Schäfer Airport Retail GmbH has officially opened two stores under the ‘Move’ concept at Düsseldorf International Airport (DUS). A third outlet is due to open in March 2021.
TRBusiness was the sole travel retail media in attendance yesterday (27 January) for the inauguration of the 100sq m Pier A store and 79sq m Pier B outlet at the airport, which handled 25.5 million passengers in 2019.
The contract for the Pier A and Pier B stores is seven years, while the agreement for the Pier C outlet is for six years.
As reported, the DUS stores and Cologne Airport landside outlet are operated by German travel retailer Kirschner Airport Shops. Kirschner runs a number of other shops at both airports, including a Haribo outlet in DUS (Terminal 1 Public Area) and a press, books and souvenir store in Cologne Airport (Terminal 1 Security Area).
Founded in 2003, The Schäfer Group expanded its line of business in 2018, to include airport retail, as first revealed by TRBusiness. In addition to the new DUS stores, Schäfer Airport Retail operates two stores in Stuttgart Airport (one airport and another landside), one shop in Hannover Airport (landside), a shop-in-shop in Cologne Airport (landside) and a temporary airside outlet in Nuremberg Airport. At present, the Nuremberg outlet is located at non-Schengen immigration, but will move to a new location opposite the duty free store before the start of the summer season.
TRAINING AND SALES FOCUS
John Woodhouse, Schäfer Airport Retail, Managing Partner told TRBusiness: “The store brand, merchandising and planograms is only half the work. The other half is training the staff, selling the products and interacting correctly with customers. This is what we must start working on now.”
The core offer in both stores includes Sony and JBL, the two largest brands in the sound segment and Bang & Olufsen in the premium sound sector. Other labels include Logitech, SKROSS, Italian accessories brand SBS, Sony and Thule.
Woodhouse commented: “The core offer is the same in both stores, but we have more space in Pier A and have been able to extend the range into more brands. There are more gadgets, more Logitech products and Logitech Gaming. We have also been able to insert more cables and accessories and grow the range in that regard.”
The interaction area is arguably the focal point of the Pier A store. “We have Sony PlayStations and a JBL smart sound area with smart speakers and headphones.”
Located immediately after security, this means that 100% of passengers coming through Pier A walk directly past the store entrance. “People’s eyes are attracted towards the store because of what we have done with the interactive screens,” Woodhouse remarked.
“What we are trying to do is get passengers to look into the store and look left when they come through security. The screens and interactive area play a major role in encouraging people to stop and take a look. It is then up to the staff to convert them into shoppers.”
The different passenger profiles in Pier A and Pier B at Düsseldorf International Airport, could require the company to regular adjust the product range to accommodate the needs of customers. Pier A, for example, mainly operates flights to business orientated destinations including the main European capitals and regional cities.
Pier B is much more leisure focused with several Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Greek destinations. “Pier B is more leisure orientated and customers are clearly purchasing different things,” emphasised Woodhouse.
Once the Pier C store opens, Schäfer will be catering to mostly long-haul Asian and Middle Eastern customers. “Sometimes, you only realise after opening a store that you have the same product range in one shop at a pier as you do in another.
“Normally, it is quite easy to determine customer requirements soon after opening, so the range within the brands can be tweaked accordingly.”
Quizzed by TRBusiness on any planned adjustments to the DUS stores, Woodhouse remarked: “We will never be 100% satisfied. Any retailer that says they are completely satisfied is resting on their laurels. Yesterday was the official opening of the stores and we have accomplished around 95% of what we needed to do.”
He added: “We will obviously continue improving the stores. There are one or two things that have taken a little longer to achieve, but we are only talking a matter of days to put them right.”
In the current climate, several DF&TR stores place a strong emphasis on digital. The two stores in Düsseldorf Airport are no exception with several screens promoting the Move concept and the various brands on offer.
Joachim Schäfer, Managing Director, Schäfer Airport Retail GmbH commented: “From my point of view, we run electronic and tech stores. If you run a tech store, you must have the latest technology to sell products. We have to lead the way in digital signage and talking to customers through digital routes in-store.”
Digital concepts not only help sell products on the shop floor, but can also serve as analysis tools. In addition to implementing a Samsung Smart Screen in the Pier A store, Schäfer Airport Retail has installed Samsung MagicINFO, a platform for digital signage to manage entire content and devices with a single solution. The platform features connected 3D cameras, which capture customers’ motions and activities.
Schäfer explained: “The MagicINFO concept enables us to analyse heat-maps of where customers are standing in the store and analyse sales data. Initially, the analysis will be undertaken by Samsung. Then it will be our responsibility”
The development of strong partnerships with retailers such as Kirschner, airport operators such Flughafen Düsseldorf and the various brands, help make such openings possible. Woodhouse said: “It is a real trinity in action. We are working with retailers, brands and airport authorities to build some good-looking stores, which the airports and retailers are satisfied with.
“As you have seen, the brands represented in the Düsseldorf stores are very satisfied with how the stores and their brands are looking.”
The relationship between Schäfer and Kirschner Airport Shops started with the opening of an electronics shop-in-shop in Kirschner’s Cologne Airport bookstore. “Based on the success of that and the relationship between the two companies, we tendered with them here in Düsseldorf. It was a joint tender, but Kirschner have the lease, employ the staff and operate the store on a daily basis with our ongoing support.”
Dr Martin Kirschner, whose company Martin Kirschner GmbH, operates airport stores and serves as a press dealer told TRBusiness: “We are happy and proud to have this partnership and to open two stores in Düsseldorf and one in Cologne. The locations of the two airport stores are great. We are excited about opening of the third one.
“It is important to emphasise that the Pier A and Pier B shops have only been open a short while. The assortments will probably change after a few months, with some brands coming in and others going out.”
Pia Martina Klauck, Head of Commercial Operations, Düsseldorf Airport told TRBusiness: “The partnership with Schäfer and Kirschner Airport Shops is absolutely fantastic. There is Schäfer which knows the business, Dr Kirschner who knows the airport and Flughafen Düsseldorf, which runs the airport.
“We are working closest with Kirschner on this project as they are the tenant. At the beginning, we were asking a lot about the partnership with Schäfer as you never know how a partnership will go. Kirschner was were very convincing and clear, open and transparent on how it would function. They had a lot of good answers to our questions.”
Stay close to TRBusiness for extended interviews with John Woodhouse, Schäfer Airport Retail, Managing Partner and Pia Martina Klauck, Head of Commercial Operations, Düsseldorf Airport.