The next time you get off a flight, look around the airport.

You’ll see plenty of retail stores offering everything from books to food to the newest tech. This niche market gets plenty of foot traffic as travelers wait for their flights and deal with delays. Yahoo! Finance reports that high-quality shopping experiences actually increase overall flyer satisfaction, which leads some airports to view their retail stores as a way to attract more people. However, a miniature version of big-name stores is not the way to reap high sales. Airport success requires fully understanding the needs of this consumer demographic and the products that work best.

Most Important Characteristics of Airport Retail Stores

Largely, everyone is in a rush at the airport. The typical shopper browses stores for 15 minutes or less. Quick service and a store layout that enables customers to look rapidly through your selection are not optional. Location also plays a key role, as shops in out-of-the-way areas may find it difficult to move products off the shelf. Terminals and other high-traffic areas offer the best opportunities.

The Airport Retail Environment

The most common products you see in airport retail stores include luxury apparel, high-end jewelry, food and drink, travel supplies, and comfort items. The inventory consists of an easy to carry or pack selection, since most travelers need to fit their purchases in a carry-on bag or suitcase. Distinguishing your brand to attract tourist attention is vital to ensuring sell-through. The first step in this process is understanding why customers buy at certain retail shops.

Duty-free stores do not charge local or national taxes, which makes them an attractive option for high-end brands wanting to offer discounts without cutting into profit margins. When products cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, the savings can be significant. International travelers often view foreign luxury goods as a status symbol, which makes the airport stores a convenient location to purchase these products. They don’t have to take time away from their trip to pick up the shoes, suits, watches, and jewelry they desire.

Data Collection Helps Airport Retail Execution

Your airport retail success depends on many factors, from your product selection to location. Data collection tools help you optimize your retail execution by tracking inventory, resolving problems, and gathering real-time data. Know your best-selling items and discover which characteristics are most important to customers. Experiment with marketing techniques and store layouts designed to put people in a buying mood. Each airport has its own regional influences and trends to take into account. The airlines flying into the airport and the nearby popular destinations play a key role in the traveler demographic passing by.

Airport retail provides a valuable niche opportunity with a built-in customer traffic source, but you face a tough battle against existing brands. Use data collection tools to generate the necessary business intelligence to find your place in this market and drive significant sales. You might not get it right the first time, but every data point moves you one step closer to a profitable location.

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