Mattresses, tights and coffee scrubs: the rise of single-product selling


The new generation of consumer wants two things: to know exactly what they’re buying into, and simplicity. But discernment and convenience don’t naturally co-exist; the first usually requires extensive research, reading contrived copy and deciphering long, impenetrable ingredient lists. The second requires a ‘less is more’ approach – less jargon, less choice, less admin.

But we’re now seeing a slew of brands making it very easy for consumers to have both. Casper, Heist and Frank Body (pictured above) all launched with one product and all three have been topping the ‘must buy’ lists of 2017. We could call them the mattress people (Casper sells just one type of memory foam mattress, in different sizes), the tights people (Heist claims to sell the ‘perfect’ pair of tights), and the coffee scrub people (Frank Body was made famous by its original scrub product).

Each of these products is exceptionally well-made, co-created with real users, delivered straight to the door, with no distinction between their functional benefit and their brand purpose. They all reflect a wider trend for the disruption of mundane products by selling direct to consumers and keeping the offer simple.

Casper is just the latest in a wave of mattress sellers revolutionising this previously traditional market. The first was Eve Sleep, a London start-up that launched in 2015 with the promise of a better morning and the safety net of a 100-day trial. Simba, another UK offering, launched soon afterwards, followed by San Francisco-based Casper. Casper claims to be one of the fastestgrowing consumer brands ever, hitting $100m in revenue during its first calendar year.

Importantly, the success of Casper, Heist and Frank Body doesn’t rely on the innovation alone, but the thoughtful way it’s delivered; from the communications to the customer service, the user is at the centre. This strategy challenges the traditional relationship between brand and consumer. No longer is the brand a fraudster, simultaneously seducing and confusing us with words and multiple indistinguishable options. The brand has become our accomplice, even our aide.

They do all the research for you – the Casper R&D team in San Francisco developed the product with nearly ‘half a million sleepers’; Heist went through 197 samples before settling on its final design. They cut the crap – their copy is straightforward and jargon-free. Frank is called Frank for a reason – its products are all natural and cruelty-free. Casper and Heist deliver next day, Casper even do same-day delivery in some cities.

They also take full responsibility for their products – Heist’s #firstpairpromise means you can get a full refund within 28 days and Casper, like Eve Sleep, offers a 100-day return policy. The company also donates unwanted mattresses to charity.

It’s as if these brands have pressed ‘reset’ on their respective categories; they’ve applied the same level of innovative thinking to their product development as they have to their marketing and operations. And by performing their function really well, the emotional benefit for the customer is inherent.

Stephanie Bell, Flamingo