Travel & Leisure

Calego

Increasing reviews on retail sites gives the fast-growing brand an advantage over more established brands, strengthens its relationship with retailers, surfaces insights, and drives record revenue growth.

At a Glance

Challenge

Develop an entirely new brand name and stand out in a competitive space despite limited resources.

Solution

Collect and syndicate reviews as a cost-effective way to build brand recognition, improve visibility on retail search and category pages, increase traffic and conversions, and gather consumer-driven insights.

Benefits

A best-selling, award-winning brand with a positive relationship with retailers and an established position as an industry leader.

250K

Reviews

Calego has more than 250,000 reviews across its products on retail sites, largely as a result of syndication

Calego used UGC to help its luggage brand take off

In the span of just a few years, Calego International turned an unknown wholesale luggage label into a best-selling, award-winning travel brand. With practically no marketing budget, advertising spend, brand team, or online presence, Calego evolved from being exclusively a licensee and private label brand to establishing its own worldwide brand name—and user-generated content (UGC) played an essential role.

“We’ve changed quite a bit over the years,” said David Rapps, President and Chief Strategy Officer at Calego. “We used to sell everything from handbags, back-to-school accessories, toys, travel goods, health and wellness products, and more. Over the last eight years, luggage has become our core business under a new label, iFLY. We’re no longer just a label on a piece of luggage. To build our brand, we made UGC a priority and a point of differentiation.”

UGC has been the ticket to getting Calego’s products sold at more retailers, improving its standing with key channel partners, and surfacing opportunities for innovation.

Retailers aren’t just taking notice— they are rewarding Calego and its iFLY brand with special recognition.

“In 2018, Walmart named us Supplier of the Year. Calego became the first luggage company to win that award,” said Rapps.

Standing out in the digital retail aisle

Generating reviews and syndicating them to retailers in the Bazaarvoice Network gets Calego’s products into more stores and secures more digital shelf space.

“It goes a long way to building brand equity and convincing retailers that might not know us to carry our products. They can’t escape the fact that we have hundreds of thousands of displayable reviews from real people saying they love our products,” said Rapps.

Shoppers look at the number of reviews on retail category and search results pages during the discovery phase. Having over 250,000 displayable reviews, this is where Calego has an edge.

“We’ve dwarfed our competition on category and search results pages. Our products jump out to shoppers compared to our competitors’ products, even among the major brands. Our top star ratings and high review volumes scream to shoppers that our luggage is popular and trusted and that leads to more click-throughs to our product pages and then more conversions,” said Rapps.

Review volume also strengthens Calego’s relationship with retailers.

“While reviews have been massively helpful with selling at retail, it also gives our retailers satisfaction in carrying our products and incentive to promote us. In 2019, Walmart decided to include our Fibertech collection in their Black Friday promotion, in part because it had tens of thousands of reviews,” said Rapps.

Increasing reviews on retail sites also gives Calego an advantage over larger, more well-known brands.

“I don’t understand why more brands don’t collect and syndicate reviews. Fortunately, it’s an opportunity for others like us. The reality is that there’s a lot of whitespace, where reviews are being ignored by incumbents and newer brands like iFLY are positioned to capture the hearts and minds of shoppers and establish themselves,” said Rapps.

Turning powerful UGC insights into action

To keep a pulse on how their UGC program is performing and how it compares to the competition at retail, Calego uses Bazaarvoice’s Premium Network Insights. The dashboard shows that despite accounting for a very limited number of suitcases available at Walmart.com due to endless aisles, the vast majority of the reviews in that category are attached to Calego’s products.

“We see in the Insights dashboard that despite having less than 2% product share in the luggage category at Walmart, we have over 80% review share. The discrepancy is enormous,” said Rapps.

Calego also uses the dashboard to understand what customers are saying, empowering Calego to make strategic business decisions with less effort, like guiding product improvements and spurring innovation.

“We had a soft-side luggage collection that was selling very well. But we noticed that even though it was one of our top-selling products, it was averaging 4.2 stars, which is actually a low rating for us. We looked into the reviews and noticed a lot of people saying that the bag was tipping over, and we realized that the structure of the luggage needed to be re-engineered. As a result, we corrected the structure of that item and made that same improvement across all similar products in our collection,” said Rapps. “We identified that we needed to correct a problem only because we noticed it through reviews. There is an opportunity to make your best-selling items even better.”

Reviews also give the brand and retailer partners more confidence in new product launches.

“We sell a hard-side luggage collection called Fibertech that was originally sold in black. We then developed a rose gold version in 2017. The luggage was selling one-to-one with no real difference in sales between the colors—both were very popular. However, rather than just commenting on the wheels or packing capacity, we saw in the reviews that customers who bought rose gold luggage were much more passionate about their purchase. That rich consumer-generated content boosted the marketing we ended up running around the collection and the brand as a whole,” said Rapps.

In response, Calego has leaned into creating more unique, colorful designs like a new candy-colored collection.

Driving success in-store and in the years ahead

Calego recognizes another level of success by bringing the digital experience to stores.

“We also include reviews on physical product packaging. Even though e-commerce is booming, we still rely heavily on in-store sales, and we want to bring a digital experience to the store. If you’re shopping online, you are going to read reviews. So, we thought, why don’t we give that experience to the in-store customer to reinforce our brand and product proposition?” said Rapps.

Leveraging UGC across the business and in so many ways is a proven differentiator and continues to solidify Calego’s position as an industry leader.

250K

Reviews

Calego has more than 250,000 reviews across its products on retail sites, largely as a result of syndication

About the company

Calego International produces and distributes luggage, bags, accessories, and health and wellness products through its portfolio of brands.

Visit Website

In 2018, Walmart named us Supplier of the Year. Calego became the first luggage company to win that award.

David Rapps

President and Chief Strategy Officer at Calego

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