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Travel Retail Design

This month, I thought I’d talk about travel retail design, especially as August is when many of us jet off on our annual holiday. At Innovare Design our passion lies in making a wide range of retail environments enjoyable for the consumer and commercially effective for the retailer. And our success in travel retail design stems from over a decade of working on international airport retail projects.

Over the years we have witnessed the transformation of airports, from flight ‘waiting rooms’ into exciting retail destinations in their own right. Gone are the days of air terminal boredom. Back in 2013, Mintel reported that one in ten (13%) of European travellers look forward to shopping at airports, with 34% of air passengers admitting to impulse purchases.

Of course today’s travellers – just like most consumers – are extremely savvy and demanding on price, quality and experience. So airports have needed to become as competitive as the retailers they house. Check out Airport retail: Reaching new heights from Retail Focus in which I contribute to an article about the changing face of airport retail.

So airport terminals today have to work hard to differentiate themselves – striving for exclusivity, housing luxury brands, high-end food and beverage offers as well as offering health and beauty services. And as with all strong brands, airports have begun to focus on shaping ‘experiences’ for their audiences, rather than simply crafting the environment, following in the footsteps of successful retail brands like Westfield.

The quality and extent of the retail ‘experience’ obviously has a huge impact on an airport’s commercial success. In the past, the retail offer was very much an afterthought but today it is thoroughly considered during the early planning stages of new and modernising terminals. In ‘Better by Design’ an article for Passenger Terminal World, I discuss the importance of designing non-linear retail pathways and atomized zones that allow passengers to feel in control of their route. Travellers don’t want to feel herded – they want to choose where they stop and shop. And by mixing in food and beverage offers in the retail spaces (rather than separating them) passengers can rest, relax and refuel while they shop.

Also critical in airport retail planning and design are well-placed directional signs, which help to lower stress levels and contribute to a more relaxed shopping environment. In addition, multiple and accessible flight information displays (FIDs) have also proven to increase dwell time in duty free stores, leaving the shopper free from the worry of missing their flight.

But whilst placing the air traveller’s needs at the centre of any airport retail design project is essential, so too is the successful collaboration with both the retail client and the airport (landlord). Understanding, meeting and, where possible, exceeding expectations is very important for us. Reflecting on our collaboration with travel retailer JR/Duty Free, chairman Garry Stock said:

“We have enjoyed a very successful and collaborative relationship with Lloyd Blakey and his team at UK-based retail designers Innovare Design. Together we have created winning concepts that present the Perth, Brisbane and Tel Aviv travellers with some very exciting shopping environments.”

Our aim with all the stores for JR/Duty Free has been to incorporate expert master planning with a unique sense of place together with an accent on local materials in the design. And the results speak for themselves. For instance, the new walk-through system at Brisbane’s International Terminal delivered immediate results with duty free sales up +35%. Whilst our redesign and development of 3,300sqm of duty free space at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International airport is surpassing sales expectations, and won the approval of Conde Nast Traveler readers who voted it the fourth best international airport in the world.

Oakley, Olympic kiosk

Here in the UK, at Gatwick and Heathrow terminals, our travel retail store designs and pop-up concepts continue to maximize sales for global brands Sunglass Hut, Oakley and RayBan:

“Innovare Design always achieve great results for us. They have been a part of our retail design team since 2007 and still deliver the same enthusiasm and commitment they had on day one.”   Richard Peck, Managing Director, Luxottica Retail UK & Ireland

If you’d like to have more insights on how to develop your travel retail offer then just get in touch. We are always happy to talk.

In the meantime, here’s wishing you a very happy holiday season.


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