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.
In addition, Target will also sell other Casper accoutrements — pillows, sheets, a mattress topper and a lounger, the latter two of which will be exclusives to Target — in about 1,200 of its 1,800 stores. Some stores will have Casper-dedicated end-cap displays, others will just carry the products.
Mattresses will be displayed at 35 Target stores, though customers will still need to order through Target.com.
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.
Target has sold mattresses online for awhile, including brands such as Sleep Comfort, Serta and Sealy. But as part of this deal, Casper will become the only mattress brand available online through Target.com, said Amy Koch, a Target spokeswoman.
The exclusive branding does not include items such as futons and crib mattresses.
The 35 stores that will get Casper mattress displays are located near college campuses, a key market for the retailer, especially with many of its newer smaller-store formats.
“With back-to-college season coming up, the hope is to see how it goes,” Koch said. “Then we will decide if it goes to additional stores. … For us, this was something where we didn’t have a presence in the store, so it was a bit of a white space for us.”
Last year, Casper brokered a deal with West Elm to display its mattresses in the furniture stores. Casper mattresses also are available for sale through it own website and through Amazon.com.
Mattresses were long considered internet-proof until a few years ago when a number of upstart brands began challenging the industry norm of showrooms that offer a dizzying array of models with confusing pricing and discounts. These newer companies offer just a couple of versions at fixed prices and directly ship the foam mattresses compressed into boxes that were manageable.
Realizing that many customers still want to lie in a bed before buying it, a businessman has opened a showroom in Edina called Sleep Sherpa, where customers can try out a number of mattresses only sold online. Casper mattresses are not included in his shop, though.
Casper, a three-year-old company, says it has seen more customers asking to experience the brand in person.
“Partnering with Target allows us to bring Casper products directly to consumers in-store on a national scale,” Philip Krim, CEO and co-founder of Casper, said in a statement.
Casper products will be available for sale at Target starting on June 18. Prices range from $550 for a twin to $1,150 for a king-size mattress.
Kavita Kumar • 612-673-4113