A Chat With October’s Profile, Peter Cobb, co-founder/senior vice president, eBags
CS: What sets eBags apart from its competition?
PC: One of our values is to be pioneering and resourceful. We have five values actually, but pioneering and resourceful … when I spoke to the fact that we have 80 emerging designers in our area called “On the Street,” that’s something that’s new and fresh and different, and something that isn’t duplicated on other sites. And it’s a reason for being for eBags. Now we’re able to put those in — we send out a million e-mails a week, that’s our database — and there’s women that want to see who’s this new, fresh designer. So rather than just pummeling them with 10 percent off and free shipping offers, we’re able to feature new designers. Check out the new video on a new designer.
The other part that we’re really proud of is from day one we wanted the customer to play a role in making recommendations on our site. We have over 1.5 million customer reviews on our site. We were one of the first to incorporate that, and we have products … like the JanSport SuperBreak for instance, has over 4,000 customer testimonials on that one product. Sadly, I think in brick-and-mortar retail these days there aren’t knowledgeable sales associates across the board. And in a way, we have 1.5 million sales associates — customers who have actually purchased, used and been willing to provide feedback on the product: how it was used, where they took the product.
And then the other part of that is we’ve expanded that and we have 100 videos on our site. Those range from product demonstrations to videos about the brand to the founder of JanSport talking about how he started the company 40 years ago. We’re really the first Web site to incorporate kind of a video management system. It’s kind of YouTube meets e-commerce, where you can go to our video tab and you can click on, “I want to see highest rated videos,” “I want to see favorite videos,” “I want to see most viewed videos,” “I want to make a comment,” “I want to share,” “I want to embed it into my MySpace or Facebook or Digg or Delicious.”
You don’t see other sites kind of going to that extent. We’re proud of that, because we want to make it entertaining; it isn’t just a catalog online where you’re flipping through pages. It’s gotta be more interactive than that. We really believe that. And that gets to being able to leave a comment on a video, or being able to leave a comment on a product. And to have 1.5 million of those on our site says that people trust and feel like, “Hey, it was useful for me and valuable for me in making my purchase decision, now I’m going to … I want to leave my own personal post-it note next to the product that I bought, because it helped when I made my purchase.”