The recently published Travel Retail Consumer report by analysts at m1nd-set, Future trends impacting travel retail, offers several insights which might inform airport and airline retail strategies.
Their report suggests that airlines and airports might want to plan their digital and social strategies around VR, AR and Social.
M1nd-set expects greater digitalisation of the shopping experience “will emerge more prominently over the next year.” That includes making further investments in CRM programmes, developing more retail and service APPs, a continued focus on making omnichannel retail seamless, and boosting the resonance of social commerce with Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and chatbots.
More than eight out of ten shoppers (83%) said digital presence and experience are as important as the in-store experience.
With travel coming to a stand-still over the past two years and non-essential retail accessible only online, consumers relied more on digital channels. They forged new shopping habits, which endure after reopening.
But it’s not just about the retail channel. This trend toward greater retail digitalisation also suggests that digital-only products will rise in popularity and demand.
What does that mean for airports and airlines?
M1nd-set suggests airport retailers “meet and service shoppers online first and attract them into stores when they next travel.” Products such as “e-books, vouchers and tickets to destination-based experiences, inflight and/or onboard services for airlines…photography and artwork or films and music” are expected to grow in the months ahead.
Airports that support online shopping with terminal pickup and airlines that offer IFE content and in-flight meal purchases through their apps will have an advantage. But airlines and airports may consider introducing digital-only items, either unique products or special discounts. These will encourage users to keep the app installed on their devices and engage with it frequently. “Many low-cost airlines have reaped the rewards of this niche for some time already,” M1nd-set points out. “Retailers in airport retail can also benefit, with the right strategy in place to meet the consumer digitally first with time, location and destination relevant communication and advertising.”
“Brands can also meet consumer expectations and enhance the customer experience, with digital-first encounters, such as virtual distillery tours, educational programmes about the sustainable production processes that then entice the shopper to learn more and purchase a sustainably packaged or produced travel retail exclusive in-store when next travelling.”
More than half (53%) of shoppers interviewed say they prefer an omnichannel shopping experience, compared to only 37% in 2021.
M1nd-set also suggests that developing VR and AR experiences that support your retail strategy will help take the stress out of travel for returning passengers post-COVID while offering helpful edutainment content. Highlighting the sustainable origins of some featured local products, or offering bar-code activated videos that better explain the application of certain cosmetics, for example, will entertain and entice. M1nd-set believes there are ROI gains from VR and AR development.
- More than half of shoppers globally say they value experiences more than products
- Among Millennials, the tendency is higher still, with seven out of ten shoppers leaning towards experiences.
- Consumers are considerably more likely to purchase products online where the shopping experience is more interactive and immersive through AR.
- One well-known e-commerce platform reports that products displayed with AR content demonstrating use have double the conversion rate than products without AR.
M1nd-set also identifies social commerce as “a major trend that will evolve and grow significantly throughout 2022,” with growth driven primarily by Millennials and GenZ consumers.
The social commerce market grew by more than 30% in some developed markets in 2021 and is expected to more than double in market size over the next four years.
“Meeting shoppers where they are, whether on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Tiktok, or via live streaming services, is proving to be hugely successful to major brands who invest in social commerce and social media advertising. In China, the most commonly used platforms among consumers are Douyin, QQ, XiaoHongShu, Pinduoduo, and WeChat. Both in China and elsewhere globally, the younger generations will account for the significant majority of spend on social media platforms in 2022,” m1nd-set states.
- Eight out of ten shoppers discovered a new product while on social media.
- Around two-thirds of shoppers globally who use social media say they have purchased a product via a social media platform in the past year.
- Two-thirds of those who bought something through social commerce say they purchased the product following an advert they saw on social media.
- Facebook and Instagram are the most popular platforms for making purchases through social commerce.
- Around a quarter of shoppers interviewed said they had used Facebook and two-fifths said they used Instagram.
- Less than 10% said they had used other platforms such as TikTok, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat.
- Of those who did bought something through social commerce, two thirds said they would do so again.
The most common categories purchased on the social commerce platforms include video gaming, toys and leisure activities, jewellery and watches, fashion & accessories and books, including e-books, m1nd-set states.
“As with other aspects of digitalisation, such as livestreaming and personalisation through sophisticated CRM, consumers will be using social commerce more and more frequently to make their purchases. Social media location tracking tools enable brands and retailers to target consumers easily when in or near an airport. The opportunities are endless, but failure to meet the consumer in a place where he or she is increasingly used to shopping will mean brands and retailers risk forfeiting considerable sales opportunities,” m1nd-set concludes.
By Marisa Garcia