Traveling is amazing, fulfilling, mind-expanding. Getting from point A to point B, though; that’s sometimes a drag. Enter GoGo Luggage: For a fee, they’ll pick up your luggage from your home and deliver it wherever you’re going, domestic or international, and you get to fly completely unencumbered. Is it any surprise a group of expats launched this business? “We know a lot of people, we travel a lot, and when you’re traveling, it’s nice to carry a lot more than airlines will help you,” said GoGo Luggage’s representative.
How did GoGo Luggage come about?
We live internationally, in Guangzhou, China. When you’re here, you oftentimes just want, you know, Cheetos.
When people are traveling, it’s just too hard to carry everything with them, all the American brands, that they want. Living in China is really very different than anywhere else. There’s not a lot of products here. It’s protection of the country. They don’t like selling popular foreign goods. They protect their economy very strongly. A box of foreign cereal is like $10 or $12 [U.S.]. It’s really interesting.
We know a lot of people, we travel a lot, and when you’re traveling, it’s nice to carry a lot more than airlines will help you. Now airlines are tightening their luggage policies. It’s nice to be able to have that extra service.
What’s a major obstacle to your business?
We’re only three or four months old. The major obstacle to our business is trust. People need to be able to order just once; they need to have one experience doing it, and then they go, “Oh, it’s just so much easier.” That’s the big thing: If they can have one really, really simple, fast experience. Obviously, if you’re a frequent traveler, and you do this 2-4 times a month, eventually, you’re like, “Sure. I’ll just send my gear ahead of me” because it makes a lot of sense.
I’m leaving tomorrow. How fast can you ship my luggage?
We’ve got overnight, three-day and five-day shipping. It depends on the destination city or how much of a premium you want to pay.
What kind of competition do you face?
There’s a big company that just bought five or six smaller companies. Because of that, they have a very high price point. We had a price comparison sheet online that you can check; there’s a big difference. Most of our competitors will charge up to 50% more than us. Sometimes 100% more. When it comes to shipping golf bags or something, they charge a lot more, because they’ve rolled up a lot of companies.
It’s not really a monopoly online, but what happens is that they’ve dominated all the important travel channels, places you’d want to advertise: Travel agencies or the U.S. government’s relocation services, these types of things, where people are in the business of moving people.
But we’re so price-competitive. We’ve looked at shipping literally hundreds of products to every different state and country, and we’re always cheaper. We’re always more economical. We use the big carriers—FedEx, DHL, UPS.
In fact, FedEx just went ahead and started advertising this service. Just this week, I saw my first ad for this. We’re still a lot cheaper than they are. They’re still a single carrier, so they can’t shop around. We’re still lower. But I think people are realizing. Golf bag shipping, surfboard shipping, wine shipping are on the uptick. FedEx has a dedicated page for these services.
What we think will happen is, in addition to that, there’ll be an uptick in people who are just traveling to conferences; doing that, the price per extra bag becomes really expensive. People aren’t saying, “Hey, just throw in your third bag of brochures or booth gear.” People are going to say, “No way. I’m just shipping it ahead of time.”
How do you assure first-time customers that their luggage will be safe, or will arrive on time?
It’s obviously more convenient, because we’re picking it up. And it has tracking codes. When they sign up, they’ll get a label. It’s insured; there’s automatic shipping insurance. Most importantly, people already trust FedEx and UPS. It’s not like it’s just us: “Hey, me and my crew of 10 guys will drive up and pick up your bag.” No; it’s just tier-one carriers. What we offer is very simple, structured payment. It’s a really user-friendly interface. We offer all the customer service to help it happen. If they have a complicated order, they can call in, and we’ll walk them through the process.
We’re just setting up a U.S. customer call center. People will just call in and get really good customer care.
How perfect that you’re in Guangzhou, the import-export capital of China.
Yeah, it’s interesting because it has a lot of potential. The most interesting part is what’s happening here in China. The Chinese want a lot of premium U.S. products, especially things that involve food safety or products for their children. They’ll pay a premium for those. As their economy gets stronger, a lot more people are buying it. The import market is a multibillion-dollar market. That’s overnight shipping from the U.S.—it’s a multibillion-dollar market, just to get products that aren’t available locally.
What’s happening is that their import policies are not relaxing fast enough to meet the rising demand for imported luxury products. This area has just shot off. In local Chinese news, it’s all over the place. The government just put a ban on importing iPads and iPhones so they can catch some of it, but you can’t. They’re trying to reduce smuggling, but this isn’t even that. It’s like the government has to step in to regulate overnight shipping. They’ve got much, much bigger fish to fry than this, but there’s a huge demand for this.
To bring a package here from the U.S., it’s might cost $100. If you’re an expat working here, and you have an expat salary package which is really premium, it really helps a lot with acclimation if you have access to your comfort foods, whether it’s oatmeal or Cheetos. Culturally, people have a few things that once they eat, they have no problem eating, say, stinky tofu. But people wear out. So it behooves a Chinese company to offer it as a free service.
An individual typically is like, “I don’t want to pay $100 for a box of snacks.” Ultimately, they’re not going to do it. But it behooves a company to improve their expat experience. They care a ton about that.
Say you’re hiring a middle manager on a project. Ford has a plant here. So let’s say on the Ford plant, they have 50 foreigners. Those guys are getting paid top dollar. Or the State Department—they’re getting paid top dollar. They’re getting paid decent U.S. salaries, and next to a local guy, it’s a big uptick; it’s 300% of the local guy’s salary. They tell them, “Get the nicest place you can. Get a nice apartment.” They’re very much into giving them a really nice experience. They’ve only got them there for a few years. They don’t want you wasting time, you know, being grumpy. It also affects the way locals view you. If you’re constantly complaining—like “I hate this food”—what happens with these guys, we call it “expat trauma.” They become very isolated. It’s very common that expats get together and have gripe sessions. It really behooves a company to alleviate that. In our experience, food is the number-one thing that affects people. Other things are important too: Children’s medicine, say.
Where do you want GoGo Luggage to be in a year or two?
There’s an uptick in the U.S. market for this. It’s trending because of domestic airline policies. But the big trend is international. With our competitors, too, international services is really important. We offer this, but you have to call it in. You have to spend five minutes on the phone. It’s worth the five minutes, but it doesn’t have a really simple two-click option. So we think very quick rate checking is first hurdle.