EBags.com

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eBags
Type Private
Industry Retail
Founded 1998
Headquarters Greenwood Village, Colorado, United States
Key people Rob Cassidy, President & COO
Peter Cobb, Co-founder, EVP of Marketing & Investor Relations
Adam Baker, SVP of Merchandising
Steve Neptune, SVP of Financial Planning & Strategy
Products Handbags, Luggage, Backpacks, Laptop Bags, Duffels
Employees 100+
Website www.eBags.com

eBags is an online retailer of handbags, luggage, backpacks, laptop bags, and accessories based in Greenwood Village, Colorado near Denver. The main website, eBags.com, carries bags and accessories from more than 500 brands including Samsonite, JanSport, Kate Spade, Fossil, and Nike. eBags also operates both Handbags.com and the eBags Corporate Sales site and offers its own private label products under the name The eBags Brand.

History[edit]

Five people founded eBags in the late spring of 1998: Jon Nordmark, Peter Cobb, Frank Steed, Andy Youngs, and Eliot Cobb. The first four worked more than 50 years collectively at Samsonite. Eliot Cobb worked as VP of Finance at Wherehouse Music, a national music retailer.

The company purchased two domains, eLuggage.com and eBags.com, not knowing which domain they would use. Ultimately they chose eBags.com because it lent more opportunity to expand into multiple categories.[1] The website eBags.com launched on March 1, 1999 with seven brands including Samsonite, JanSport, and Skyway luggage. The focus was primarily on luggage due to the backgrounds of the founders.

From summer 1999, eBags' starting experiencing rapid growth. Much of the early success of eBags can be attributed to three strategies: a drop ship model, customer reviews, and an outsourced call center. eBags drop-shipped most products direct from manufacturers to consumers. This reduced the company's inventory risk. The company still drop-ships products, but a portion of the business has moved to an inventory model which has allowed them to work with a wider selection of brands. In addition to lower inventory costs, eBags lowered operating costs by outsourcing their call center outsourced to the Philippines, although today it is back in the U.S. Finally, the company focused on garnering customer reviews which was a relatively new concept in e-commerce in 1999.[2]

Following the website launch, three events caused cash to dip: the "dot com bomb" of 2000, the recession of 2001, and the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. September 11 specifically caused eBags' luggage sales to slow to 2% growth for the next six months. To recharge the growth, eBags diversified into handbags and purses, business cases, sport bags, and backpacks. This allowed the company to rely on more daily use brands like Kathy Van Zeeland, Tignanello, Perlina, Stone Mountain, and Eastpak.

In October 2004, eBags launched eBags.co.uk with the intent of expanding further into Europe at a later time. The eBags UK offices were located in Cambridge, England. That year marked eBags' expansion of its brand representation to more than 600 total in the United States and Europe. eBags.co.uk was later closed in December 2008 and the company focus returned to growing the main site, eBags.com.[3] By the end of 2008, eBags passed $100 million in annual gross orders.

In Fall 2011, prior to the start of holiday season, eBags moved its call center operations back to the U.S. They currently use in-house employees to handle calls, and contracted with HGS Ltd. to handle overflow. The shift allowed the company to shave about 34% off its customer care expenses because the U.S.-based customer service representatives were able to resolve customer complaints more efficiently. American customer service reps shaved about a minute and 20 seconds from each call and resolved customer issues on the first contact 80% of the time, compared with 69% for calls handled in the Philippines.[4]

Today eBags.com continues to sell bags from over 500 brands but now also offers accessories including jewelry, hats, scarves, and camping gear. As of 2013, they have sold 17 million bags and have over 2.5 million reviews on the website.

Pick Pink[edit]

In July 2004, eBags launched their Pick Pink program on eBags.com. Year-round through Pick Pink, eBags.com customers can opt-in to donate 10% of the sale price of pink products to the Denver affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The program has helped raise more than $675,000 to date. In 2006, the Pick Pink program and eBags were recognized by the Travel Goods Association with the TGA Community Service Award.[5]

In addition to Pick Pink, each year, eBags sponsors the Denver Race for the Cure, an annual fundraising event that has more than 40,000 participants and is one of the largest Race for the Cures in the world.[6] Employees participate in the race and volunteer in the booth to hand out bags and other gifts to survivors. Each October, the company also adds a pink ribbon to the sign located at their corporate headquarters which is visible from Interstate 25.

Awards[edit]

eBags has received the following awards:[7]

  • Website of the Year in 2011 (Multichannel Merchant)
  • 2011 MCM Awards Gold, Consumer Specialty Products (Web Channel)
  • 2009 TGA Award [1]
  • Website of the Year in 2008 (Multichannel Merchant)
  • 2008 MCM Awards Gold, Consumer Specialty Products (Web Channel)
  • 4th highest scoring merchant out of 100 top online retail sites (The E-Tailing Group, 2008)[8]
  • 2007 Retail Customer Experience Study, 9th out of 300 eTailers (Future Now)[9]
  • 2007 MCM Awards Gold, Consumer Specialty Products (Web Channel)
  • 2007 Fusion Award, Pure Play E-Commerce Operations (RIS News)[10]
  • 2007 Circle of Excellence Second-Time Award Winner (BizRate)
  • Website of the Year in 2006 (Multichannel Merchant)
  • 2006 MCM Awards Gold, Consumer Specialty Products (Web Channel)
  • TGA Community Service Award in 2006 (Travel Goods Association)[5]
  • Website of the Year in 2004 (Multichannel Merchant)
  • 2004 Internet Retailer Best of the Web The Top 50 Retailing Sites[11]
  • 2004 MCM Awards Gold, Consumer Specialty Products (Web Channel)
  • Website of the Year in 2002 (Multichannel Merchant)
  • 2002 Company To Watch (Denver Post)
  • Website of the Year in 2001 (Multichannel Merchant)

Corporate Sales[edit]

eBags has a Corporate Sales division that operates the eBags Corporate Sales website, ebagscorporate.com. This division handles large orders of bags and other products for conferences and tradeshows, corporate gift programs, and other venues.

Handbags.com[edit]

eBags purchased the Handbags.com domain in 1999. For several years, the website was a blog offering advice on handbag trends, styles, and brands. In July 2011, eBags rebranded Handbags.com into an online retailer of handbags, women's bags, and fashion accessories. The website's slogan is, "Handbags.com: Bag Obsessions Begin Here". Unlike eBags.com, Handbags.com is targeted specifically to women and was the first of the eBags sites to offer social features like signing in with Facebook and a shareable wishlist. eBags still operates Handbags.com today.

GTS and 6PM.com[edit]

In 2002, eBags took what they learned from eBags.com and formed Global Technology Services (GTS) - a division that operated e-commerce sites for two other brands in the bag industry: Tumi and Case Logic. In October 2002, they began operating Tumi.com followed by Tumi UK in October 2005, Tumi Germany in July 2006, and Tumi Japan in August 2006. The Case Logic GTS site launched in July 2005.

During this same timeframe, eBags also launched 6PM.com. Purchased as Shoedini.com in March 2004 and renamed in November 2005, 6PM.com combined eBags' knowledge of bags with the complementary business of shoes. 6PM's main feature was matching bags with shoes. 6PM was sold in October 2007 to Zappos and eBags returned focus to the eBags.com site. Similarly, the GTS division was dissolved and resources were reallocated to the core business.

References[edit]

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