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Travelbags: 'We want to grow in Europa'aTravelbags, the Dutch market leader in suitcases and (travel) bags, still knows how to grow every year. Until recently, Travelbags did this entirely under its own steam. At the beginning of this month, however, it concluded an investment agreement with RTL. "We not only want to continue the growth in the Netherlands and Belgium, but also to roll out in surrounding countries", says co-founder Gerjan Horstra.

The company started in 2006 as a physical player, but now the webshop is the leading channel. With a range of more than 14,000 articles, the webshop, which has been in existence since 2008, has grown into the largest Dutch webshop in its segment. If it’s up to Gerjan, that’s not all. “A few years ago, I bought all the foreign domain names, so that we can gradually expand in Europe.

Through Amazon active in Germany and England

In addition to the Dutch and Belgian markets, the company is currently active in Germany and England via Amazon. “In this way we can easily test which brands are popular here, so that in time we can launch our own webshops that are designed according to the tastes of the local consumer.

Nor does Gerjan rule out the possibility of opening additional physical branches in addition to the stores in Hardenberg, Groningen and Zwolle. “Physical retail is a somewhat more difficult market, but there are certainly opportunities. There is quite a large target group that likes to see the products in real life and to be able to feel the materials.” He says that the stores account for 9 to 12% of the total turnover. Although this is decreasing every year due to the growth of the webshop.

‘The number of orders is still rising every year’.

The family business in Overijssel is doing well. “I don’t share exact figures,” says Gerjan. “But we are indeed doing well. We process many hundreds of orders every day and this number is still on the rise. Every year we close with a record turnover. This year we expect to grow again by 25 to 30 percent.”

Gerjan thinks that the great success of Travelbags is partly due to the innovative character of the company. “If you want to grow, you have to continue to develop,” he says. That’s why almost every euro earned is immediately put back into the company. “We try to distinguish ourselves by following the trends in the market and translating them to the needs of our customers. For example, we have recently further optimised our mobile site for an even better user experience.”

‘We wanted to rise above our own ability’

To ensure that Travelbags is top of mind when people are looking for a suitcase or (travel) bag, the company is investing heavily in all kinds of marketing channels. “Increasing our brand awareness is one of our most important objectives. That’s why you can see us on TV, on all kinds of social media channels and on YouTube. We also use dynamic remarketing, distribute text ads and make use of (price) comparisons.

Since it can be quite difficult to get the most out of all these different marketing channels, Travelbags works together with AdResults. “We used to have a different marketing agency. They helped us a lot with the first steps, but we wanted more. We wanted to go beyond our own abilities and were therefore looking for a party that was able to think along with us.”

“We used to have a different marketing agency. They helped us a lot with the first steps, but we wanted more. We wanted to go beyond our own abilities and were therefore looking for a party that was able to think along with us.”

More than enough potential in the market

Gerjan invited several agencies to pitch, after which the choice was made for AdResults. “Robert, one of the owners, simply had the best story,” he explains. The companies have been working together for 5 years now and the sales figures, which were not insignificant, have increased by hundreds of percent.

In order to properly monitor the growth and to map out which part is the result of the paid online marketing channels, AdResults developed a document in which this becomes clear at a glance. “We can now see exactly what the results per channel are and what the total effect of the paid channels is. We can also easily compare the results with previous months.”

Because the method provides a helicopter view, it is easier to determine which course should be taken. “If necessary, we can immediately adjust our objectives,” says Gerjan. By this he does not mean that objectives should be scaled down, because the growth that Travelbags is able to realize is year after year higher than that in the market. “There is still plenty of potential in our niche. Travelbags is still growing every day and I am convinced that we will be able to continue this trend for some time to come.

Which way do you want to grow with your business? Come along for a good conversation. We like to think along with you
Marcel Wiersma
Consultant