Teardown: Away Travel


I’ve had the same luggage for 10 years and it’s been with me everywhere from the freezing snow of the Swiss Alps to the arid desert of southern Utah. Most recently my wife were returning from St. Lucia and the zipper broke, putting an end to it’s long life of travel. Into the trash it went and into the luggage market I arrived.

I had recently heard about a cool new luggage startup called Away Travel and decided to check them out.

I’m always fascinated by new shopping experiences like this. How the company positions the product, how they communicate the value prop and benefits, how they educate the consumer and the user experience to try and get the user to create. After having spent most of my career figuring out how to sell (mostly expensive) things online, I was as excited about going through their Awareness > Consideration > Conversion funnel and seeing how they approached it.

A few things about luggage as a product category interested me, before I even started the shopping process.

  1. Price Point: Luggage is a considered purchase with a relatively high price point. I would guess customers buy luggage once every 5–10 years or so, in general. So high price + considered purchase = interesting obstacles for conversion.
  2. Brand Awareness: As as startup that has a brand awareness that rounds down to zero, I knew nothing about the company or their product quality. No frame of reference except that a friend of a friend works there. So no credibility / social proof to lean on.
  3. Size: As someone who spent over 5 years selling couches online, I am intimately familiar with the challenges of communicating “size” for a product like luggage. More on this later.

Luggage: The Customer Journey

Like most product shopping experiences, I actually started my search on Amazon, which was immediately overwhelming. I had no idea what kind I wanted, and the brand that I had before (Ogio) has apparently stopped making the model that I liked. So I’m quickly in the category of Brand Agnostic at this point.

It was at that point that I remembered my friend telling me about Away Travel a few weeks ago. I had to slack him to get the name because I couldn’t remember it. Off and Away I went.


The Shopping Experience

So a few things to provide Context as we jump into the shopping experience here:

  1. I know nothing about the brand.
  2. I know nothing about the product.
  3. I need a new suitcase.
  4. I have a trip coming up in 3 weeks.

Step 1: Homepage


Step 2: Click “Shop Now”

The main CTA on the hero of the homepage says “Shop Now” and so I click it to see what’s behind door number 1.

Context hasn’t really changed since the last step…

  1. I know the brand sells luggage.
  2. I know nothing about the product.
  3. I need a new suitcase.
  4. I have a trip coming up in 3 weeks.

Step 3: Click “Compare”

Context:

  1. I know the brand sells luggage.
  2. I still know nothing about the product.
  3. I need to figure out what size I need.

Step 3: The Hunt for the Missing Charger

At this point I browse around the site clicking a bunch of different places in search of something about a battery. Finally after a few minutes I find…something.

So I figure out that the charger is only in the two carry-ons, which makes no sense to me at first (I’m thinking of charging my devices in a hotel room for some reason), but makes more sense when I think about the use-cases being primarily in the airport waiting for your flight. But the biggest question was how it works, specifically, how you charge the battery in the bag (which then charges your phone, etc. via USB).

Apparently I’m not the first person to have all these questions, and I eventually stumbled on the dedicated All about the battery page. Still didn’t answer my question, but I later found in buried in the PDP Q&A’s (hint: the bag has a wall charger).


Step 4: Now about that Size question…

After my treasure hunt about this built-in battery situation, I returned to where I left off in learning about the product: trying to figure out what size I needed before I could move on. I went back to the “Compare” sizes page, then took out my wife’s luggage and a smaller one I had laying around and measured them.

After taking measurements of the physical product in my home I figured out that I wanted one big one and one carry-on.


Step 5: Let’s go shopping for luggage

Now that I finally figured out what size I needed, I was actually ready to go shopping. I went back to the first (main) landing page that links out from the hero on the homepage, here:

Context:

  1. I know the brand sells luggage.
  2. I know that I want one large and one carry-on.
  3. I don’t know what color I want or what they’re made of or what’s on the inside.
  4. I have a trip coming up in three weeks.

Step 6: The (Custom) Product Detail Page

I head to the PDP for the Monogram Edition to make my final choices and dig into the product details.


Step 7: The (Real) Product Detail Page

Over to the “Real” product details to learn about the…details.


In Summary

Overall, the site does a decent job in educating users about the product, but mostly in a roundabout way with core educational content spread out between various stages of the customer journey. A consistent size comparison experience and some small updates to design and copy on the PDP’s would go a long way to answering some very basic questions that would keep users heading smoothly down the path to conversion with fewer distractions (BATTERY!) along the way.

I ended up ordering two monogrammed suitcases (one Bigger Carry On and one Large). Here’s to hoping they arrive before my trip in three weeks!

Few Recommendations:

Design the UX to accomplish decision points in a more logical order:

  1. Sell me on the core value prop of the product (no mention of any until the Product Detail Page)
  2. Help me pick the right size and easy compare different sizes, including feature differences (Compare page facelift)
  3. Provide more precise shipping times & estimates
  4. De-risk the custom Monogrammed option and include it with your 100 day free trial (who’s going to send a bag back with their initials on it?)

Learn more about optimization your user experience and customer journey at Bonsai Commerce.