How retailers can monopolise on airport shops this summer
Traditional shopping malls had its way with the 20th century. Big malls with big brands influenced the way we shopped. But as malls and shopping centres across the globe transform themselves into mixed-use spaces, there is one place where retail opportunities are growing every day: airports.
Airports offer retailers new opportunities to reach audiences that they might otherwise miss. With consumers always looking for ways to spend their money on holiday, travel retail has risen rapidly in the last ten years. And according to consultancy Verdict Retail, sales at airports alone are expected to increase by 73% by 2019.
At the beginning of the year, WH Smith revealed that its stores in travel retail environments had outperformed its high street counterparts over a 20-week period. Whilst in a six-month period, it had won 17 new international units with 181 international units now open, proving why brands need to make sure they include travel retail as a key part of their growth strategy. WH Smith has further upped its game in recent months with the hire of Gavin McKechnie, the former Vice President Commercial at Abu Dhabi Airports Company, as International Operations Director for its travel business.
Currently, travellers’ account for 40 percent of global spending on luxury brands, with airport malls accounting for almost 60 percent of the travel retail market. And while 96% of travellers enjoy shopping during their visit to foreign countries, 83% of them consider shopping as an important part of their trip.
Indeed, there are some sectors which benefit more from having a presence at airports. Media iQ recently used its proprietary analytics platform, AiQ, to analyse the online behaviour of users who purchased luxury retail products. The research found that the most popular items purchased by airport travelers are perfume and cosmetics (28%). Wine and spirits follow closely behind at 18%, with fashion and accessories equating to 13.5% and watches and jewellery at 12.2%.
The benefit of engaging with an audience at an airport is that you already know who the passengers are, what destination they are travelling to, in what class, and at what time. This, therefore, provides retailers with very specific details which enable them to target specific customers. With shoppers now expecting a personalised experience, to ensure success, brands must reach out to the right consumer, at the right time, with personalised promotions.
Furthermore in a growing mobile world, to engage effectively with travelling consumers, it is essential that brands are fully mobile optimised. Our research has found that 5.8% of shopping trips are currently being influenced by mobile access and this is forecasted to increase to 18% by the end of the year. More importantly, when shopping at airports, we found that 34% of travelers surveyed use their smart phones to locate the stores they are interested in. 43% of shoppers used their phone to compare prices, with the same amount searching for promotions.
One technique that brands could look to implement is hyper-local targeting, by introducing beacon technology. Beacons present a unique, cheap and simple way to identify consumers in a specific location at a point of time. This, therefore, allows brands to compile promotions and incentives to be targeted not only to a customer segment but via their location.
Ultimately, understanding your consumer is vital for digital success in travel retail. Travel retail spaces offer something no other retail environment can; a purchasing habit that is based on last minute essentials, personal treats, and gifting. Brands now have the tools available to create an integrated online and offline travel experience and those that capitalise on this will reap the rewards.