Tales of transformation and two-storey grandeur in Singapore

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I’m back in London, albeit temporarily, after an exhilarating few days in Singapore to cap off nearly a month in Asia.

I was in the city-state to report exclusively on the launch of the new-look KrisShop, a comprehensive brand revamp of the travel retail platform that features a new website, KrisShop.com.

The launch event and a brilliant two-day pop-up exhibition that showcased some of the site’s distinctive features were held at Raffles, one of the great hotels of the world, just reopened after a 20-month closure for refurbishment and modernisation. An appropriate setting them for a well-executed and thought-provoking relaunch of Singapore Airlines’ long-established retail platform.

(Left to right) KrisShop CEO Chris Pok; The Moodie Davitt Report Founder & Chairman Martin Moodie; Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong; and KrisShop Chairman Campbell Wilson pose for a social media photoshoot

You can read my full report in our next eZine but in summary I consider the ‘new’ KrisShop both a timely play and a compelling one. It addresses key consumer themes of today’s travel retail sector – including localisation, provenance, exclusivity, CSR, and a sense of discovery – while offering the ease of use, convenience and speed that any e-shopper now expects as of right.

KrisShop is, of course, a partnership between an airline (Singapore Airlines), a travel retailer (3Sixty) and a ground services provider (SATS). Each party has skin in the game (Singapore Airlines 70%, the other two 15% each). It’s an interesting model involving shared risk and, hopefully, reward – a contrast, of course, with the traditional concessionaire model involved in the other key Singapore travel retail story of the moment, the Changi Airport liquor & tobacco concession, for which bids close on Monday.

On my way out of Singapore on Thursday night, I spent a couple of hours walking Changi Airport Terminal 3, including, of course, the main DFS liquor & tobacco offer, a superb duplex store that underlines why the LVMH/Bob Miller owned retailer has earned so many plaudits here during its long, long incumbency.

In the near future we will know if DFS’s decision to not take up a previously agreed contract extension and rebid (at a lower price) will pay off or whether Changi Airport Group will be lured by a higher bid. The answer to that question may well lie in just how wide the gap between the two is. [UPDATE: Well, as we now know, DFS chose not to bid at all, a decision that sent shockwaves through the industry after our exclusive story revealing the three bidders, Lotte Duty Free, The Shilla Duty Free and Gebr Heinemann, on Monday]

The DFS store is one of three adjacent duplex stores at T3, being complemented by The Shilla Duty Free’s high-class beauty shop (pictured directly below) and the stunning Louis Vuitton boutique.

I had only viewed the Vuitton store in photographs (I usually don’t fly out of t3). They do not do it justice. It is quite simply stunning, its ever-changing digital façade a piece of retail magic. I watched numerous travellers taking selfies or pictures outside the store, and numerous shoppers going into it. It’s a brilliant combination of a great brand proposition, an instagrammable experience and a thrilling affirmation of Changi Airport’s justifiably renowned shopping offer.