Walking the streets of San Francisco, you'll be sure to see a Timbuk2 bag somewhere. Treasured by bikers and commuters alike, the recognizable three-tone style of Timbuk2's messenger bags stand out against all other bags worldwide. Their product line has expanded to include backpacks, larger and smaller shoulder bags, and even cases for computers or products like iPad. Though they may not be the largest brand offering a visit to students in the RMI program, the February tour of Timbuk2's headquarters in San Francisco made for a unique visit and peek into the world of e-commerce for small businesses.
10 SCU students, including Anthony Prieto, a recent addition to the RMI program, spent the morning touring the corporate offices and manufacturing facility of T2, lead by CEO Mike Wallenfels. Mr. Wallenfels and two members of the online marketing team also presented an in-depth overview of the company's strategy, analytic and social media platforms, and outlook on the future.
A unique portion of Timbuk2’s business allows for individual customization of each bag that customers or corporate partners order. Customers can pick colors or materials for each of the parts of the bag and decide on different orientations (left or right-handed) for each feature. "Timbuk2's unique style and ability to customize bags online distinguishes them from the competition, and their attention to detail in the manufacturing process allows for a streamlined production timeline," Prieto remarked after the visit. When presenting their social media strategy, the team stressed the importance of tying giveaways to participation in each service, in an effort to improve traffic and increase followers. Their social media platform also publishes pictures of each custom bag, as they are ordered, in an effort to inspire subscribers to pick out their own on an impulse-buy.
Students were impressed with Vivian Tsai's presentation on Internet marketing and online advertising campaigns. It was fascinating to see how various web analytic tools identify which parts of the website were clicked most frequently and how the site layout was adjusted to maximize conversion rates. The company also recently offered a Groupon promotion to customers in New York City to drive volume and gauge interest for new opportunities in the area. As online discounters and coupon sites become increasingly important in the e-commerce space, it will be important to keep an eye on such trends and apply concepts to other business models in the market.
Inspired by the incredible value of a peek inside T2's business, some students expressed interest in applying for summer internships with the company. If you're interested in applying, check their website frequently as jobs have yet to be posted.
For more info on the company or to order a bag, visit Timbuk2 online at their website. You can also visit the company's retail store in San Francisco or inquire with the RMI office to find out about the possibility of future tours for other students