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SHOPPING IN THE DARK: The Benefits of a More Transparent Mattress Industry



TLDR;

•The language used to sell mattresses is often confusing and misleading, making it difficult for consumers to compare products and make informed purchasing decisions.

• We believe that more transparency in the industry would benefit both consumers and businesses. Our goal is to provide clear, concise, and unbiased information about a pathway toward transparency so that shoppers can make the best decision for their needs and businesses can thrive!

• In order to accomplish this, we would need to explain mattress terms in plain language, create a comprehensive database of mattress specifications and install systems for activating and validating the language is being used at the consumer level.


SHOPPING IN THE DARK; THE BENEFITS OF A MORE TRANSPARENT MATTRESS INDUSTRY

The language used to sell mattresses is often confusing and misleading. This can make it difficult for consumers to compare products and make informed purchasing decisions. We believe that more transparency in the industry would benefit both consumers and businesses. Our goal is to provide clear, concise, and unbiased information about a pathway toward transparency so that shoppers can make the best decision for their needs and bedding businesses can thrive!

In order to accomplish this, we would need to explain mattress terms in plain language, create a comprehensive database of mattress specifications, and provide a roadmap for how businesses can adopt a "No Junk Speak Policy".

The Agenda:

1. What is Junk Speak?

2. The History of Junk Speak

3. How Junk Speak Affects Consumers

4. The Benefits of a More Transparent Mattress Industry

5. How adopting a standard financially benefits your company

6. How to get started


What is Junk Speak?

Junk speak refers to the use of confusing or misleading language in order to sell a product. This practice is common in many industries, but it is particularly prevalent in the mattress industry. Mattress companies often use jargon and buzzwords to make their products sound more appealing than they actually are. As a result, consumers may end up purchasing a mattress that is not well-suited to their needs.

Junk Speak can be difficult to spot, but there are a few key things to look out for. If the claim seems too good to be true, it's likely Junk Speak. If a mattress is advertised as being able to provide “perfect sleep” or “ultimate comfort", be aware that these claims have no basis in reality.


Junk Speak can also relate to claims that are vague or difficult to understand. If a mattress company uses terms like “orthopedic support” or “pressure relief,” they may be using junk speak to make their product sound more medically beneficial than it actually is. We've written an article about Junk Speak and you can find that here.


The History of Junk Speak

Junk speak has been used in the mattress industry for many years. In the early days of the industry, mattresses were made from natural materials like cotton and wool. These mattresses were often uncomfortable and did not provide the same level of support as today’s mattresses.

As the years went on and mattress technology improved, new materials like polyester and memory foams were introduced. These materials provided a more comfortable sleep surface and better support for the body. However, they also created a new problem: how to sell these new products to consumers.


To overcome this challenge, mattress companies began using Junk Speak to make their products sound more appealing. They would use terms like “orthopedic support” and “pressure relief” to make their mattresses sound more medically beneficial than they actually were. Additionally, they would use buzzwords like “high density, visco-elastic memory foam” and “gel-infused” to make their products sound more luxurious and high-end.


As a result of this marketing strategy, junk speak has become commonplace in the mattress industry. It is used by both small and large companies alike, and it has led to a mattress-buying process that feels convoluted and stressful for the end consumer.


How Junk Speak Affects Consumers

Junk speak can be confusing and frustrating for consumers. This can make it difficult to compare products and make informed purchasing decisions. Additionally, Junk Speak often leads to unrealistic expectations about what a mattress can actually do. As a result, consumers may end up being disappointed with their purchase, returning the bed, leaving bad reviews, etc.


Junk Speak can also make it difficult for people to get a good night's sleep. This is because many mattresses advertised with conflated claims regarding its effectiveness may not meet the comfort and support needs of the customer. In fact, some of these features may even make sleeping more difficult, like how high-density, pressure-relieving foam may sleep hotter if laying on it directly for example.


The Benefits of a More Transparent Mattress Industry

A more transparent mattress industry would be beneficial for both consumers and manufacturers. For consumers, it would make it easier to compare products and make informed purchasing decisions. Additionally, it would help to ensure that people are getting the best possible product for their needs and thus increase consumer satisfaction and lower returns which often end up as recycled mattresses or in the dump.


For manufacturers, a more transparent industry would help to level the playing field and allow smaller companies to compete more effectively. Additionally, it would discourage the use of Junk Speak and other marketing strategies that are intended to mislead consumers which would ultimately lead to a better reputation for the industry as a whole.


How adopting a standard financially benefits your company

There are numerous benefits for companies who adopt common-language standards, including increased sales, lower costs, and improved efficiency.


Consumers are increasingly interested in buying from companies that have adopted standards. A study by the American National Standards Institute found that 68 percent of consumers would be more likely to buy from a company that adopted a consistent, consumer language standard, while only 8 percent would be less likely.


Additionally, companies who adopt standards often see increased sales. This is because customers are more likely to trust and have confidence in companies that have adopted standards. In fact, a study by the International Organization for Standardization found that companies who adopt ISO 9001 standards see an average increase in sales of 20 percent (here).


There are also numerous cost benefits for companies who adopt standards. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that it can help to reduce the number of customer returns and complaints. This is because standards help to ensure that products meet customer expectations. Additionally, it can help to reduce the amount of waste produced during manufacturing, as well as the amount of energy and resources used.


Finally, standards can help to improve manufacturing efficiency. This is because they provide a clear and consistent set of guidelines that companies can follow. As a result, companies are less likely to make mistakes during the manufacturing process, and they can often streamline their processes to become more efficient.


Steps for Adopting Transparent Consumer Language

There are a few steps that mattress companies can take in order to adopt a standard language for mattress properties.


  1. Fact Finding: First, mattress retailers should develop a list of essential mattress properties that consumers care about. This list might include things like firmness, support, and comfort. During this stage, mattress retailers can work collaboratively with mattress manufacturers to get precise on specifics of componentry and features/benefits.

  2. Standard-setting: Organizations should establish clear and consistent definitions for each of these properties. These definitions should be based on objective criteria that can be measured and verified. Once those definitions and criteria are established, each mattress should be evaluated for how it meets those standards. What is the requirement to label something as "High Density Memory Foam" versus "Ultra High Density Memory Foam" for example.

  3. Installation: Finally, mattress companies should install systems that ensure all of these terms are clearly translated to marketing and advertising materials and sales professionals are properly educated. This will help to ensure that consumers know exactly what they're getting when they purchase a mattress from the company. This should be audited on a regular basis.

CONCLUSION

A more transparent mattress industry would help to address the problem of Junk Speak. If manufacturers and retailers held themselves more accountable for using clear and concise language in their marketing materials, it would help to ensure that people are getting accurate information about the products they are interested in and drive consumers to buy spend more, more often.


The bottom line is that a more transparent mattress industry would be better for everyone involved. Consumers would purchase the best possible product for their needs and may one day look forward to the process of bed-buying...one that currently very few enjoy.


The mattress industry has a long way to go in terms of transparency, but there are some companies that are leading the way. These companies are committed to providing accurate and truthful information about their products. Additionally, they are often more upfront about the materials and construction of their mattresses. As a result, these companies are helping to set a new standard for the industry and paving the way for a more transparent future.


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