Student’s Undergraduate Research Helps Mattress Industry
High Point University’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Works helped the Specialty Sleep Association find out how well customers pay attention to mattress support systems by surveying retail sales associates.
Two years ago, the Specialty Sleep Association contacted HPU’s Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Works to collaborate on a project titled, “What’s Under Your Mattress,” which is a sales associate’s view of consumer understanding. HPU’s Sara Seaford, who was a freshman at the time and is now a sophomore, was in charge of the project.
“It was very exciting to be able to work on a project with the director of undergraduate research as a freshman,” says Seaford, a psychology major from Mocksville. “I know participating in undergraduate research is a very specific trait to HPU.”
Seaford’s research found 79 percent of the sales associates surveyed believed customers know very little about mattress support systems. Fifty percent of retailers said customers do not care. Seaford also found 82 percent of the sales associates said customers are unlikely to link the foundational support of their mattress to its performance. Her research concludes there is a strong need to educate customers about the role mattress foundations play in sleep quality. Foundations and frames need to be at the forefront of the conversation and tied to mattress quality.
“The SSA is committed to industry advancement through networking and education, which is why we approached HPU,” says Tambra Jones, executive director for the Specialty Sleep Association.
“We were thrilled to partner with HPU because it has strong business, and in particular, home furnishings academics,” says Dale Read, spokesperson for the Specialty Sleep Association. “The hands-on research HPU completed for us will help leaders in the mattress and bedding industry educate their customers.”
The Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Works encourages and supports the establishment of collaborative partnerships between faculty mentors and enterprising students. The overall goal of the URCW program is to provide students with inquiry based or creative opportunities for experiences that many students would receive only in graduate school or the professional world.
“Getting Sara involved in this project gave her a chance to experience the research process as a freshman and have an opportunity to present that research as a sophomore at this year’s State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium,” says Dr. Joanne Altman, HPU’s director of the URCW. “These accomplishments help build confidence and skills as she strives to embrace more rigorous projects as she gets more training in her major.”
Text courtesy of Dr. Joanne Altman, Director of Undergraduate Research and Creative Works Professor of Psychology
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