Following on from our recent post about innovation in travel retail, today we take a look at how global brands are beginning to acknowledge the vital role of airports in presenting new opportunities for travel retail flagship stores, which in turn puts new demands on the role of the retail spaces contained in those areas.
Leading luxury brands were once reluctant to trade within airports. They were discouraged by the low quality of the retail spaces available or the uninspired mix of stores that they would be trading alongside. But recently this has changed. As designers rise to the challenge of creating innovative travel retail spaces, brands have now begun to recognise the advantages of providing a high quality storefront to the world – and flagship stores in modern airport terminals are fast becoming the shining light in many brands’ retail portfolios.
Global brands are looking for units situated in prime locations where they can make a bold statement. Generous high ceilings and large floor spaces allow them to lead the way with innovative designs which present the ‘wow’ factor to customers whilst also providing a an opportunity for their merchandise to become a focal point within the retail area of any airport departure lounge.
The challenge for design teams like Barber is to create a travel retail environment and store concept that makes an architectural statement, whilst also providing space for the retailers to flourish – thus offering a memorable customer experience and retail journey which will become an integral highlight of many passengers’ trip.
Recent retail figures imply that the exponential growth of online sales as a proportion of overall sales is finally beginning to slow down and there is evidence to suggest that despite concerns from some quarters, bricks and mortar stores will continue to be the cornerstone in retail development. When it comes to physical retail, airports have the distinct advantage over their high street equivalents as they have a guaranteed captive audience who are keen to fill some time before their flight. So by focussing on airport or travel retail propositions, retailers can bank on a long-term opportunity for physical interaction with their customers, brand, products or services.