New products, brand collabs and a global ad campaign: Tumi is on a roll

rring role in the Brad Pitt thriller, Bullet Train, while the brand’s “Built for the journey” pop-up stores are set to kick off in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The 19 Degree line includes a new, sustainable edition, with shells and linings made out of recyclable materials. 

Interestingly, the brand has also created a collection with McLaren made out of CX6 carbon fibre, which is known for its exceptional strength.The Tumi x McLaren collection is set for a debut in October.

“Our most recent Fall collection reinforces our commitment to reduce our ecological footprint while increasing the impact we have on our customers’ lives,” Adam Hershman, vice president for Tumi APAC & Middle East, told Inside Retail.

An exciting year

Earlier this year, the brand launched the Alpha Bravo pop-up to celebrate its Spring 2022 collection and projected its logo onto the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai. It also launched a collaboration with the English Premier League footballer Son Heung-Min from Tottenham Hotspur FC.

The brand also collaborated with singer-songwriter Gracie Abrams, actor and recording artist Anthony Ramos and McLaren driver Lando Norris. Along with this, Tumi partnered with lifestyle brand Razer to launch the first capsule collection for the esports community, and collaborated with streetwear brand Staple on another exclusive collection.

“After two years of disruptions brought on by the pandemic, people around the world are rediscovering the joy of travel and we are thrilled to be a part of every one of our customers’ journeys,” Hershman said.

An uptick in demand

As more countries in the APAC region enter the endemic phase of the pandemic, Hershman said there has been a distinct change in the purchasing habits of its customers.

“There has definitely been an upsurge in interest and purchases of Tumi products with the increased demand in travel. We expect that trend to continue as countries continue loosening restrictions and reopening borders, and global travel returns to pre-pandemic levels,” he added.

Nonetheless, he believes that the travel industry is still in recovery mode from the pandemic, though it is on track to make significant gains. Going forward, the online to offline (O2O) paradigm will be key for brands to ensure sales growth across the board.

According to Hershman, Tumi has been honing its O2O capabilities for several years, and its virtual store with its experiential digital space and augmented reality (AR) functionalities is testament to this commitment.

“We provide services such as personalised “chat & shop” experience over WeChat, WeCom, Instagram and other digital platforms. This is an area we will continue to develop and innovate as new technologies and creative solutions come into play,” he noted.

A new era beckons

These days, one can’t help but notice all the hyperbole in the retail industry that surrounds Web 3.0, AR, virtual reality, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse.

Hershman acknowledges the importance of these new technologies and the brand is keeping a watchful eye on the latest developments in this space.

“We are keeping tabs on NFTs and Web 3.0, and will continue to look for the right opportunities to incorporate them into our brand strategy,” he said.

He went on to say that the brand has actually been using AR in various applications for a few years, dating back to the launch of a Scandinavian Lodge in 2018 that featured Hong Kong’s first personalised fashion experience, My Avatar.

In 2019, the brand launched a new AR feature in the Tumi Club app that enabled customers to take a selfie with a virtual avatar of Hollywood actor, and brand ambassador, Chris Pratt. And it continues to use AR to help customers experience the shape and size of its products.

Hershman said these initiatives have greatly accelerated the brand’s e-commerce sales. 

The APAC market

In terms of the APAC market, Hershman is of the opinion that the overall demand for luxury goods continues to be strong.

“The want is there and consumers are willing to pay for high quality pieces, which is a good thing for us,” he added.

On the whole, he feels that the recovery here may appear a bit slower compared to Europe and North America, but he is seeing tremendous growth at the country-level as markets open up and international travel continues to rebound.

“We are already seeing this momentum continue into the second half of 2022, with the region poised for an even stronger recovery as vaccination rates increase and travel restrictions are further eased,” he stated.

Hershman acknowledged the uncertainty in the market globally, but said the brand is confident that demand for travel will continue to grow and help drive luxury travel spending.

“We have been navigating choppy waters for a couple of years now so we will stay the course, continuing to focus on product innovation and enhancing the customer experience, both offline and online,” he stressed.

Based on his observations, shipping costs are continuing to drop, congestion is reducing at ports and production capacity will continue at the right size.

According to him, one of the main things the brand has learnt over the last few years is to build agility into the organisation.

“We want to ensure the customer has excellent experiences with the brand across digital and physical platforms, and of course continue to create innovative products that have cross-generational appeal,” he said.

The spirit of innovation

Built for the journey, the brand’s new global advertising campaign, celebrates the resiliency of the human spirit and embarking on new adventures.

It features the Tumi Crew, including Son Heung-Min, Gracie Abrams, Anthony Ramos and Lando Norris, who bring the concept to life in short films that bring viewers along on their own personal journeys.

“Our creative director Victor Sanz, along with film director Jessy Moussallem, wanted to show how our products can help people perform at their very best, whether travelling abroad on tour, going back home or embarking on a new professional adventure,” he noted.

In the years ahead, Hershman feels that it will lean more into its DNA, which is all about being a performance luxury brand for ambitious people on the move.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, we will continue to build on the brand’s nearly 50 years of history and leverage the success of the initiatives we have launched in the past three years,” he concluded.

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