Swift retail model innovation, branding and interiors

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Innovation in retail design, enhancing the customer experience for duty-free shop Swift.

A steady decline in sales, monitored over two years, across the business’s multiple global airport locations persuaded the company to take steps to find a solution. A global brief was issued highlighting the insights they believed caused the decline in sales.

The key contributory factors centred on continually tightening airport security procedures which had a huge impact on the time it took for travellers, after getting through security, to adjust and relax into a browsing and shopping mood. This, compounded with the restructuring of flight times, meant planes spent less time on the ground, exaggerating the feeling of having no time to shop.

The analogy used to describe the then current airport retail scene was “the shop fronts were like houses on a street, with people just walking by and nobody visiting”.

Utilising our knowledge of working within airports, in particular working with small format, high-density retail environments and tax and duty-free product, we were able to redefine the retail proposition; boldly taking the idea of a shop/retail concession from the concourse and designing a new retail model. Defining a modular, mobile retail system, that in essence removed the reliance/constraints of physical walls, allowed us to take the shop to the customer.

This flexibility enabled us to rethink the traditional retail floor plan and design from the perspective of the product and the anticipated movement of people on their journey through an airport environment.

We created a multi-levelled retail strategy with the benefits of:

  • Managing the flow of customers through circulation layout and product distribution; an antithesis in approach to that of the typical high street.
  • Resolving the perception of long queuing times with integrated vertical tills designed as mobile modules rather than queue barriers; and till transaction modules designed for convenience, ease of purchase and queue dispersal.

By alleviating the perceptions of time pressure through tailored product selections, queue management and helping to make purchase decisions easier, sales increased and, with its outstanding success, the new Swift concept was rolled out to various gateway and mid-concourse destinations throughout Europe as a new, innovative and successful airport retail model.

The model has been further developed and acts as a blueprint for development in airport retail.

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Successful pilot led to roll-out across Europe

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