The Nuance Group has formally opened its latest European duty free walk-through 1,000sq m store concept at Antalya Airport’s Terminal 1, introducing a series of new ‘Boutiques’, presenting each core category as a separate department by adopting new designs and finishes, supported by personalised branded areas.
Significantly, this is a departure from the recent store designs adopted by Nuance which have reflected ‘The Worlds of…’ identity in separating the various product categories.
That the retailer – through its Nuance-Net Duty Free joint venture – has also chosen to introduce this new store concept at its most important European airport location is also highly significant. That it also plans to roll it out in Zurich and Lisbon also signals a departure from its previous store design concepts.
TECHNOLOGY AND INTERACTIVITY
In addition to an entirely new look, Nuance-Net has also incorporated technology and interactivity as a key component of the store experience, alongside printed materials and communication through LCD screens located throughout the store and customers are encouraged to use latest state-of-the-art iPad-style tablets to help their produce selection decision-making process.
Nuance says that the use of this technology within the airport retail environment is not only ‘an industry first’, but it also sets a new benchmark for the company’s core category operations going forward.
‘RAISING THE BAR..’
Commenting on the new development, Andrea Belardini, Ceo Europe, The Nuance Group said: “Over the years, Nuance has been responsible for many firsts in the travel retail industry, so the launch of our new core concepts together with these unique interactive elements, not only sets the standard for Nuance’s retail offering across Europe, but also ‘raises the bar’ for the airport retail industry too.
“In an increasingly competitive and challenging European marketplace, it is essential to further develop and invest in our business. Our new concepts represent a true collaboration with our airport and brand partners, and reaffirm our joint commitment to continuing to deliver a superior retail experience for consumers.”
Nuance says that this latest development at Antalya, ‘signifies the completion’ of the airport’s refurbishment of Terminal 1, including the creation of a new centralised security control area, which has made it possible to rethink and redesign the existing 1,340sq m retail space area.
In addition to the new ’boutique’ concepts, the store also benefits from increased customer flow and access, and is complemented by a 300sq m new Arrivals Shop and five specialty stores.
ADAPTATION AND SPACE CREATIVITY
But where Nuance really scores highly in this store is the way that it has managed to maintain good lines of sight throughout what is frankly a challenging configuration, which also incorporates low ceilings. Typically, low ceilings always causes problems for retail lighting, but Nuance-Net has done a very good job in overcoming this.
At the same time, the retailer has not been greedy with the number of free-standing floor units, leaving plenty of space for customers to pass each other freely in the aisles and browse.[See shop comments at the end of this story-Ed].
Meanwhile, Nuance-Net has also introduced several new store concepts at Antalya to showcase key products such as sunglasses, fashion accessories, luxury watches and small leather goods, which it adds will also be rolled out across the European portfolio this year.
The company has also opened two further stores in the newly-refurbished terminal, with the Turkish ID store, featuring a wide range of regional products, such as local food specialities and souvenirs, as well as a new children’s toy and candy shop, to cater to the increasing numbers of families using the airport.
AN ATTRACTIVE STORE
While Nuance-Net is obviously very proud of this store, it has to be said that its own description of its new category boutiques as ‘eye-catching’ is a pretty accurate one, with this format adopted for fragrance, Cognac, whisky, cigars and chocolate.
The retailer says this format was created as a direct result of customer feedback, incorporating a new approach to segmentation that helps customers identify ‘key hero categories’, as well as best sellers, new items, special promotions and gifting ideas presented on dedicated furniture.
Belardini added: “These new concepts have been designed to help customers navigate our stores with ease, engaging with the categories through our interactive technology and sampling zones, before making their way to the checkouts and onto their flight.”
In a statement, the company says that over the past year, it has set out to redefine its offering, ‘putting the customer at the very heart of the shopping experience’. Supported by ‘extensive consumer research’ it adds that a dedicated project team was tasked to review and improve all areas of the customer experience at every touch-point of the retail journey from store entry through to purchase.
DEDICATED NEW BRANDING
The retailer has also examined the overall look and feel of the retail environment, resulting in the creation of its new green and black store branding for the Duty Free Store, as well as introducing new generation furniture to support these new concepts.
The interactive elements introduced with the help of brand owners are – as it says – informing and entertaining for customers, in multiple languages, including English and Russian [Russians are very important customers at Antalya-Ed].
Within the ‘Fragrance Boutique’, passengers can enjoy personalised brand areas, but also easily navigate through to a specific area, whether searching for a favourite item, the latest offer or a best-seller. The top 10 fragrance brands display is also a nice touch.
The addition of the ‘Fragrance Wheel’ where testers are grouped according to specific fragrance scents, as well as touch screen tablets to find product suggestions is also impressive.
‘TREMENDOUS’ SUPPLIER SUPPORT…
Alex Anson-Esparza, Nuance Europe, Core Categories Director said: “From the start of this project, we have enjoyed tremendous support and input from our brand owners which has enabled us to develop the ‘next generation’ of retail concepts.
