DENVER, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- eBags, the largest online retailer of luggage, backpacks, handbags, and accessories, this month celebrates its 17th anniversary. In 1998, the original team set out with the dream to create an online platform that offered more travel, luggage and accessory brands than the average store has products. Four out of five of the founders had worked at Samsonite before starting eBags, and they felt confident they could win on selection, customer experience and convenience.
"We entered the market at a unique time when ecommerce was just getting started. It was hard to convince investors that buying bags online or through email actually had staying power," says Jon Nordmark, eBags co-founder and Chairman. "Luckily, we were able to test new ideas fast and keep up with our customers' evolving needs. Giving our customers what they want has always been what's set us apart."
Your Journey Starts Here
Over the course of 17 years, eBags has eclipsed the original vision by creating an active community of travelers with over 67,000 products from 650 brands, including luggage, backpacks, travel accessories, athleisure clothing, connected travel gear, gadgets and more. The eBags brand products are bestsellers on the website and guaranteed for life. The website just celebrated selling its 25-millionth bag and finished 2015 with record results.
Mike Edwards, eBags CEO remarks, "eBags is where your journey begins. Every single trip, whether it be a daily adventure into your neighborhood or a long-awaited sojourn, is the opportunity for you to find the perfect travel gear on eBags, which will help make your experience unforgettable."
A Culture of Innovation
To this day, eBags is driven by the entrepreneurial spirit of their founders, which has enabled them to push the boundaries and introduce many industry-first practices throughout the years.
Early on, eBags needed ways to conserve cash so they could continue to grow. They pioneered the dropshipping concept in their industry, which allows companies like eBags to ship products to customers directly from a third party so the company doesn't need to stock or own inventory. "This was a game-changer for us," says Nordmark. "It allowed us to keep growing while preserving cash. Meanwhile, our competitors went out of business."
Early on, eBags saw the importance in empowering customers to share their experiences with others. The team built a platform that enabled customer reviews well before most companies even envisioned people leaving feedback online. Sam Decker, former CMO of BazaarVoice, which provides a platform for retailers to solicit feedback and reviews, comments, "When I helped start BazaarVoice in 2005, we saw eBags as one of five top retailers worldwide collecting ratings and reviews, and doing it very well."
eBags now has surpassed over 3.2 million customer reviews from over 220 countries.
Today, Edwards is leading the charge to use technology to retain eBags' position as a leading edge company. They recently instituted an innovation lab to help absorb and utilize unique digital tools that will improve the shopping experience for 36+ million people who visit the site each year.
The company has embraced mobile, and will soon give customers tools to easily swipe left or right to like and dislike bags or upload photos of bags they like and find look-alike products on the website. "Companies that do not have a mobile strategy in content, marketing and technology soon will not matter," says Edwards. "Today for eBags.com, 45% of our traffic is from some form of a mobile device, and it is having a profound impact on how we structure and align our resources to be competitive. In the mobile arena, speed, agility, innovation and testing have to happen every 24 hours to stay relevant in the global marketplace."
A Nimble Team That Cares
The eBags team is a unique mix of tenured employees who have been with the company for 10+ years, and newer faces with varied experiences in ecommerce, marketing, finance, merchandising and more. This blend creates a culture that embraces eBags' roots but also celebrates the future of the company. The culture of eBags has held steadfast in the importance of caring for and responding to customers' needs.
Peter Cobb, co-founder and EVP of eBags, recalls a time when eBags had to respond fast to changing customer needs. "When the 9/11 tragedy hit, our sales came to a screeching halt. People were no longer searching for travel products. They wanted to help. We were worried we might have to shut the company down, but we still wanted to do something. Our team pulled together and transformed our website's home page to collect money for the Red Cross. We sent emails out to customers telling them how they could help. We raised $125,000 for the Red Cross in a couple of days." Cobb adds, "This is the spirit of eBags that still lives on today."
eBags values can be seen in every eBags product or interaction with their customers. They are bold: they move fast, innovate and blaze trails. They are owners: with hearts of entrepreneurs. And they are driven: in pursuit of a better journey for their customers.
eBags is the leading online retailer of handbags, luggage, backpacks, and accessories. With over 25 million bags sold and 3.2 million customer reviews, eBags features 67,000 products from 650 brands, including Michael Kors, kate spade, Tumi, Fjallraven, Kenneth Cole, Patagonia, and more.