A time for opportunity in the duty free and travel retail market

It was a packed house for the first morning of education sessions.

It was standing room only as yesterday morning’s education sessions kicked off. People were eager to hear from experts in the industry, who shared their insights into the state of the global climate and its effects on the duty free and travel retail industry, as well as ideas for maximizing sales potential.

“Growth Opportunities in the Americas”

Martin Moodie, Founder and Chairman of The Moodie Davitt Report, moderated the first session of the morning, featuring panel speakers Gustavo Fagundes, CEO of Dufry Brazil and Bolivia; Erasmo Orillac, CEO of Motta Internacional; and Abe Taqtaq, Vice President of Windsor-Detroit Tunnel Duty Free Shop Inc. Across the stage, the group represented more than 95 years of industry experience.

The discussion focused on an overview of the current state of the industry and future expectations, and making sure the positives outweigh the negatives. “The media usually focuses on the challenges, but within that, there are plenty of opportunities,” Moodie said. “We need to focus on the positive in an ever-changing, turbulent world.”

A major topic of discussion was the best way to tailor the travel retail shopping experience to the consumer of the future, currently gaining increasingly more spending power: the millennial generation.

“For millennials, we need to focus on the products and services we’re providing, on preselling and using ways to sell that are digitally connected — anything to enhance the business of the future,” Orillac said.

For this group, it’s also about engaging the shopper, making emotional connections, and creating experiential experiences in stores with unique products that tie to specific geographic areas.

“It’s important to make an emotional connection to a brand. Millennials are paying attention to political and social issues surrounding companies and making buying decisions that way,” said Taqtaq.

Martin Moodie also addressed the elephant in the room: the current state of American politics, with a president at the helm who promises to build walls but not bridges, while also pledging to improve the infrastructure of the country’s airports. “What is the impact of Trump’s America on our industry?” Moodie asked. “Oh, and no alternative facts allowed.”

The only certainty, according to this panel of speakers, is uncertainty. Travel restrictions and their impact on the airline and travel industries — anything coming our way that’s disruptive means changes are being made, they believe, and we should all hope those changes lead to stronger economies.

Moodie wrapped up the session by asking each panelist what his one wish would be to transform the industry. For Abe Taqtaq, it’s about better collaboration with suppliers and beyond. For Erasmo Orillac, the focus should be on working better on the governmental and customs side, to have input into the factors that can be controlled.

For Gustavo Fagundes, his wish is for stronger partnerships across all links in the chain, from suppliers to retailers to government channels. “These partnerships are key for us to keep relevant and keep on growing,” he concluded.

“Sales and Customer Insights: Maximizing Your Potential”

Directly following the panel discussion, Christine Martin, Managing Director of Travel Retail Training, and Peter Mohn, Owner and CEO of m1nd-set, offered their take on ways to focus on employee engagement to increase sales opportunities in the duty free and travel retail arena.

Staff engagement does not equal staff satisfaction, according to Martin. And when a sales employee is fully engaged and more than just satisfied, that person will put more effort into the job — which can have a direct, positive impact on your sales.

Mohn offered an example of entering an airport store to buy a new phone charger when he’d forgotten his while traveling. The salesperson engaged him and offered him a less expensive version. “Some people might see that as a mistake by the salesperson,” Mohn said. “But as we walked out, he asked if I had children. I told him I did, and he showed me some walkie-talkies that were on sale. I may have only spent $10 on a cheaper charger, but I then spent $90 on a pair of walkie-talkies.”

Research conducted by m1nd-set has shown that 59 percent of travel retail shoppers worldwide interact with sales staff while shopping in the store. Of those, 66 percent of those who interacted with staff say their shopping behavior was positively influenced. The question, according to Mohn, is: How do we get to 100 percent? The answer? Make your employees feel more engaged and fulfilled, and they’ll show you results in your bottom line.

  • Martin offered a list of the top-line benefits of having an engaged sales force:
  • Happier, healthier, more fulfilled employees.
  • More likely to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty levels.
  • Mutual gains and “win-wins” for the organization and sales staff.
  • Physical, mental, and emotional well-being identifies discretionary effort, going the extra mile.
  • Those who feel valued add value.

Martin also identified three targets of employee engagement: intellectual, affective (feeling positive about doing a good job), and social. And the changing nature of work offers employees the freedom to innovate, to further engage.

Martin and Mohn agree that employee engagement is the key to increasing your sales. By engaging your workforce, according to Mohn, customers will spend 23 percent more in your stores.