Interview: Creating the perfect customer experience in travel retail

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Creating the perfect customer experience has never been more important in the travel retail sector. With that in mind, the 2.0 & Partners Customer Experience Management (CXM) service is tailor-made to help take our partners’ in-store experience to the next level, with a combination of training and insights developed especially for the travel retail sector.

CXM combines our dedicated Strategic Mystery Shopping service and our Retail Academy 2.0 under one umbrella, to create a complete service support offer. With research from ACI showing that a 1% increase in shopper satisfaction can lead to a 1.5% increase in revenue, this is the perfect time to let our expert team help you unlock the full potential of your space and your instore team.

Here, 2.0 & Partners Head of Customer Experience, Italy, Erika Giannini speaks to Chief Content Officer Chris Madden about how the CXM service is tailored to meet the needs of the modern travel retail market.

With more than 15 years of experience in the retail sector, Erika is perfectly placed to guide the training and experience side of the 2.0 & Partners business. Starting her career as a store manager while at university, she then worked as Retail Area Manager Italy with Max Mara Fashion Group, before launching her career as a freelance consultant, dealing with retail training, coaching and customer experience improvement. She has a degree in Work and Organizations Psychological Sciences, a Masters in Retail & Store Management and is a third level master in Business & Corporate Coaching.

20partners SMS-Portal Interview: Creating the perfect customer experience in travel retail Journal  Strategic Mystery Shopping Retail Academy 2.0 Customer Experience Management (CXM)

Why is customer experience so important in the market today?

Erika Giannini: Customer experience is becoming crucial for physical stores today. Firstly, it represents our primary competitive advantage over digital stores, and it also is a significant asset  in influencing the customer’s purchasing decision process. Today’s consumer is not only looking for products or services but also experiences, emotions, and entertainment. Being able to provide a memorable customer experience not only facilitates immediate purchase but also helps build loyalty to the store

How can the 2.0 & Partner CXM service help?

Our service is capable of providing 360-degree support to retailers in enhancing the offered customer experience. Through mystery shopping activities, we can conduct a detailed and precise analysis of the service provided to the customer, pinpointing strengths and areas for improvement with accuracy. This enables us to subsequently implement tailored training programs designed to work on those identified areas of weakness.

In your opinion, what sets great customer service apart in an airport environment?

What makes the difference is the ability to combine excellent selling ceremony with the specific needs of the passenger. Key considerations, in contrast to a domestic context, include sensitivity to the time factor, the ability of sales staff to understand the moods and purchasing behavior of the customer, which can vary significantly depending on the type of passenger (frequent flyer, business traveler, leisure traveler, etc.), and also the ability to interact with and manage multiculturalism.

How does the 2.0 & Partners CXM service work?

The element that characterizes the 2.0 & Partners service the most is customization, both in Strategic Mystery Shopping activities and in the Retail Academy. First, we strive to accurately understand the client’s needs and the specifics of each present commercial context and format. Subsequently, we develop a tailored observation tool to measure the level of customer experience offered. Then, based on the results of the Strategic Mystery Shopper activity and through an in-depth discussion with the client, we design training programs capable of meeting specific requirements. All the results and insights for the Strategic Mystery Shopping are available on our dedicated digital platform and our Retail Academy offers ongoing staff engagement via our mobile app, to ensure partners have all the data and tools at their fingertips at all times.


Do you think people will always have a key role in travel retail?

Yes, I believe that the human factor will continue to be an important asset in retail in the future. One cannot speak of delivering an excellent customer experience without the relate benefits  and added value that personalised consulting represents. Especially in the travel sector, where sensitivity to aspects such as multiculturalism and the customer’s mood becomes crucial, human intervention, if competent, up-to-date, and properly trained, will remain a key factor.

How will that change, in your view, in the future?

I believe that the future will be shaped by a strong interplay between the digital and physical, which store staff will need to skilfully manage as an opportunity, evolving the sales process in that direction. Sales associates will need to transform themselves into brand ambassadors and have a deep understanding of all customer touchpoints with the brand. Certainly, new skills and a strong growth mindset will be required. There probably won’t be room for those who remain anchored to old practices and do not position themselves for active listening to consumer needs, sometimes having the foresight and sensitivity to anticipate them.

To find out more about the Customer Experience Management service from 2.0 & Partners, click here, or contact Erika on