1 September, 2015

Duty Free: Right packaging & right channel

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 The reason for this post is to share a personal fascination about all the creative ideas and concepts that pop up around us every day, in all different channels and for all kind of products. Speaking about these great ideas, a special one caught my attention a few days ago when I passed by a Duty Free store – the famous chain of stores at airports, also know by Travel Retail.

The Duty Free stores are gaining market share because they play an interesting role for the convenience and practical purchase, and I would classify the sales in this channel in 4 different groups:

  1. a good deal: when the shopper is seduced by irrefutable offers and can not resist.
  2. food & drink purchase: when traveling with a “low cost company” without checking in the luggage, we are not allowed to bring drinks or food in our hand bags – unless we buy them inside the boarding area at a Duty Free shop.
  3. a last minute gift: I think this already happened with most of us. We can be leaving or arriving, the truth is that is quite normal forgetting about someone’s name from our present list.
  4. a local gift after a fast visit/ business visit: when we did not have time to actually enjoy the local life because of a quick trip and still want to buy something special to someone, but something with a local personality.

If a company is trying to focus on a special portfolio dedicated to these ‘airport clients’, the 4 previous reasons to buy at the airport can be a great insight when positioning the product you want to have in that channel. Thinking about all the reasons above, we realize that attractiveness is an important factor for a product (as it is for all the point of sales) but in this channel, specifically, having the right packaging can be the ‘X-Factor’ to success, once in many airports we are forced to pass by the Duty Frees stores and most of the purchases happen by impulse.

I consider that in all 4 situations companies can adapt the SKUs they already have basically developing a more efficient pack (talking about size, format, easy-to-carry…etc), offering good price deals, or even creating special displays able to highlight the products in the stores. Do you remember how the chocolates, drinks and cosmetics are displayed in the Duty Frees? I feel I’m stepping in the Wonderland, and even not being a big fan of chocolate, I feel I could buy each one of those cute packs, exhibited on those astonishing and colorful displays as if they were real presents.


Local gifs & experiences

I currently live in Spain and another category that surprised me for its creativity was the “Ham & Cured Meat”. Spanish brands are going beyond the conventional to convince the clients to take home with them a local gift. The brand ‘Cinco Jotas’ improved their packaging and displays to be totally irresistible to the clients that pass by the stores. The traditional vacuum plastic packs with no differentiation or appeal gave space to new “present boxes”, with the definition of each product.




The same brand is investing on product tasting, with beautiful ‘trial stations’ and branding. Product tasting is one of the most effective Merchandising tools, in all countries.




But what really convinced me as a spectacular idea is the proposal of Tapas to Go, that created a formula to sell Spanish local gastronomy experiences with the ‘take away’ concept. For that, the brand created special packaging for clients to take with them a little bit of the Spaniard taste. Who visited the country probably tried the amazing cold tomato soup called Gazpacho, or even its Andalusia version ‘Salmorejo’. These are traditional dishes here, as ‘jamón Ibérico’ (local ham) and having the pleasure to give to someone the experience of trying it, seams very special to me.

Each ‘food experience’ pack is composed by all the ingredients necessary to bring the real flavor of the meal: olive oil bottles, bread, spoons and bowls. The ready to consume concept is one more great idea brought to life by creative brands able to identify retail opportunities.


I would love to hear about more ideas like this one. Any other examples?


Written by Fernanda Accorsi

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