Chocolate goes digital

24/02/2017 Mondelez World Travel Retail has recently won a Moodie Davitt Digital Award for the Best Use of Social Media by a Brand. Category Development Manager Piotr Pilui explains how the company is using technology to reach travellers.

What role does digital play in your marketing strategy for travel retail? 

Piotr Pilui: “The biggest challenge for everyone right now is turning travellers into shoppers. I see digital as a way to talk to passengers, especially the Millennials who spend more time online at the airport than browsing the duty free stores. By engaging with them digitally, we can attract them into the outlets and get them shopping.”

How does digital have implications for retailers?

PP: “It can have a positive effect on traveller perceptions. Retailers need to have something attractive in-store that excites shoppers, something that they’ll want to share on social media with their friends. It’s a form of free advertising, and earning consumer endorsement means a lot. Word-of-mouth is a powerful medium.”

Can you talk about how you’re using digital at the moment?

PP: “A good example is the campaign recently launched in Madrid-Barajas Airport for Toblerone Messages. We’re working with retailer Dufry to target travellers at every stage of their journey, using a customer database to email passengers about the activity pre-departure. Advertising on Facebook and Instagram spreads the message further, with imagery of the promotional pack and a call to action. Once they’re at the airport and through security, travellers receive push notifications via an airport smartphone app to come and visit the store. And finally, we’ve rented space in Dufry’s terminal 4 shop where travellers can take a picture (effectively a postcard from Madrid) to share on Twitter with the hashtag ‘Say it with Toblerone’. The promotion’s still underway but already the passenger feedback has been fantastic.”

Why has travel retail been slower to adopt digital and mobile technology than some domestic players?

PP: “I think there are two aspects. Firstly, when travel retail sales were rising fast pre-2015, there was less need for innovation. The recent political and economic difficulties in places like Russia and Brazil have made things tougher, so the industry’s now more motivated to develop other sources of growth. Secondly, a new generation of shoppers are looking for better experiences in duty free. These people are our future bread and butter, so the industry understands it needs to listen. One final point on digital from the brand-owner perspective is that we cannot engage shoppers on our own. We need the supporting infrastructure, which is where airports and retailers play a vital role. No Wi-Fi means no campaign. It takes a ‘trinity’ approach.”

TFWA Digital Village is a new initiative to showcase creative digital solutions and services to the 12,000 duty free and travel retail professionals attending TFWA World Exhibition & Conference 2017 (1-6 October in Cannes). Occupying 840m2 of prime floor space for three full days, around 30 exhibitors will have the chance to meet and do business with the leading decision-makers and senior executives of a dynamic, premium sector keen to embrace new technology.