Is Allswell with Walmart’s tiny house tour?
Walmart is taking its mattresses on a big tour in a tiny house.
The retailer is taking its “Allswell Tiny Home” moving popup on the road in mid-February, according to CNN. Walmart will be sending the small, staged living space, which is set up inside a branded trailer, from New York to a number of different big cities. The promotion is primarily meant to allow customers to test out the retailer’s Allswell mattress brand, which it launched last year and has thus far been available exclusively online. The company is not ruling out the possibility of a fleet of traveling Allswell popups or even standalone stores spiraling out of the test.
Recent years have seen Walmart build up a catalog of direct-to-consumer brands across numerous verticals. The company has done so both by high-profile acquisitions of Millennial-focused brands like ModCloth and Bonobos as well as through the launch of its own homegrown brands.
And the Allswell brand is not the chain’s only incursion into direct-to-consumer home furnishings. Just this month, the retailer launched an online-only private label furniture brand called Modrn, according to Digiday.
As online-only, direct-to-consumer models of distribution have caught on for products like mattresses and other bulky home furnishings, brands and retailers have found themselves experimenting with different kinds of physical environments to boost brand awareness, allow for on-the-spot product demos and mitigate the high cost of returns.
With the mattresses market in particular, once online-only brand Casper has begun to open physical stores, with plans for 200 locations. The brand has also opened experiential showrooms like The Dreamery in Manhattan, where visitors can pay to take naps on Casper products. While there are no sales directly from the showroom, there is a Casper store next door to The Dreamery.
Even traditional home furnishings brands have been exploring new ways to let potential customers to get a hands-on feel for the merchandise. West Elm and Restoration Hardware (RH), for instance, have opened up chains of hotels that are furnished with their products.
- Walmart’s online mattress brand has a new retail strategy: Tiny homes – CNN
- Need a nap? Casper opened a store for that – RetailWire
- Will opening hotels help West Elm sell more furniture? – RetailWire
- Walmart pushes forward private-label strategy with the launch of an online furniture brand – DigiDay
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of Walmart using its tiny house tour to increase consumer interest in Allswell mattresses? What strategy might Walmart use to bring the mattress line into physical locations going forward?