Adding critical ‘meters’ to the airport shopping experience

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

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During his superb presentation at the recent Trinity Forum in Macau, Zürich Airport Chief Commercial Officer Peter Eriksson (above) produced a telling slide that he suggested could act as a useful indicator of whether the industry’s retail ‘experiences’ actually lived up to the billing.

He called it ‘Retail experiences – Love places & Hate places’.

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We liked it so much that we asked Peter if we could adopt it in The Moodie Report and call it The Moodie Eriksson-ometer. Typically modest, Peter said he required no credit but that we were welcome to use his grid.

So we did. In the October (Cannes show) issue of The Moodie Report Digital Print Edition out on Friday we unveil Peter’s work under the working name of The Moodie Consumer-Meter (it’s work in progress and we may fine-tune both the name and the classification – we welcome your feedback). And we intend to apply it to the many stores and airports we visit.

We will score 10 points for every ‘Love Places’ box it ticks (and it really must tick then, not simply prove acceptable) and, just as importantly, -10 for every ‘Hate Places’ the location.

You can’t score, say 3 or 5 out of 10 (that, we believe, would lead to too much subjectivity) – you either score or you don’t. So the best score a store could get would be 100. The worst -100.

So how, for a trial exercise, would the new Biza Tax & Duty Free store that we visited on its Grand Opening day yesterday rank? The WDF-run outlet is certainly easy on the eye, but how do both its appeal and its shortcomings stack up?

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Let’s take a look. Remember our scoring is based on a whistle-stop rather than detailed tour of the outlet but nonetheless we think the exercise worthwhile. Most travellers, too, are on a whistle-stop tour of the tax & duty free store. Often they whistle straight through it without stopping. In too many cases they don’t enter at all.

THE MOODIE CONSUMER-METER – BIZA TAX & DUTY FREE STORE, MANCHESTER AIRPORT TERMINAL 2

Love places:

1. Authentic = 10 points
2. Innovative = 10 points
3. Local flavour
4. Exciting = 10 points
5. Full service = 10 points
6. Surprising = 10 points
7. Social shopping = 10 points
8. Green* = 10 points
9. Value = 10 points
10. ‘Unstore’ = 10 points

Not a bad start – 90 points. We should explain point 5, full service. It’s not a reference as such to counter service but to level of service – for example, are there plenty of sales assistants on hand? Are they helpful? Knowledgeable? Warm? We saw enough to think Biza earned its ranking but ideally those particular stripes would be earned on a non-opening day when senior management aren’t on location.

Was Biza ‘authentic’ in the sense of an original shopping experience with credibility and individuality? Yes, we think so – at least in terms of the total environment and most (not all) of the categories.

* As for ‘green’ credentials, we didn’t see many on display. But we have widened that definition to include demonstrations of corporate social responsibility – and in that regard we liked WDF’s highly visible display of its One Water campaign (sales of a bottled water of the same name generate funds for play pumps in African villages) near the main point of sale.

But ‘greenness’ is an area we are going to be focusing on more critically in future rankings. Travel retail’s green credentials are not only woefully inadequate overall but they are also out of step with the momentum that is happening in most other sectors of the travel industry. 

Hate Places: (Remember this is where you don’t want to be scoring points).

1. Empty or crowded
2. Aggressive selling
3. Sameness
4. Boring
5. Bad (no) service
6. Unfriendly staff
7. Lonely shopping
8. Grey
9. Cheap
10. ‘Store’

Biza ticked none of the negative boxes, the most common of which we believe will turn out to be points 3 (sameness), 5 and 6 (staff related) and 10 (‘store’ – the feeling of being in yet another shopping silo).

Biza could have been marked down in, say, its confectionery and table wine offer on point 3 (nothing new, original or compelling here) but our score is based on the overall offer. The overall in-store vibrancy, lifted in particular by the ‘Contentainment’ programme and the Champagne area, ensures Biza escapes negative ratings on points 3 and 10.

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We didn’t, as mentioned, get to test the service, but previous experience of Manchester Airport and Biza suggests there would be no problem here.

So there you have it – a 90 point ranking on the test version of The Moodie Consumer-Meter. We welcome your feedback as we fine-tune the system.

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