The power of taking a creative approach to partnership

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The first Formula 1 Grand Prix of the season in Bahrain showed off more than just cars – there was a ship there too. As part of a new partnership between MSC Cruise and Formula 1, the cruise company’s ships are visiting some Grand Prix circuits during race weekends to “leverage Formula 1’s growing global fanbase”, as MSC’s Adrian Pittaway put it.

I have to applaud this. It is exactly the sort of unique and ‘out of the box’ approach to partnership which this global industry needs more of. Much more.

Too often I walk through airport stores and think – as customers must too – ‘why are there not more new and exciting products here?’ Time and time again, research shows us that unique products and prices are a major reason why shoppers visit travel retail stores. But still, we do not invest in properly delivering them.

Too often, customers must think: Why are there not more new and exciting products here?

Price is at the very heart of our industry and, as I have mentioned before, it seems to be a subject which we shy away from talking about or truly delivering on. This is something we have to overcome, but I am a big believer that properly delivered partnerships can actually help us deliver the price and value excellence that shoppers demand by creating a truly unique and bespoke offer.

This demand for uniqueness is only going to grow. The boom of digital and the growing importance of the metaverse are changing shopper perception and demand when it comes to what they buy and why. Not only are ordinary products available with a simple Click & Collect, but these platforms are leading to more creativity and demand for collaboration from consumers.

 

20partners decentraland The power of taking a creative approach to partnership Uncategorized  metaverse

Today’s shoppers want something which captures their attention with the promise of true, innovative newness. Even better if that newness comes from something they recognise: Look at the excitement the recent Adidas and Gucci collaboration announcement caused.

All of this is something which travel retail can cater to in a very specific and exciting way.

This unique, global marketplace is a melting pot of cultures and brands. It brings together names and concepts which would never be seen next to each other in any other setting. But we must go beyond that. We need to not just put these products and flavours next to each other, but combine them to create something truly special.

All too often our ‘exclusive’ products in travel retail and duty free are simply domestic products with a fresh label. That is not good enough anymore – especially when the opportunity for real exclusivity generation is right there before us.

More and more travel retailers are beginning to bring in local flavours to their stores and this creates incredible opportunities for brands to make something tailored to both the travel retail sector and the local market. What could represent the magic of our industry better for shoppers?

More and more travel retailers are beginning to bring in local flavours to their stores and this creates incredible opportunities for brands to make something tailored to both the travel retail sector and the local market.

Small and niche brands are struggling to break into the market due to space issues and fears over whether they will deliver the needed conversion. If they are not coming in, then the brands which are in place need to start looking around for how they can create newness. Not just for themselves, but for the wider market. If shoppers do not find newness then they will go elsewhere.

The importance of this is easy to see. Take a look, for example, at the global success of the Fortnite and Balenciaga partnership; bringing together two different world set the whole world abuzz with excitement.

But this requires breaking down the walls we have long restricted ourselves with and creating something truly different. This new world we are working in requires new ideas. It is time to be creative.

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.