In this unprecedented period where DF&TR store developments are hard to come by, specialist German retailer Tripidi has commenced full operations of the Frankfurt International Airport Terminal 1 outlet (Z gates behind security) where it was previously a sub-tenant.
Tripidi had been running a 50sq m space in the store operated by Swedish book company Pocket Shop since 2015. It finally assumed control of the full outlet spanning 125sq m on 5 February 2021.
Founded in December 2012, the company, which launched its first WeChat Mini Program to provide a convenient shopping solution for its Chinese customers last September, opened its inaugural store at Frankfurt Airport in October 2013.
At the same time, it also introduced a click-and-collect service (arrival/departure) and global home delivery concept. In addition, Tripidi runs a fully-fledged online store providing free worldwide shipping on orders exceeding €130 ($144).
The name of the company stems from a melodic extension of the English word trip. With Chinese customers its main target group, the word Tripidi was translated into Mandarin and actually means ‘place for special things.’
STRONG AIRPORT PRESENCE
Tripidi has six stores, four at Frankfurt Airport and two at Vienna Airport. Currently, only two stores are open in Frankfurt (the aforementioned outlet it has taken over and its other T1 airside Non-Schengen shop where the B gates are located).
Jennifer Noelle, Managing Partner, Tripidi told TRBusiness: “In 2015, we decided we wanted to be in the area of Frankfurt Airport from which non-Schengen Lufthansa flights take-off.
“We moved in with just 50sq m at our disposal and put in some furniture. Four years later, Pocket Shop decided they wanted to move out and their contract was terminated last March.”
Following negotiations with airport operator Fraport, Tripidi was granted permission to take over the full space. “We have undertaken a lot of reconstruction work and implemented new furniture including Lamy and Victorinox shop-in-shops.
“The aim was to do this in March 2020 before the summer flight schedule and Easter holidays, but the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown in Germany from 16 March meant everything was put on hold.”
On the in-store assortment, Noelle commented: “Like in all our stores, we have a huge assortment of writing utensils made in Germany.”
In addition to a souvenir/gifting range, we have incorporated a coronavirus assortment for adults and kids including disinfection items, wipes for the hands and different kinds of masks. The purpose of these items is to ensure safe travel and cater to passengers’ needs.
“Besides all of this, it is a Tripidi store with the usual range of high-quality products, especially for the long-haul Asian destinations that will return soon.”
During the pandemic, the German retailer has left no stone unturned in trying to remain in contact with its Chinese customers.
“We have offered an e-commerce service with home-delivery of course and tried to keep connected to our Chinese customers via WeChat. At present, we are still working on ways to make the WeChat platform more comfortable for our Chinese customers to shop online.
“Cargo has also been affected by the pandemic, so delivery to and from China has not been easy during certain periods of the crisis.”
Outlining her hopes for the rest of the year, Noelle is confident passenger numbers will start recovering by the summer. In the meantime, Tripidi is working on a number of initiatives to keep business ticking over now and ensure it is in a position to capitalise as the recovery ensues.
“We are trying to find some new online channels to sell in and looking to resume conversations with airports we were talking to about opening stores in 2019.”
She concluded: “We are confident travel and international travel in particular will bounce back. Our aim is to be prepared for when the world can travel again.”
Regarding the willingness of the Chinese to travel internationally once restrictions are lifted, Noelle commented: “Outbound travel specialists from China indicate the Chinese population still has a huge interest in travelling abroad and subsequently shopping of course.
“We are confident Chinese travellers will return and that we will have plenty of them in our stores.”