Unlikely Businesses Go Online-Only

businessman hand touch virtual graph,chart, diagram

It is no surprise that businesses large and small have taken to the web in droves in recent years. Merchants have opened up ‘e-shop’ by building their own site or piggybacking off of an established entity like eBay, Amazon and Etsy. Either way, it’s less overhead and provides 24/7 sales and service to the customer.

Moreover, brick and mortar businesses that would seem like an unlikely fit are also going online-only.

For example, a new startup is betting on mattresses. The web has largely belonged to small items, particularly jewelry, clothing and small home goods, but now innovative businessmen and women are re-imagining the online space.

Casper vacuum packs mattresses and ships them off within five days around the United States. The mattresses arrive in a box no bigger than you would get a television in. When it arrives to the consumer it simply needs to be opened up and it will come back to life and shape within 24 hours.

It’s mattresses re-imagined, but more than anything it speaks to how the online business arena is growing and changing. People are becoming busier and they enjoy shopping for the things they need online. Before now, purchasing a mattress was very much an “in-store” thing, mostly in furniture stores were sales people work on commissions and the sales tactics are strong.

What Casper is doing can be re-imagined in all sorts of ways. If mattresses can be shipped on the cheap, then what is to say other larger items can be shipped cheaply and quickly?

The 24/7 Salesperson

Cali Bamboo is also a traditional brick and mortar operation that went online only, with amazing results.

President Jeff Goldberg had this to say about the move:

We tried every selling method under the sun, from traditional knock-on-doors, going to other fencing companies, direct mail, and online. We didn’t really choose to be an online-only company, online chose us. (source)

After going virtual, Cali Bamboo grew 877.1 percent over the next three years.

A pair of modern medical eyeglasses

Sight for Sore Eyes

Another company who went against convention wisdom is Warby Parker. Selling eyeglasses to customers is thought to be something you would have to do in person, but their business model has been successful. Although it is possible to find their glasses at a few outlets, they are known as an online service.

As online shopping has expanded so has the world of shipping. You can get everything from food to furniture delivered directly to your home, or you can manufacture it yourself – thanks to 3D printing.

With that being known, it stands to reason that the online world is going to explode further with small business owners taking their business from the brick-and-mortar world to the virtual one.


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