When it comes to the bed-in-a-box market, Casper still reigns supreme.

Jeff Chapin, Gabe Flateman, Philip Krim, Neil Parikh, and Luke Sherwin started the online mattress company in 2014. Just one year in, Casper reported $100 million in sales. Last year, that figure doubled. One might predict, then, that the company's holiday marketing plan will be an ambitious one: Slashed prices. Bigger advertisements. Tons of hype.

But, no. For the most part, says Sherwin, Casper's chief creative officer, the plan is to have no plan. While the company offers small discounts throughout the year (holiday season included), those discounts won't change much come November and December.

That's no slight to the final months of the year, which traditionally bring huge boons to retailers across the country. Casper's strategy is about long-term strategy over short-term gain.

Betting on continuity

The average mattress lasts around eight years, according to the National Sleep Foundation--meaning that Casper has yet to complete a full sales cycle.

"It would be different if we had a replacement cycle of two months--like detergent or something--where you can constantly experiment," notes Sherwin. "With Casper, we have to stand firmer for longer."

Sticking to a direct-to-consumer model, which discourages price cuts by nature, is key. "Our value isn't being created by a discount, and our value isn't being created by a product that's going on closeout," Sherwin explains.

That's a pointed jab at traditional brick-and-mortar mattress stores--like industry leader Mattress Firm, for example, which introduces new models and end-of-season sales each year. As for the other bed-in-a-box companies--competitors like Leesa, Tuft & Needle, or Mattress Firm's new "tulo" brand--Casper prefers to plead the fifth. In other words, the company pays no attention to copycats.

Focusing on the brand

The holiday season can also be a time to build brand recognition--even when you're not focusing on sales. In 2015, Casper ran a promotion during the holidays where customers could gift small Amazon codes to friends. In 2016, customers earned small holiday discounts on pillows and sheets. (Sherwin says Casper will probably do something similar this year.)

Last year, the company also launched a pop-up store in New York City's SoHo area, a buzzing borough where city folks and tourists flock to for its shopping experience. The walls were built to cut off the noise of the outside world. Casper will continue that experiment as part of a larger push to increase its brick-and-mortar presence both during and after the holidays.

As for its social media plan, which could easily be termed as the company's bread and butter, Casper is sticking to a smile-and-wink strategy, rather than getting aggressive during the holidays.

There will be (some) holiday jingles

Casper isn't completely stepping away from the end-of-year festivities, but it likely won't be clamoring for Black Friday and Cyber Monday attention.

"You may see tiny moments of recognizing that there might be Christmas trees or whatever, but we're not about the holiday," says Sherwin.

Casper's "no-strategy" strategy during the Winter holidays isn't new. Paula Rosenblum, co-founder and managing partner at analyst firm Retail Systems Research, says the holidays aren't typically popular times for mattress retailers since mattresses aren't particularly common gifts. 

Rosenblum says the mattress industry's big holidays are long weekends like Memorial Day, and a period in late Spring when many furniture stores run blowout sales in preparation for the arrival of new models. But even then, Casper is unlikely to change course. "Casper's trying to do an interesting thing," Rosenblum notes. "I can appreciate that it's ripe for disruption."

Published on: Oct 18, 2017