Nursery Times review our client
A mattress is one of the most important purchases any new parent has to make. The well publicised link between mattresses and safe sleeping mean that the majority of new parents will take more of an interest in and time finding the best mattress for their baby and I am no exception.
I started off with a general search for cot mattresses and ended up being so overwhelmed by the amount of seemingly like for like sites offering 40% discounts off cot mattresses but giving very little product information to inform the consumer what they are actually getting for their money!? I then decided to focus on the sites of well known retailers including Boots, John Lewis, Mothercare and Two Left Feet. I also happened across a very informative independent site specialising in cot mattresses that I decided to include. To make this a fair comparison I searched for the same product each time, namely a cot bed mattress. I also went into my local independent retailer looking for the same product as I thought this would make an interesting comparison. The results are as follows:
Product Range: There were two mattresses of this size available both manufactured by Rochingham, the Visivent 2 foam mattress at £37 and the Super Coir and Spring Mattress at £104. The site clearly states that all Rochingham mattresses complied with the relevant safety standards etc. which is obviously very important. However when I looked for more information on these products to try and justify the price difference it was actually the cheaper one that stated that the design reduced the risk of suffocation and there was little information available on the more expensive product, this was quite confusing!
Delivery: When I went to order the cheaper product it was out of stock and on closer inspection so was the more expensive one so the delivery details became irrelevant!
User Friendliness: As you would expect from a multiple retailer of this size the site is well laid out and easy to use, however with such limited product information and low stock levels I would not have felt comfortable buying from them online.
Product Range: There were four mattresses of this size available and it clearly stated that that there were more than ten of each of these in stock - excellent! Again the safety standards were clearly set out. Products ranged in price from £125 - £70 and technical specifications for each were clearly listed. The only comment I would make was the coir spring mattress at £110 had no mention of the benefits of coir and what it actually is. Also this particular mattress is recommended for when an extended mattress life is envisaged, this did lead me to question whether the other products would last?
Delivery: All purchases over a £100 delivery is free of charge within 14 days. For purchases under there is a small charge of £3.95.
User Friendliness: Again the site was well designed and very easy to use, having the items availability clearly visible was extremely helpful and avoided wasted time and effort proceeding to purchase items that were currently out of stock.
Product Range: This site contains an excellent consumer guide to buying the right mattress with lots of technical details about mattress construction, features and benefits. There were 6 products available ranging in price from £134.99 - £34.99 and a really helpful comparison facility that allowed you to choose up to five of these products and the site automatically created a table comparing the products like for like.
Delivery: Delivery is £4.95.
User Friendliness: This site was definitely the easiest to use and managed to present lots of technical information in an easy to understand format. The comparison table was particularly helpful when so many products were on offer.
Product Range: It took time on this site to actually find the mattresses as they were in the nursery interiors and bedding section and not with the cots so I ended up doing a quick search which only pulled up two products both from the Pur Flo range. The cot bed size was £129.99 and included a free cover. This is obviously a very unique construction which was clearly explained on the site
Delivery: When I went to order this item it explained that I needed to pre-order this item and an available date was listed in the product details, although close to inspection this detail wasn't there. I would therefore have to order an item that I have no information as to when it would be delivered, which I would be very unhappy to do.
User Friendliness: The main problem with this site was actually finding the mattress section as it is in a category that I would not associate with mattresses. The quick search facility took me to some products but not all that were available as apparently there are 8 cot bed mattresses on offer.
Product Range: There were excellent choices of cot bed mattresses available in this site, they offered me 13 different types with prices ranging from £20.99 for a 7cm foam mattress to £99.99 for one with coir springs and made from pure new wool. Each product included an excellent description of materials such as coir and why it is beneficial for babies to sleep on. There is also the facility on this site to download a copy the 'Reduce the risk of cot death' leaflet which was extremely informative.
Delivery: A standard charge of £10 applies to all orders or an £11 for a Saturday delivery.
User Friendliness: This site was well designed which made it easy to navigate around and I was particularly impressed with the additional information offered.
Duncans of Tunbridge Wells
Product Range: The shop had a large range of mattresses for cot beds that were available to take away that day. The prices ranged from £52-130.
Delivery: All mattresses could be taken away that day which obviously meant not having to wait in for courier deliveries.
User Friendliness: I visited the shop on a Saturday which can mean you sometimes have inexperienced, younger staff serving. I have to admit that when I was approached by a young gentleman I immediately placed him into this category. I explained that I was looking for a mattress for a cot bed to sleep a new born baby on, but I wasn't sure of the exact dimensions as I had left the details at home. He very reassuringly explained that a majority of cot beds take the same size mattress and knowledgably recommended the Rochingham Coir mattress as coir is made from coconut husks and is therefore completely natural so although it is more expensive (at approximately £100) it is thought to be the safest and most comfortable for a new born. This assistant had really good product knowledge and there is something really reassuring about being recommended a product when you have limited knowledge yourself. I actually ending up making a purchase that day and my baby is now sleeping happily on it.
I think there are definitely products that I would buy happily online, however for something as important as a mattress I definitely felt happier buying from a specialist retailer who could give me some really good advice and make an informed recommendation.