Online Startup Casper to Open 200 Stores
With Mattress Firm mulling a bankruptcy filing in order to get out of leases and shutter stores, online startup Casper is planning to open 200 locations within the next three years across the U.S. Casper opened its first permanent store, in New York, earlier this year. CEO Philip Krim told CNBC at the time that Casper's goal was to learn from the store before growing. The online mattress retailer's growth comes as a wave of e-commerce brands, including Bonobos, Warby Parker and UNTUCKit, bulk up their physical store presences, where it's cheaper to acquire customers, on average, than online. For Casper, stores also provide shoppers the opportunity to touch and feel it products — mattresses and sheets — before they buy.
Total Retail's Take: Casper isn't the only digital-native brand to recently announce an expansion into brick-and-mortar retail. Furniture seller Wayfair announced last week that it would open its first physical store location, a place where shoppers will be able to purchase returned items that are in good condition as well as other discounted goods. The click-to-brick trend is growing, and perhaps there's no greater sign of the value of having a physical store presence than when Amazon.com, the unquestioned e-commerce leader, decided to invest in acquiring Whole Foods — and its 300-plus stores — in addition to opening its own physical bookstores in select cities. Online brands are beginning to recognize that the human interactions inherent to the in-store shopping experience are still valued by consumers. In fact, in today's omnichannel environment, a physical store can be leveraged as a unique differentiator. Casper sees a potential opportunity in the market with Mattress Firm's struggles, and is betting that a network of stores will increase its chances of cashing in on it.