- Lug, the luggage travel accessories retailer that is part of the QVC stable of brands, opened its first store last week at the Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport, according to a company press release.
- The 1,290-square-foot location features the brand’s vibrant colors and prints, with touchscreen kiosks that help customers try them out, and a "water station" that sells water bottles and provides free water to thirsty travelers.
- Lug was founded in 2005 by Ami and Jason Richter, gained notoriety when Oprah became a fan, and joined QVC in 2015, the company said.
Spending in airports reached a global total of $38 billion in 2016, and that could grow another 27% and reach $49 billion by 2021, according to a report from GlobalData Retail last year. Retail storefronts account for a massive 83% of all spending in airports, according to that report.
Lug, which in recent years has enjoyed the kind of boost that only Oprah can deliver, is particularly well suited to getting attention at airports. Travelers are already primed to think about their needs and desires when it comes to luggage and other supplies and often have plenty of time on their hands for shopping — although presumably they are carting around bags that they already own.
It's a rare brick-and-mortar effort from QVC, which last year merged with HSN Inc. to create the number three company (behind Amazon and Walmart) in e-commerce and mobile commerce, with $7.5 billion in online sales and $4.7 billion in mobile commerce revenue, according to company estimates. Together, the companies say they have produced over 55,000 hours of shoppable video content and have strong positions on multiple linear channels and internet broadcast platforms.
QVC has earned high marks for delivering some of the retail industry's best overall customer experience, according to rankings assembled by research firm Temkin Group. Ace, BJ's and QVC tied for the top spot out of the 48 retailers in this year's report, each earning a score of 81% and coming in 8th place overall out of 331 companies across 20 industries. And Lug itself has received the QVC Star Award for Merchandising Excellence, among other awards, the company said last week.
The QVC-HSN merger cast a shadow over Evine, a much smaller television shopping network that earlier this year was rumored to be a target of an Amazon takeover. Home shopping is a particularly effective channel for reaching baby boomers, which is an underserved market for Amazon, according to Matt Sargent, SVP of retail at consulting firm Magid.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated Lug's relationship with QVC. It is one of the brands sold by QVC.