Travel retail is definitely not for beginners

As a retail company, you may think the missing part of the cake can be found in Travel retail, and that you can just cut and paste all the strategies applied to the point of sale in the local markets and apply them to Travel retail, but I´ll tell you what, it is not a land for beginners.

With a massive retailers consolidation scenario, negotiations are getting extremely tough between brands and retailers and this reality affects all involved in the chain, including us, retail agencies and shopfitters. Spaces are limited, expectations are high and budgets are tight… but still, there is something magical about creating shopping experiences at airports.

Shoppers behave differently towards your display, there is more appreciation and involvement.

Many pilot fixtures and retailtainment initiatives are tested in this channel, and once you get it right, Travel retail can represent an important percentage of your company income.

We wanted to find out more about the TR industry in a global way, in order to better understand our clients and the reason of such pressure, so we went to their Meca: the TFWA, a trade exposition fair happening in Cannes at Le Palais de congress, (also where all the movies stars once stepped out. Pure Glam.)

2 days of the 4 exhibition days were not  enough to see 516 exhibitors, with 25% of them being Perfumery and Cosmetics brands, our main client profile. We saw the strong presence of Asian exhibitors and many Korean visitors. Indeed there´s a TWFA happening in Singapore, but the Cannes edition seems to be the number 1 choice for brands and retailers…and consequently, for retail agencies & shopfitters.

There was also a digitalisation atmosphere, something that for Travel retail was always a slow run towards the local market. We were hypnotised by a suitcase following, almost magically, his owner though the expo corridors… funny gadgets, big investments.

Regarding the business meetings, usually the big companies are protected by closed stands, so when planning your potential client agenda, make sure you book a spot in advance. There are few chances to speak to someone if it is not scheduled, even knowing that the best deals are done in informal environments…

As said by Erik Juul-Mortensen, TFWA president, the TR industry objective is to over-deliver on the expectations, and so is ours. We have listened to our clients, got inspired by the Asian brands, investigated the digital possibilities, and basically, mingled with the duty free universe.

May you want to be part of this universe, contribute to the industry and extend ( I would even say upgrade) your portfolio,make sure to add the expo to your 2019 calendar ( and to book your hotel room way in advance!)

Lígia Rolim

International Business Development
& Retail Consultant

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