EBags' innovation center to focus on mobile, IoT

EBags is looking to advance mobile and move beyond its e-commerce roots with a new Innovation Lab initiative.

The Denver-based e-tailer is teaming with Iterate Studio and cocreating a two-part Innovation Lab with resources positioned in Denver, Silicon Valley, India and Ukraine. The goal is to explore emerging technology in the areas of mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT).

"Iterate Studio searches for technologies that can be applied immediately to enhance digital journeys—for shoppers and employees," said Brian Sathianathan, Iterate's chief digital officer. "As the digital leader in the bags and accessories market, eBags is proactively evaluating every digital touch point along the customer journey—between transactions—looking for unique IoT and mobile technologies born in places like MIT, Paris and Silicon Valley. Our goal is to help eBags maintain its leadership position."

EBags began in 1999 as a site devoted not just to selling bags, but bags that specifically cater to travelers.

The retailer did make a push into mobile over the past two years, and experienced a fairly significant uptick in sales and traffic from mobile devices in 2014. In fact, mobile sales outpaced traffic, growing by 85 percent as mobile traffic rose 70 percent, former president and CEO Rob Cassidy told FierceMobileRetail in February.

Cassidy declined to say at the time if the traffic coming from mobile devices was incremental or a shift from computers. "We don't think of it that way, we're completely agnostic," he said. "It's just a different format for us."

Cassidy has since left the retailer and new CEO Mike Edwards hails from Staples, where he was exec-VP of global merchandising. In his new role, "Edwards is transforming eBags from its pure play dot-com roots," according to a company statement.

"Every retailer is challenged to develop leaders who embrace change," Edwards said. "Companies and investors must actively harness innovation and smart risk taking, while taking a longer-term view toward transforming and winning.

"Traditional approaches no longer work. We live in an ever-changing mobile world that quickly adjusts to revolutionary technologies and services like Nest, Snapchat, Uber and Airbnb. To succeed, a company's culture needs to place a high value on data, customer information, speed and change."

Several retailers have opened innovation centers to explore new technology and its applications, including GameStop, Target and Walmart.

For more:
-See this eBags statement

Related stories:
For eBags, success in mobile is all about the details
Walmart gets new neighbor in Tyco Retail Experience Center
GameStop launches technology institute
GameStop makes personalization omnichannel
GameStop to shrink core business as gaming consoles go digital

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