Ortlieb, the German company specializing in bicycle panniers and backpacks, started selling online via distribution agreements with pure online retailers in Germany at the beginning of this year.
In Austria and Switzerland, the new selective online distribution model will start this autumn. In the U.S., Ortlieb is currently signing contracts with pure online retailers to start selling its products from this summer.
Previously, consumers were only able to order products directly via Ortlieb's online shop and select a specialized retail store to be the contract partner for services and returns.
In 2018, Ortlieb Sportartikel suffered a setback in its legal battle with online platforms about their search engine merchandise practices, as the German Federal Court of Justice sent a case about the interchangeability of brands back to lower courts. According to the company, they had previously ruled clearly in favor of Ortlieb, which specializes in panniers and bags for cycling and outdoor activities.
Ortlieb reports that its sales increased by almost 20 percent in Germany in 2018. In the first half of 2019, the biggest growth was recorded outside Germany. At the OutDoor by Ispo show in Munich, Ortlieb reported that it plans to enter the Chinese market in the course of the next two years.
Driven by the e-bike boom worldwide, Ortlieb has developed new bags for e-bikes, which were launched in January 2019 in selected specialist stores. They sold very well in the first half of this year. The related product line will be expanded in the future, as the segment is said to be growing continuously.
Ortlieb was awarded the OutDoor by Ispo Gold award in the category of bike accessories for its waterproof bicycle pannier, which was presented for the first time at the show in Munich. It will be on sale in stores from January 2020.
The German company appointed Christian Benedikt as its new export manager on July 1. He worked previously as sales manager for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Benelux countries at Hilleberg, the Swedish tent manufacturer. Benedikt replaces Heike Bachardt, who will move to Australia. Ortlieb is currently searching for a new e-commerce manager as well as for an additional sales manager for the German market.
Ortlieb's complete production process is handled in-house at the company's headquarters in Heilsbronn, where currently 230 people are employed. Ortlieb plans to expand its production capacities and warehousing in the near future.