Samsonite eyes global gains in e-commerce foray

To bring online venture eBags’ offering to India in 2018

June 27, 2017 08:52 pm | Updated 09:08 pm IST - MUMBAI

Ramesh Tainwala

Ramesh Tainwala

Samsonite International SA, a leading travel luggage company, is betting big on e-commerce as a large number of customers now prefer to buy online or are doing research online before buying in physical stores, said its global Chief Executive Officer.

The firm recently announced the acquisition of eBags, a leading online retailer of luggage and related accessories, for $105 million, to strengthen its digital capabilities.

This acquisition was part of Samsonite’s ongoing strategy to accelerate the growth of its direct-to-consumer e-commerce business, according to Ramesh Tainwala, CEO, Samsonite International.

“As the leader in online luggage and bags in the U.S., eBags is an excellent complement to our existing business. This is the most significant acquisition during my period as CEO. It is even more strategic than the over $2 billion Tumi acquisition,” Mr. Tainwala said.

He said eBags, which is now confined to North America, will be scaled up riding on Samsonite’s global presence. The eBags marketplace will be introduced in India in 2018, he said.

With its technology, eBags will spearhead Samsonite’s centre of digital excellence and will support its digital platforms, he said. Samsonite has 11 brands and each of these brands has its own website to sell products online. Now, eBags will strengthen these websites for better sales, he said.

“With eBag’s immediate resources and digital expertise, we can expand our online capabilities in a meaningful way, driving stronger sales growth across all our brands,” Mr. Tainwala said.

Online sales accounted for 9% of Samsonite’s total sales volume and this ratio is expected to cross 25% in five years with the digital focus, he added.

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