Lie before you buy: Casper, the online bed-in-a-box startup selling mattresses by mail order, will soon allow customers to try those beds before having one shipped to their home. That’s on top of the company’s 100-day money-back trial. The New York City startup ships foam mattresses, folded up in a box, directly to customers’ doors, making it popular among urban, millennial and college demographics.
Chain Store Age reported that Casper will be opening 15 pop-up shops across the U.S. in October. These shops will be open in cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago through spring 2018. Customers will be able to try out Casper’s products, including its new ergonomically designed Casper Wave mattress, and buy them on the spot if they so choose. The stores will also feature Casper’s other products such as pillows and sheets.
Until now, Casper has not had a significant physical retail presence, although it did briefly partner with West Elm to sell its products in West Elm’s brick-and-mortar and online stores, as well as through its catalog.
As we reported in May, Casper recently teamed up with Target.com to sell its mattresses, pillows and sheets on the discounter’s website and in more than 1,200 brick-and-mortar stores nationwide. That’s all part of Target’s ongoing plan to introduce more than a dozen exclusive apparel and home brands over the next two years. Casper is the only mattress brand available from the Target website.
However, this more recent move marks the startup’s first major investment in company-owned retail space. It also marks another blow dealt in the battle against traditional mattress companies, which are not used to facing this kind of competition in an industry that hasn’t been shaken up in generations.
Those companies are perhaps right to be worried. Casper’s approach has clearly hit the mark, generating $200 million in sales last year – only its second full year in business, and that was without a brick-and-mortar presence.
The company was valued at $550 in 2015 and has been through additional rounds of funding since then, including a $75-million round led by Target after the companies shook hands in May.