31 May 2017

BUSINESS - Target Invests $75 Million in Online Startup Casper

Target has become the latest large brick and mortar retailer to take major steps to strengthen their ecommerce profile and appeal to young consumers.

The company recently invested an estimated $75 million in online mattress startup Casper, whose “bed-in-a-box” strategy is tailored to millennials.

The deal will have Casper products exclusively in Target stores starting June 18th.

“At Target, we strive to bring guests amazing new products and exciting partnerships,” says Jill Sando, senior vice president, merchandising, home. “We love Casper’s brand and innovative products—and we really love the idea of giving our guests a simple way to get a better night’s sleep, with everything they need in one convenient place.”

A Recode report, citing unnamed sources, stated Target had initially attempted to purchase the company for $1 billion.

The Casper partnership follows deals Target brokered - with Bevel and Harry’s, two subscription-based online brands - that also resulted in exclusive deals to be the only mass retailer to carry their products.

“The cool factor Target had ten years ago is today captured by these niche brands, and Target is hoping to capture some of their luster with these investments and partnerships,” said eMarketer analyst Yory Wurmser.

These steps by Target are in concert with another large retailer, and one of their major competitors, Walmart.

Walmart recently acquired Jet.com followed by ShoeBuy and Moosejaw - all strong online retailers whose acquisitions have resulted in increased sales and revenue for the retail giant.

Brick and mortar retailers are faced with a rapidly growing global trend in mobile and ecommerce, along with a young customer base growing up in an environment dominated by the Internet of Things.

They are responding by purchasing or partnering with businesses that have a large online subscriber base, outstanding online customer service, and/or strong online retail sales, to help maintain a competitive edge.



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