Commerce is the perfect platform for boutique backpack brand Seizpacks. The business, based in Madrid, grew out of an MBA project in 2009 – and founders Marco Seiz and Julien Guardiola (who had experience in the backpack business) were keen to offer a product that better reﬂected the way people want to secure and carry their belongings.
For Seiz, the most important aspect of the bags is that they are customisable: there is space for the owner’s initials, the laptop compartment can be tailored to ﬁt and there is the option of an external solar panel powerful enough to charge a smartphone.
This customisation means sales are best suited to online, where the necessary customer choices can be selected. “It’s difﬁcult to do that in shops, unless you’re a really big brand,” he says. It also helps keep overheads small. “I’m a big fan of outsourcing,” adds Seiz, explaining that the company still only has two employees, although it sells thousands of bags each year. Seiz recently weighed up the beneﬁts of taking the products into more stores. “We’re in a few designer stores, but pushing for more would mean changing our business model,” he explains. “We decided against that and kept it at a boutique level. The risk is smaller for us and the business is working.”
When it comes to looking at ways to grow the business and to improve and develop new products, customers can give the owners valuable feedback via the website. Being online also helps the brand reach customers overseas, particularly in France and Germany. This helps protect the company from seasonal sales slumps, as customers in southern Europe don’t like using backpacks in the summer when it’s hot.
The logistics involved in getting what is essentially a bulky product to customers was challenging. “It had to be reliable, it had to be easy – we wanted to keep our overheads low and we wanted normal shipping, rather than express, to be the default option to keep costs down,” explains Seiz.
Only two suppliers were “economically feasible”, he continues. Crucially Asendia was happy to accept orders via an automated system – international delivery information and labels are printed from the website back-end, Asendia gets sent an Excel ﬁle with the details and then collects the parcels. This means the company does not have to recruit anyone to ﬁll out shipping forms by hand and, as Seiz says, “Why employ someone if the process can be automated?”
Seiz packs also offers express delivery through Asendia. Seiz adds it was important that the company didn’t have to work with two suppliers for that service. The virtue of customisation means there are fewer returns to manage. Taking a new product to market using e-commerce has been harder than Seiz initially thought it wouldbe. He talks of a “complicated market” where consumers need to be reached through a variety of channels. But the business is growing – and ﬁnding the right logistics partner has enabled the business to continue running in the streamlined fashion its founders want.