“From the ‘Fragrance Wheel’, which allows customers to explore and determine their ideal scent, to using the latest iPad-style tablet technology to deliver useful product information across all core categories, all successfully create a truly modern and fun shopping experience.”
Cengiz Iman, Managing Director of Nuance Net JV Company added: “The combination of improved access and flow, together with new concepts, better visibility and greater interactivity will provide a greatly enhanced customer experience here at Antalya.
“With this airport expected to handle more than 22m passengers this year, we are now better equipped to cater to the needs and demands of the growing numbers of travellers expected to use this airport in the years to come.”
As Nuance says, it has enjoyed a long-standing presence at Antalya, having begun operations at Terminal 1, thirteen years ago.
The Nuance-Net Duty Free (Urart A.S.) joint venture increased its presence at Turkey’s second-largest airport in September 2009 when it took over duty free retail at Terminal 2 [from Gebr. Heinemann] and now operates 21 airport shops across more than 3,500sq m of retail space across the airports’ two international terminals.
As part of its 230-store strong network spanning 39 countries across Europe, Antalya is the company’s most important single airport contract and the takeover of the T2 business in September 2009 represented one of the most important pieces of new business ever won by the company at the time. This is hardly surprising considering the contract has an estimated sales turnover value over the full term to 2024 of E.3.2bn ($4.5bn).
This followed the signing of the original 17-year contract with Fraport and IC Holding, which took effect on September 8, 2007 for the exclusive operation of all duty free shops at all Antalya terminals.
RETAIL REVENUES VITAL
As noted by The Travel Retail Business at the time, considering the contract is worth around $4.5bn in sales turnover over the full period when it first won the business, then it would be safe to assume that at least one third of that – if not half – will be paid to Fraport and IC Holding in concession fees over the 17-year contract period.
Interestingly – and in real terms – that corresponds to about half of what Fraport and IC Holding are paying to operate the entire airport until 2024.
But most importantly for Nuance, this is a full-margin duty free concession and the European Union is still in the early stages of talks with the Turkish Government on the latter’s desire to become a member of the European Union.
As such, negotiations are still expected to take a long, long time, giving Nuance and its partners a guaranteed decade of duty free trading – if not more – at a location where spending levels are extremely good.
Traffic prospects are also very good, with Antalya consistently rated highly by ACI EUROPE as one of the fastest-growing airports in Europe.
VERY STRONG PASSENGER GROWTH
Last year it had another strong year with passengers up 18.5% to 22,144,161. It has followed this up in 2011 with a passenger traffic increase of 14.1% in the first quarter and strong monthly increases in January (+26.6%), February (+18.3%) March (+20.1%) and April (+45.1%).
Cengiz Iman, Managing Director of Nuance Net JV Company also told The Travel Retail Business in Antalya this week that a strong feature of the airport’s passenger profile for many years has been strong high-spending Russian visitor numbers, with 2.6m in 2010 and 3.2m expected this year.
While he said that their individual spending levels are not quite as high as they used to be, Russians still spend three to four times more money per shopping basket than any other nationality of customer.
Nuance-Net Duty Free is now hoping that a forthcoming renovation of its Terminal 2 stores at Antalya – where the shops are due to be renovated in the new same design concept as T1 – will also help prove its case for a new structural design for the T1 store in the medium-to-long term.
OVERCOMING PHYSICAL CHANGES
As mentioned, the retailer really has created a very inviting and engaging store in T1, but the central terminal location does suffer a little from many internal walls which interrupt customer eye lines, a low ceiling (which may be difficult to overcome in any future renovations) and a very close 15-20-metre proximity to immigration control.
But Nuance-Net’s decision to make this a totally open store with multiple entrances is an extremely good one and particularly considering that the outlet can now be seen clearly from all of the food and beverage facilities located on the outskirts of the large terminal departures area.
With such a long-term contract, Nuance President and Ceo Roberto Graziani readily acknowledges that this will not be the first or the last major renovation for the joint venture at Antalya. But by all accounts this very latest effort in T1 is a vast improvement on the previous offering. It is also timely, coming ahead of the peak tourism season in June and July onwards when the store will face its sternest tests.
ONGOING DEVELOPMENT ELSEWHERE
Meanwhile, looking elsewhere, Nuance says it also has ongoing plans to further invest in other operations this year, with a plan to refurbish or develop more than 7,500sq m of retail space across its portfolio. For example, next month the company will add a further 2,000sq m or retail space to its Swiss operations when it opens Arrivals Stores at Zurich and Geneva on June 1.
This will be followed by a second Zurich Arrivals Store later this summer. Work is also underway to introduce new state-of-the-art walk-through concepts for Nuance’s existing Tax Free stores at Zurich, in addition to new walk-through store at Lisbon towards the end of this year.
[A full and much more detailed report on the new store initiative at Antalya Airport will appear in the June issue of The Travel Retail Business Magazine-Ed].