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(formerly Counter Intelligence Retail)

We specialize in global traveler statistics, data driven insight, and activating against trends for all major categories sold in duty free and travel retail.

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The Importance of Research in Travel Retail

This month at CiR we are celebrating 10 years of providing quality market research, data and insight across all channels and key categories in travel retail. 

October 2015 | by Alison Hughes, Research Director

Together with our brand and retail partners, we have helped develop some of the industry’s most celebrated retail transformations and helped to bring incremental retail sales value and increased shopper engagement to the channel.

To continue enticing travellers with a targeted travel retail offering and to improve on the existing marketplace, brands and retailers need to be even more considerate of the global traveller.

Understanding the traveller

The starting point with any research project is to fully understand the different types of traveller and shopper profiles – particularly as these shoppers and consumers are ‘borrowed’ from their respective domestic markets. They are travelling for a sole purpose (i.e. to reach their desired destination) and represent a captive target audience for brands and retailers.

Aside from the non-shopper, CiR have divided the different types of traveller into five key profiles:

     1.  The window shopper - “Duty free doesn’t offer me anything that I can’t buy at home”

     2.  The browsing shopper - “I might buy something in duty free if the price is right”

     3.  The planned shopper - “I know what I’d like to buy from duty free and the categories I’d like to visit”

     4.  The core shopper - “Duty free is part of my airport experience”

     5.  The big spending shopper - “I love shopping in duty free as there is always something new and exclusive to buy”

Using a combination of both quantitative and qualitative research, deployed in the target marketplace, a series of statistically reliable and deeply explored results are generated, helping to uncover the psychology behind different traveller profiles’ behaviours and motivations.

Building the strategy

Once the necessary traveller and shopper insights are gathered to understand the different shopping experiences, how this works within each category and in the overall store environment needs to be considered.

There are typically three main pillars to a successful category strategy:

Shopper marketing enables a deep understanding of shopper behaviour and the building of brand equity and store presence to engage the consumer.

Merchandising excellence advances the shopping experience through better range assortment, planogram alignment, fixture design, communication and display.
Consumer marketing initiates new product developments, packaging and communication innovations, alongside pre-store marketing and in-store promotion.

CiR then works with brand and retailer partners to provide them with the right tools and incentives to sell more products via a brand-led ‘push marketing’ strategy – and also to help drive consumers into the outlets with a ‘pull marketing’ approach by using category and shopper behaviour insights.

Ultimately, maximising ease-of-shop, optimising category development and providing the different shopper profiles with an exciting and memorable experience can have a positive and direct impact on sales, as well as brand and retailer relationships. Frequent research (i.e. at least per quarter) can boost business growth by 30.7% and profitability by 19.9%*. When implemented correctly, market research can be a powerful catalyst for change and industry progression.

What’s next?

Market research is designed to help identify prospects, guide communication, minimise risks, measure reputation and establish trends.

The need for research to uncover future opportunities and to discover how best to address them from a shopper, category and store perspective will be an essential part of any business in travel retail – particularly as we head towards a new era in the industry. The ‘future store’ will embrace the next digital age, an increased number of travellers with new and varying expectations and even more brand and retailer innovations.

To connect with the different shopper profiles in the store, it will become crucial to identify with the traveller along the entire journey: from booking, right the way through to boarding – and beyond.




If unspecified: CiR database