New cdf Global store echoes ‘customer first’ ethos of Haikou duty free complex

By Luke Barras-hill |

The cdf Global store concept is described as ‘a new phygital benchmark for travel retail’.

China Duty Free Group (CDFG) has reinforced its consumer-led approach to the travel retail experience after the company paired with The Design Solution (TDS) to open the new cdf Global store concept.

Kim Zhang, GM of Store Planning & Development Department, said: “The Haikou International Duty Free Shopping Complex is built on the principle of ‘customer first’ in everything we do, and this is reflected in the creation of the cdf Global store.

“CDFG has a powerful understanding of customer needs and behaviours, including a demand for the ease and convenience of a ‘scan and buy’ experience, particularly among young shoppers.

“However, the concept is not simply about speed and convenience, it also provides an original and exciting in-store experience. We are very pleased to be working in partnership with The Design Solution again and we are confident that our customers will be delighted with this exciting and radical retail concept.”

Elevating the ‘scan and buy’ experience

Located at the cdf Haikou International Duty Free Shopping Complex in Hainan, the cdf Global store prioritises ‘phygital’ (physical/digital) retail across four individual ‘QR rooms’ targeting four key categories: Perfumes & Cosmetics, Mother Care, Health, and Liquor.

Product displays encourage shoppers to scan on-shelf QR codes to discover more information about each product.

After items are placed in a digital basket, shoppers can confirm their purchases and make payment from the phone screen.

All purchases are shipped by express delivery to the customer’s chosen address (within China).

Shoppers also have the option to interact with store staff at a special service lounge area, supported by a number of information desks.

The 290sq m perfumes & cosmetics space is the largest of the store’s four QR rooms.

The cdf Global store blends convenience, speed and the simplicity of digital innovation within a highly dynamic travel retail environment, according to CDFG.

The concept has been created to offer a retail experience that combines the technical ease and functionality of the ‘scan and buy’ format with a theatrical and engaging in-store experience, the travel retailer continues.

That experience begins in the store’s 160sq m entry area, designed to drive footfall with the use of floor-to-ceiling digital screens and dramatic, contemporary styling.

Covering 207sq m, QR room 2 offers a comprehensive selection of health and nutrition-centred products.

From the welcome area, shoppers enter the first and largest of the four ‘QR rooms’, which incorporates a 200sq m customer service area and the perfumes & cosmetics category.

This area features a dramatic Edit Wall, which showcases a selection of products from all four rooms, serving as a ‘taster’ for the innovations that lie ahead.

QR Room 3 showcases the fast-growing mother and baby care category.

In front of the wall, four colour-coded, low-level plinths indicate the product experiences offered by each room, which have their own colour palette and materials adapted to the needs of the product range. The four rooms are further entwined through a white product display wall ribbon.

QR Room 1 is the Perfumes & Cosmetics/The Beauty Room. Covering 290 sq m, this space is dressed in tones of white and silver, to reflect the clarity and glamour of the P&C category.

QR Room 2 is Health. Showcasing a wide range of health and nutrition-focused products, this 207sq m space is features green tones to suggest nature, health, rejuvenation and growth.

QR Room 3 is Mother Care. This 206sq m spaces uses a blue palette to express the calm modernity of the product range.

QR Room 4 is Liquor. This 258sq m space blends orange hues with dark wood wall features, to evoke the liquids it hosts, alongside the suggestion of aged barrels.

While each room exudes a unique personality, many of the in-store fixtures and fittings share predominantly common structures, resulting in what is described as a highly efficient and cost-effective build.

The transition between each of the rooms is supported by two dramatic square columns, echoing the shapes used throughout the QR code design theme.

The Liquor QR room features a warm orange palette, to evoke the liquids of the category it hosts.

TDS Lead Senior Designer Christos Malecos explained: “At its heart, the performance-driving beauty of the cdf Global store is that the design blends the smart functionality of QR-code shopping with a vibrant and engaging store design.

“CDFG not only had the ambition and commitment to share our unique design vision, they also backed that up with an equal commitment to using high quality materials and craft processes. The result is that the rooms look visually striking and they are also exceptionally high quality environments creating a premium shopping experience.”

Malecos continued: “This new mall is celebrated as the largest individual duty free shopping complex on the planet, [but] CDFG’s vision, ambition and commitment has created a mall that is about much more than sheer scale. Their focus on optimising every aspect of the shopper experience is extraordinary and, as designers, we were delighted that this included a passionate commitment to achieving great aesthetics.

“CDFG has created a new retail adventure that stands with the best in the world. We are very proud that cdf Global stands out as a multi-coloured jewel in such an extraordinary setting.”

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