Flexible airport retail design for transitory spaces

Photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash

Following on in our series of posts about airport retail, this week we take a look at how the commercial spaces in airports must apply flexible airport retail design in order to keep their offers fresh. They need to be able to respond to fast-moving tastes and changing passenger profiles with flexible designs that can be tailored or adjusted regularly without undue exertion.

The airport retail area should be adaptable in its own right. The right size, the right shape and the right height so it can be regularly restructured and redeveloped without too much effort or expenditure. Flexible, reconfigurable units and shelving such as those we recently blogged about at the Euroshop Retail Trade Fair are essential in order to be able to respond to and provide for continual change in retail use and demand. In addition to this the store needs to be clearly defined as a retail area and not a compromised mixture of processing, seating, shopping and gates. Clear branding and signposting help to delineate this distinct area just as other areas within the terminal are defined, such as the check-in hall or baggage reclaim.

Airport retail designers should take a leaf out of other retailer’s books when looking for successful formats. The most successful malls in the world are those which are constantly redeveloping their designs in response to the ever-changing mixture of consumer demands and retail trends. Brands must innovate to stay on top – hence retail spaces must acknowledge and be able to accommodate this, in order to offer a richer customer experience and retail journey.

Likewise, the commercial areas of the airport terminal must also allow for such changes and be able to facilitate constant change. Duty free stores, luxury brands, cafes, kiosks, pop-ups and promotional concessions should be implemented within an agile environment which is not heavily constrained by permanent architectural structures.