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Online mattress brand Casper poised to get physical

Casper, the New York based online mattress-in-a-box start-up, set to be the latest in a long line of e-tailers to move from “clicks” to “bricks” in a bid to cater to consumers’ omnichannel shopping habits.

The reported move to physical retail follows an experimental series of pop-up shops recently debuted by the two-year-old startup that’s backed by the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Adam Levine, and Ashton Kutcher. The brick-and-mortar move became public when Casper — known for delivering mattresses compactly folded into a box — posted help wanted ads on its website.

It’s all in the classifieds
The New York Post first noticed the online mattress start-up advertising on its website for a director of retail to “build, launch our retail store fleet,” a director of wholesale, and a hospitality partnership manager, among two dozen other positions around the world, according to the initial report. Casper appears to have since removed that post. However, in another website job post for a showroom associate at its New York pop-up store, Casper noted that it’s showroom “is experiential and we are looking for a team eager to be a part our exciting retail endeavours. This space (and you!) will help carve the path for Casper’s offline footprint.”

Pop-up test
Indeed, Casper won’t be entering the physical retail space blindly. The online bed-in-a-box start-up has tested the brick-and-mortar strategy with a series of six pop-up stores in Los Angeles, London and, most recently, New York City, where a temporary store opened in SoHo last Friday. Earlier this year, the company also inked a deal with Williams-Sonoma’s West Elm, bringing the mattress to the retail chain, now with 98 showrooms, as well as through West Elm’s website and catalog.

A tested clicks to brick strategy
Casper’s apparent move from clicks to bricks has become an increasingly popular route for digital-first startups — online-only to start before opening their own brick-and-mortar stores. Other brands like Warby Parker, Bonobos, Birchbox and even Amazon.com have made the transition from e-commerce to physical retail.

The omnichannel shopping habits of today’s consumers armed with various mobile form factors necessitates the need to engage via multiple touchpoints including physical store front; especially for brands that sell a product line that lends itself to being touched and felt before being purchased — like mattresses.

“I think what is really interesting to us is that when we’re held accountable to ROI objectives, we’re actually thinking about the role that every channel plays,” said Emma Solokoff, strategic partnership manager at Casper. “The numbers don’t really tell a complete story, because one channel would be nothing without the other.”

Tags: omnichannel, Physical stores

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