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How Online Mattress Delivery Became a $400 Million Business

Emilie Arel chief commercial officer of Casper

Digital mattress retailer Casper has a research lab to focus on ergonomics, sleep technology – and help customers love the brand.

How many hours of sleep did you get last night? Now imagine if every night everyone got all of the sleep they needed. Emilie Arel, president and chief commercial officer for online mattress retailer Casper, is calling for us to live in a well-rested world. She leads commercial and brand strategy for the $400 million digital brand, launched in 2014, that has normalized buying a mattress online. In this episode of Leading Through Change, Arel talks about how her company has grown up online, trends in consumer shopping behavior, and what’s ahead for Casper.

Here are a few highlights from the episode:

How has being a digitally-native brand helped you in the last year?

People should be sleeping about eight hours a night, so that means we are asking them to trust us with a third of their lives. When you’re making a decision on a mattress, or a pillow, or sheets, or the light by your bed, we’re asking you to trust that we’ve done the research, the product development, and that we’ve made the technology to help you get the best night of sleep possible. That’s a big deal.

Being a company that was born digital really allowed us to move faster with the rapidly changing environment over the past year. Our strategy to reach customers wherever they choose to shop hasn’t changed. For some, that’s online. And for some, that’s in Casper stores or in our retail partners like Target, Amazon, or Costco. What’s important to me and what’s important to our brand is that, wherever you choose to interact, it’s a consistently joyful experience.

What trends are you seeing in customer shopping behavior?

People are investing more in their homes right now. Along with that, people are leaving the city and moving to the suburbs, and that’s good for us because it means more bedrooms.

People are also being more loyal to brands they know and love during this crisis. We’ve really seen an increase in our product sales outside of mattresses, which means a lot of people are coming back to buy sheets or pillows or weighted blankets or silk pillowcases. I think part of that is, “I only want so many packages coming to my house.” Or, “I want to buy brands I know are going to ship on time or that I know I can get a hold of if I need to.” I think that’s important to people.

What’s in store for Casper in the next six months?

We used to spend almost 70% of our time outside the home, and now we’re spending almost 100% inside. This is causing a lot of stress and anxiety for people, and that affects the way people sleep. I truly believe in the power of sleep, especially after I had two children. We are focused on designing and reshaping the future of sleep with the customer at the center.

We talk a lot about the sleep arc, which we define as when you think about going to bed to falling asleep to waking up in the morning. Our decision to broaden the brand was really informed by data from our Casper Labs research and development. We think about sleep innovation and ergonomics in products like pillows, sheets, weighted blankets, bedside light, and the temperature in the room. We want you to want to go to bed. From our research, we try to understand what the customer wants from us.

Sleep is not just about the mattress or the pillow that you lay your head on. We innovate around the bedroom and the home space while maintaining that connection with the customer. It’s a pretty wild thing to hear people say, “I love a mattress,” or “I love a company that makes mattresses.” This will really continue to be our mission. 

This post is the latest installment of Leading Through Change, our video conversation series with industry and thought leaders who use Salesforce products to transform the way they work.

Karen Solomon Senior Blog Editor

Karen Solomon is the senior editor for the Salesforce Blog, where she brings a wealth of experience as a writer, content strategist, and storyteller. In addition to writing four cookbooks and a travel book, she’s worked for Bank of America, Autodesk, Williams-Sonoma, Donnelly Marketing, and Under Armour. She’s also authored numerous feature stories for national press.

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