Shop shakeup

The airport shopping experience has changed forever. Tom Batchelor looks at evolving passenger preferences and the tech being developed to meet them

Augmented reality is one of the new technologies that airport retailers are keen to roll out – seen here in use by ARI in Bahrain

The retail experience for airport passengers is rapidly evolving and businesses hoping to entice travellers are under pressure to keep up. Gone are the days when the promise of duty-free shopping was enough to tempt travellers to spend.“Airport retail today looks nothing like the souvenir shops and fast food stands that dotted terminals in the 1990s, before tighter security measures required passengers to spend more time on the air side of security,” said Michael Hirschfeld, co-lead of JLL’s National Retail Tenant Services Group. “Shopping has always been a big part of the travel experience, and now retailers and food and beverage companies alike are finding ways to capitalise on the captive audience waiting for their flights.”

The retail experience in an airport is vastly different to a High Street and outlets which expect to employ the same tactics across both spaces will be left disappointed. In 2022, businesses must compete with the latest technological advances to ensure they are maximising their potential. Developing an omnichannel retail strategy – one which creates a seamless shopping experience whether it be online, via app or in person – will become increasingly important as shoppers expect better integration between digital platforms and bricksand-mortar shopping.

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