Retailer Expands by Closing Its Shop

by RaeAnne Marsh

amerisleepNine months into breaking into retail with Amerisleep’s new design in beds, founder Firas Kittaneh added an online sales site to the company’s brick-and-mortar store in Tempe. The next step he considered was opening a second location — but within six months of launching the website, he made the reverse decision and closed the Tempe store. Online in the three years since then, he’s grown his business 1500 percent.

“We really took a gamble,” Kittaneh says. “It was a new experience for us and we were so excited about starting out that we didn’t even consider the worst-case scenario.” He did, however, have expertise in the technology the online presence would need, and says, “I knew going online was going to be something I could easily handle.” So instead of hiring managers and salespeople, “we created higher-level jobs — programmers, designers, copywriters.” And reached a greater audience with fewer people.

Amerisleep’s beds are made of a memory foam that uses an open-cell construction to allow higher breathability, and, unlike most, are not petroleum-based. They are manufactured in the United States. Kittaneh admits inventory was a concern when the Tempe-based company turned to online sales. “The online experience is all about how fast [the customer can get the product],” he says. So, being committed to shipping product within 24 to 48 hours, inventory is significantly higher as an online retailer than as a brick-and-mortar store.

Establishing a strong online presence required high-quality content for SEO, but Kittaneh says that considering what information the customer would want was no different for the website than for the retail store. “People who come into a retail store have done the research online. That is what we put on the website.”

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