Embracing retail trends at the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition and Conference

2nd July 2019

We had a great time at the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition and Conference in Singapore last month where we met up with a few existing clients and discussed some exciting potential projects with prospective customers too.

TFWA Asia Pacific Singapore skyline at night

We also made time to enjoy some presentations about the future of travel retail and particularly enjoyed the plenary discussion on leveraging the power of digitalisation and personalisation – factors we have discussed often on the blog as we perceive them to be crucial when developing a unique and sustainable retail offer.

The plenary session began with Executive Vice Chairman of Sixty Duty Free, Roberto Graziani, who suggested that:

“The development of smartphones and tech has dramatically changed the retail industry in the past few years and will certainly continue its impact. So, the question is how we can grow the industry in a healthy way.”

We agree that it is important for retailers to explore new ways to engage with travellers, using both beacon technology and omnichannel strategies to engage with smartphone users, whilst also creating travel retail environments that appeal to a traveller’s sense of discovery and adventure. It is also important to integrate digital strategies with physical, in-store experiences, hands-on multi-sensory activities and engaging shopping environments, which showcase a strong element of place that is unique to each
travel location. .

Graziani was followed by Przemyslaw Lsniak, CEO of Lagardère Travel Retail Pacific, who shared his personal experiences of living in the Australasian Region and how these events challenged his perspectives and drove him to make positives changes within his business. He proposed that travel retailers should be doing more to engage with customers, asserting that it is clearly their responsibility to ensure that they are successfully engaging with consumers:

“When at the airport, the traveller belongs to everybody, so we all have a part to play in the creation of a seamless experience. This takes long term thinking; it needs hard conversations about using omnichannel, but the winners must always be the travellers.”

Two thought-provoking presentations that gave us plenty to think about and bring back to apply in our work here at Barber. As retail technology and the use of smartphones have advanced, our work has has become so much more than simply physical design. We are creating experiences and customer journeys, both online and offline and it is vital that we are able to understand consumer
Habits. Attending a conference like TFWA in Singapore gives us a great insight into different demographics and types of customer behaviour in other parts of the world, along with a deeper understanding of growth areas within the travel retail industry. If you were at the conference we’d love to hear your take on the proceedings and what you enjoyed the most – let us know in the  comments section below.

Picture credit: Mike Enerio on Unsplash