How to create the perfect experience for travelling shoppers

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By Marco Passoni

Creating the perfect impression and experience for travelling shoppers is more important than it has ever been.

At 2.0 & Partners, our international team spends every day airside to ensure we understand every part of the customer experience, and how it impacts our partners’ business.

Nowhere is this clearer than in our Strategic Mystery Shopping service. Our mystery shoppers reflect the passenger mix of the airport they are assessing and walk in their shoes to provide in-depth and actionable insights which can enhance the shopper experience and take it to the next level.

Figures from ACI have shown that a 1% increase in shopper satisfaction can lead to a 1.5% increase in non-aeronautical revenues, so it is vital to get every detail right for your customers.

While many of the insights we uncover are tailored to the stores, airport and customers in question, there are some lessons we see appear time and again.

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The importance of visual presentation is obvious, but getting it right goes beyond just making the store or restaurant look fresh, inviting, and exciting for customers. A clean and organised location is a must; it is the bare minimum that shoppers expect. But excellent presentation has a halo effect on the whole airport experience and that goes beyond just the furniture to the staff as well.

When we assess busy F&B operations, for example, queues and tables which need clearing are a fact of the business. But when there are staff dealing with queries and attempting to clear tables, the customer experience is drastically enhanced. Seeing a member of staff creating clear tables and helping to clear lines inspires confidence in those shoppers or customers who are waiting or passing by.


Variety is key here – always. The look and presentation of the store will set up the appeal for shoppers and creates the initial impact, but it is the offer itself which turns interest into engagement and engagement into sales. The lack of an exciting offer, or one which feels different and bespoke, is one of the most common concerns we come across – the airport experience should feel like an expansion of the trip itself, not an afterthought.

No matter how good looking a shop is, consumer interest will evaporate if they cannot find anything which appeals, or if it looks like a carbon copy of another store.

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People are central to an excellent experience in a physical store – this is not news. But how they can impact the shopper experience is something we see first-hand over and over in airports during our assessments. First off, staff care can overcome some shortcomings: There will always be occasions when a product or service is not available, but management by staff who present as genuinely interested and reactive can stop this becoming a negative experience for shoppers.

On the other hand, brand knowledge is the key to elevating the shopper experience to the next level. Being able to direct shoppers to the right part of a store is one thing, but the best staffing experiences deliver personalised insights and a service which exhibits dedicated care for the individual shopper.


The deciding factor in the quality of an airport experience is often more what you cannot provide, than what you can. Managing issues with care and attention will mean you can keep customers on-side and well-trained staff can redirect shoppers to an available service or product which they might also like.

Furthermore, price is always a key factor in the overall quality assessment. While it is not discussed enough in the market today, price is a key deciding factor for many shoppers – it must be clearly signposted and offer an advantage over domestic and other channels.

To find out more about how our Strategic Mystery Shopping service can provide in-depth insights into your business, which will help take it to the next level, click here.

You can also find out more about our Retail Academy, which provides dedicated training for in-store staff.

Marco Passoni has decades of experience in the travel retail sector. He has spent the majority of his career in senior leader positions throughout the market, including a 12-year tenure as CEO of a leading international Duty Free distribution company and a further 8 years running a retail firm that operated fashion mono-brand stores in several international airports.
Today, as Senior Executive VP and founding partner of 2.0 & Partners, he leads the company’s efforts in developing and innovating services which create new opportunities and partnerships for all members of the travel retail Trinity. A former elite-level sailor, with a World Championship to his name, Marco now spends much of his time airside, experiencing the changing travel retail industry first-hand, to better guide partners and clients on the best way to do business in this vibrant and unique market.