buy the better bed and invest in a great night’s sleep.