Belgian accessories brand Kipling has launched a new travel rental service in London in response to shifting consumer needs and the rise of the sharing economy.
The brand is piloting the ‘Rent Your Kipling’ luggage rental scheme in London, targeting urban travellers who want “access to great luggage without owning it,” explained Olivier Gay, vice president general manager EMEA, Kipling.
“We are travelling more and more, but we want flexibility, freedom and easy access and the idea is that our rental offers Londoners convenience when travelling,” added Gay to FashionUnited at the London launch.
The new service solution, which will be on trial for the next six months in London, is in direct response to the “rise” in sharing economy, Kipling notes, as renting a full set, including a carry-on suitcase, backpack and crossbody bag for a long weekend (4 days) would cost 9 pounds per day, representing 12 percent of the full-price purchase of the same items.
Billing it as an “aspirational service,” Kipling’s consumer experience manager EMEA, Olivia Mouille explained: “There is a shift in how 20-30-year-olds consume and travel, the story of sharing economy matters, but they also want convenience, as storing luggage is a problem, as well as high-quality, which Kipling is known for.”
The launch comes off the back of research Kipling conducted with Ideo, which revealed that 65 percent of people surveyed in London said that they have struggled to store luggage at home, and the Belgian accessories brand, which is making a shift into the travel market and is looking to tap into that younger demographic.
Kipling targets ‘sharing economy’ consumers with new travel rental pilot
Currently the pilot scheme is just accessible to consumers in greater London, with testing being limited to just 200 customers, added Gay, as the brand wants to test the idea “fully”, from the mobile-ready booking website, to the courier, as well as making sure that the quality is upheld, overcoming obstacles such as damaged or unclean baggage.
“Everything we do at Kipling is purpose-driven,” added Gay. “We want to make sure that the service is meaningful and relevant for the brand, and give ourselves the chance to fully test the service before we make noise about the scheme in March.”
If successful, Kipling has noted that they are looking to expand the rental scheme, with mid-term and long-term plans to roll out nationally, to urban areas, as well as globally to key target cities across Europe and beyond.
Gay stated: “We are good at making products, selling products, so why not renting products.”
Kipling has partnered with Lizee, a rental booking software company that Mouille explained has “experience” in shared economy, from delivery to cleaning, and they are also working with courier DPD, giving consumers access to click and collect from more than 280 locations around greater London to pick u or return the luggage, or they can also select home delivery.
The accessories brand has tried to make the rental service as easy and accessible as possible, from the selection of three different luggage colourways, active blue, true black and active red, to the case size options ranging from a cabin-size suitcase to a large family-style option, as well as the addition of a rucksack and crossbody, everything you need for that weekend getaway, right down to including sealing tap inside the box to make the package secure when sending back.
All that the consumer has left to do is decide on how many days they wish to rental the luggage - with the minimum being 3 days.
Gay added that the pilot scheme was part of the parent company VF Corporation’s wider sustainable efforts, joining sister brands Timberland and Northface who have their own sustainability initiatives, from its production to designing products using recycled materials.
The concept also plays into Kipling’s wider rebranding plans to target the travel market and younger consumers, a move that has seen the brand add more luggage and functional travel bags to its collections, as part of its new brand’s purpose and creative vision, “Live. Light”.
Key additions expected for spring/summer 2020 includes a range of colourful hard cases, as well as suitcases that feature backpacks attached to the front, which can be removed easily, showcasing Kipling’s innovation and functionality that it known for.
Kipling was founded in 1987 in Antwerp, Belgium and quickly became known for its crinkled nylon bags. Today, Kipling’s bags and accessories are available globally in 436 stores in 80 countries and can be found in more than 7500 shops, and online at kipling.com.
Images: courtesy of Kipling