Casper, the startup that pioneered online mattress delivery, announced plans to open 200 retail stores over the next 3 years, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Casper’s announcement comes just days after reports that the country’s largest mattress-maker, Mattress Firm, hired bankruptcy consultants to explore taking a looong nap.
And, as WSJ points out, Casper joins successful direct-to-consumer e-tailers like Warby Parker that have crossed the digital divide to build their brand with physical stores.
As Mattress Firm fades to memory foam, Casper gets real
Mattress Firm built a sleep empire of 3.6k stores, but volatile consumer demand made it hard for the ’Firm to pay its 3k+ expensive store leases.
Meanwhile, on the cool side of the mattress, Casper (founded in 2014) established a successful online business selling consumers the dream of not wasting time in a mattress store.
From ‘click-and-order’ to brick-and-mortar
After early e-commerce success, Casper started investing its $239.7m of funding on building its brand, through partnerships with physical retailers Target and Nordstrom.
Then, last February, Casper opened a ‘Sleep Shop’ in Manhattan’s trendy SoHo shopping district. The shop was so successful that the NYC location — and Casper’s 17 other ‘pop-up’ shops — will now graduate to full-time stores.
Like other digital-turned-physical stores such as Warby Parker, Allbirds, and Everlane, Casper will use its stores primarily to advertise its brand, not sell its actual products.
Other mattress-meddlers want to catch Casper sleeping
So far in 2018, Casper has increased revenue 50% from last year.
But the success of Casper’s online mattress delivery model inspired plenty of online mattress delivery competition: startups Tuft-and-Needle, Leesa, Purple, Tulo, and Saatva have all thrown their foam into the ring.
Casper hopes that its physical locations will give it an edge over the ever-increasing number of online competitors — and by creating a small corps of trendy showrooms instead of a massive network of large (and expensive) outlets, Casper will try to keep costs down in the process.