Getting the balance right in Glasgow

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

Of all the ‘regional’ airports we’ve travelled through over the past couple of years, we think Glasgow Airport offers one of the very best duty free shopping experiences.

The Moodie Report was at the Scottish airport recently to witness the opening of the latest phase of an ambitious £31 million terminal expansion. And while we were there we stopped in to view the redeveloped duty free store in the expert hands of World Duty Free General Manager Scottish Airports Carol Neaves (pictured below).

Carol is passionate about her job and brings a fantastic enthusiasm to the role, as well as an innate professionalism. Thanks to a new centralised security facility, the new, walkthrough store serves both international and domestic passengers. “Every single passenger who departs Glasgow Airport now has the experience of World Duty Free,” Carol told us.

More importantly, it’s a nice experience. The concept of ‘walkthrough’ is not necessarily the no-brainer it seems. Some consumers simply don’t like the notion of being ‘coerced’ through a shopping offer when all they want to do is get to their gates.

The trick is to do it as subtly as possible. At Glasgow, it’s quite clear how to get through the shop and to your gate. You don’t need to show the slalom skills of a Winter Olympics skier to avoid the retail but there are plenty of temptations along the way to lure you into some shopping.

We liked the ‘Content-tainment’ wall (above) very much. A series of plasma screens bring brand messages dramatically to life – as epitomised by the visuals for Auchentoshan (Scotland’s only triple-distilled single malt whisky) pictured here.

World Duty Free has launched exclusively a premium limited-edition 42yo expression.  Only 123 bottles of the rare vintage have been produced, each is individually hand numbered and is retailing for £2,000 (a bargain for overseas visitors given the plummeting Pound Sterling).

Otherwise it’s a matter of getting the basics right – clear segmentation of categories, good sight lines, enthusiastic and involved staff, good promotions and plenty of room to shop. Many a bigger airport could learn from what goes on here in Glasgow.

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