Selecting a mattress ranks as one of the most overwhelming shopping experiences. For many customers, the nightmare only gets worse when you finally get that new bed home and find out after the first night’s sleep that it’s not nearly as comfortable as it seemed in the store.
At least one mattress company, Kingsdown, believes it has a scientific solution that can help: the bedMatch technology system, based partly on research at Duke University. Baer’s Furniture is the only store in South Florida that carries the new system and one of only a handful across the country.
“This isn’t about ‘our mattress is better than somebody else’s,’ ” said Dr. Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute, which came up with the system on behalf of its client Kingsdown. “Right now, there is no industry standard for firm and soft mattresses. It should be just like going to get fitted for a pair of shoes. The same thing should happen for mattresses. We need objective not subjective information.” That’s the idea behind Oexman’s system, which starts at a computer terminal kiosk asking the customer to answer basic questions like gender, age, sleep position, height and whether they wake up in the morning with pain in particular areas of the body.
Then the shopper lies down on a special test mattress where a scanner takes specific body measurements that include height, weight, width of the shoulders and hips, the flexibility of the lumbar curve and more.
By using a total of 18 statistical measurements and more than 1,000 calculations, the computer spits out a recommendation in minutes. With additional details, including weight range and clothing size, the system can take into account the needs of your sleep partner if he or she isn’t present.
Recommendations focus on firmness and support.
Every person is advised on the color of mattress best for him or her; mattresses come in gold, green, blue or red, and can be made with a different color on each side. (This isn’t a mood ring; the colors are simply a code that represents a different level of support and pressure relief, with gold being the least and red the most.) Once a customer finds out his or her recommended color, the list narrows choices of mattresses based on the store’s offerings.
Typically, that list includes both traditional coil-style mattresses and high-technology foam styles.
Recommendations vary in price but offer similar levels of support. At Baer’s, prices on a queen mattress recommended by the system range from $1,099 to $3,499.
“We don’t charge you more for the correct fit,” said Donald Kirisits, the South Florida account manager for Kingsdown. “You know they’re all still the right bed from your body, and you should still get a good night’s sleep.”
While the system is designed by Kingsdown to promote the company’s MySide beds, it can also be customized for a given retailer, so that all of its mattress brands can be included in the recommendations. At Baer’s, only Kingsdown mattresses currently are featured in the system.
Baer’s executives say the system has helped boost average sale prices and simplified the selling system for customers and employees. Baer’s overall mattress prices range from $297 to $5,299.