retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Star Tribune reports that Target "is getting into bed with another online-only brand that has been disrupting another part of the retail industry. The Minneapolis-based retailer will begin selling Casper mattresses next month on its website. Casper is one of the top selling of a number of bed-in-a-box start-ups that have popped up in recent years."

Casper products will be available in 1,200 of Target's 1,800 US stores, with mattresses actually on display in 35 locations.

According to the story, "The partnership is similar to Target’s exclusive retail partnerships with Harry’s and Bevel, two direct-to-consumer men’s razors companies that started off online with subscription models. While they initially bypassed stores, they looked to Target to help expand their reach and scale."
KC's View:
We had a piece almost a year ago about the whole mattress-in-a-box business, after MNB reader Bryan Silbermann told me about his positive experience with a company called Tuft & Needle. (You can read it here.) The story notes that while the mattress business used to be considered internet-proof, that's changed in recent years, with companies like Casper and Tuft & Needle coming at it with new business models and innovative products.

I've been pretty tough on Target recently, but I think that if the company wants to build a strategy around being the bricks-and-mortar location for brands that otherwise only are on the internet, that might not be the dumbest way to go. It might mean burning some bridges with some traditional brands, but the trade-off might be worth it if the approach means it can carve out some sort of differential niche for itself.


After all, if you're gonna go to the mattresses...