Luggage that tracks you – it’s a thing.
Eagle Creek’s new luggage line includes a near-field communication (NFC) chip that allows its travelers to keep track of where they go and how many miles they’ve gone with their luggage.
In order to take full advantage of the smart luggage, travelers place their phone within a few inches of the NFC chip at the start and end of the trip. They can then use the app to track their progress and compare themselves to other travelers on a leaderboard.
“We want to find a way to make the travel experience more robust, and to allow that bag to deliver information that’s interesting and helpful,” said Monica Rigali, senior director of digital marketing for Eagle Creek and JanSport.
Marketing is an obvious use case for this data – but Eagle Creek isn’t planning on going down that route, at least not yet. Instead, it’s brainstorming ways it can use this data to create communities related to travel and to personalize experiences related to destinations.
“We didn’t approach this from a data collection standpoint,” Rigali said. “We approached the entire test from a consumer benefit standpoint.”
Eagle Creek already serves as a content resource for travelers. Its blog, which includes packing tips and checklists for different types of trips, as well as videos, is one of the most active parts of its ecommerce site. The app could build on that expertise and allow customers to connect directly.
“We would like to connect people who are like-minded,” Rigali said.
Eagle Creek is also mulling how to crowdsource recommendations, such as “Where can you get the best tacos in Mexico City?” or “What Korean barbecue place do you have to visit in Los Angeles?” and considering a rewards program that doles out perks to travelers for their “mileage.”
Although the cost of actually adding a chip to a piece of luggage isn’t significant, the process of creating an interesting, sticky experience for travelers through the companion mobile app could get pricey.
To start, Eagle Creek, which is working with VerifiR to power the technology and experience for its smart luggage app, is testing NFC in one of its higher-end lines. In the future, Eagle Creek could add the chip to all of its luggage, but before that happens, it’s going to track initial adoption and engagement.
Eventually, data from the NFC chip could also be used to increase loyalty. Eagle Creek can recommend products to meet a customer’s needs, for example.
The app makes Eagle Creek a more integral part of a traveler’s overall experience, positioning it smack in the middle of the burgeoning “experience economy.”
“Millennials are putting off bigger, more debt-laden purchases to spend more on experiences,” Rigali said. “This collection is made for that traveler.”