The Mattress Name Game... Don't Play It!
The Mattress Name Game... Don't Play It!
How to Beat the Mattress Name Confusion
A longstanding tradition in the mattress industry is for manufacturers to sell the same mattress under different model names. The purpose of this confusing practice is to prevent you from comparison shopping between retailers — and in spite of consumer ire, most large mattress retailers continue to use this approach. That said, it can be beaten — and when it is, these "name game" models frequently offer the best value for mattress shoppers.
How does the mattress name game work?
With "name game" product lines, a manufacturer will typically produce 10-20 variations of its models, which will then be sold under thousands of different names across the country. Each model name is exclusive to a given retail chain, and some manufacturers will even provide unique names to retail chains with as few as 1 or 2 stores. In addition, many variations of fabric coverings are used, especially amongst stores that compete in the same geography. Usually, the mattresses are exactly the same on the inside, but making the models look different further extends the illusion of their uniqueness. In some cases, the largest chains are able to negotiate a minor (and meaningless) variation in the padding layer of the mattress in order to further solidify their claim that the price of that mattress can't be compared with versions available at other stores.
As Consumer Reports has pointed out, this industry-wide name game makes it effectively impossible for the average consumer to comparison shop for the best price. As a mattress shopper, you have no way of knowing that the Alison Plush mattress you saw priced at $1,799 at one store is also available for $1,199 as the Heathrow Plush mattress in another store.
How much do prices vary between stores?
At Roanoke Mattress, we track prices at over 50 top retailers, so we have seen first-hand the wild fluctuations in mattress prices. We've observed that prices for a given model vary widely, both across retailers and over time. In other words, most retailers are constantly moving their prices up and down for each model — sometimes by as much as $1,000 at a time! So on any given day, a model's price may vary by that same amount from one retailer to another. Knowing that 67% of consumers say that they do not need to negotiate the price of a mattress before buying, this means that walking into the wrong store on the wrong day could easily cost you hundreds of dollars.
That said, name game models in general tend to produce the same or lower margins for retailers than models with uniform pricing, known as MAP-priced products. This means that while Name Game models are your best chance of overpaying (if you don't do your homework), they are also your best chance of getting a below-market deal (if you do).
Can consumers beat the mattress name game?
With the right information, most consumers can compare the specifications of two mattresses and determine if they are the same. Therefore, the key to beating the name game system is having an efficient way to find comparable models, obtain their detailed product specifications, and compare them side by side.
That said, finding out exactly what’s inside a mattress is often easier said than done, since not all manufacturers provide such specs to retailers, and not all retailers provide them to their customers. Some retailers will disclose the layers of a particular mattress, but not the quantities or the order or these layers. Even when the information is available, there’s often some translating required to effectively compare two mattresses. One retailer may say a mattress has “two inches of memory foam” while another retailer will refer to the same layer as “two inches of UltraSoft visco-elastic foam."
How does Roanoke Mattress help consumers get a fair price?
Once you know what mattress you are interested in, your best bet is to work with a trusted retailer like Roanoke Mattress, where our staff is non-commissioned and dedicated to helping you find the mattress of your dreams at the lowest price!. Our team is trained on competitors "name game beds", and will happily give you information to help you make a more informed buying decision. With this data, you can identify similar models that are available under different names, so that you can be sure you're getting a fair price.