Thomas Laroia:“We firmly believe the main benefit of digitalisation in travel retail is its ability to help us better understand, and thus better serve, travellers. Technology is the means to achieve this, rather than an end in itself. That said, L’Oréal has pioneered the use of technology in beauty with major consumer initiatives like Makeup Genius by L’Oréal Paris. We’re bringing this mindset to travel retail, but digital success is only possible if the ‘travel retail trinity’ (brands, retailers and landlords) works together in partnership.”
TL: “Yes, we have digital experts in each of our subsidiaries (Worldwide, Americas, Europe/Middle East/Africa/India, and Asia Pacific).”Do you see digital as a way for brands to engage with travellers, as a tool for working better with retailers, or as something else?
TL: “For me, digital is like the keyboard of a piano. No matter how great each single note sounds, the richness only comes through when all the notes are played together. We want to exploit technology’s full potential in travel retail. That means reaching and serving travellers but also enriching our collaboration with retailers, removing the invisible barriers between airlines, airports and retailers, and finally helping information flow before, during and after the trip. But again, these actions only have relevance if they help us serve the traveller better
TL: “So far, e-commerce and online pre-order has driven huge growth in Asia, especially Korea. As good-quality Wi-Fi becomes more widespread, other solutions will enjoy success. I’m sure beacons will be the industry’s next big thing if the airport Wi-Fi can cope! And I think our industry currently underestimates the immense power of WeChat for Chinese travellers.”FWA members via tfwa.com.
TL: We’ve seen some exciting campaigns in Brazil using airport WiFi sponsorship and promotions to drive travellers into stores. We’ve worked on this with brands like Ralph Lauren, and the results were amazing. But for me, the performance of online pre-order in Korea is the most impressive. It’s no coincidence that the retailers who’ve been the most innovative digitally (the Koreans) are achieving the best growth rates in the industry.”
TFWA Digital Village is a new initiative to showcase creative digital solutions and services to the 12,000 duty free and travel retail professionals attending TFWA World Exhibition & Conference 2017 (1-6 October in Cannes). Occupying 840m2 of prime floor space for three full days, around 30 exhibitors will have the chance to meet and do business with the leading decision-makers and senior executives of a dynamic, premium sector keen to embrace new technology.