URUGUAY/ARGENTINA. ODG, the Dubai-headquartered global retail and branding design consultancy, has been commissioned by duty free concessionaire Bernabel Trading to create a new 3,000sq m duty free store onboard a ferry that transits between Uruguay and Argentina.

Bernabel Trading, operating as Rio de la Plata Duty Free, manages travel retail onboard several Buquebus ferries sailing between Uruguay and Argentina

ODG said that through the way it addresses compact spaces and critical flow management, it is bringing a highly innovative approach to the project. Each product category will present “a unique narrative that enhances the customer experience and takes them on a journey of discovery and excitement”, the company said.

ODG General Manger Hugo Vanderschaegh said, “With the average passenger’s free time of just 30 minutes during the crossing between Uruguay and Argentina, removing any purchase barriers and adopting an innovative ‘Stop, Engage, Close’ strategy was imperative.”

“We challenged ODG to create a new concept that will raise the bar in the industry” – Bernabel Trading Director Martin Laffitte

Making waves: The vibrant new design is intended to raise the bar for onboard retailing

To capture passenger attention, guide them throughout the offer, engage and convert their curiosity into a shopping experience calls for an inspiring design and flow, ODG said.

“The duty free outlet on the new passenger ferry will be a milestone within the onboard duty free industry,” claimed ODG. “Ultimately, the inspired design and unique customer experience for the industry will attract brands that will find a fantastic platform to showcase their image and products.”

Bernabel Trading, operating as Rio de la Plata Duty Free, manages travel retail onboard five ferries sailing between Uruguay and Argentina

The company said that its core planning strategy was to create a walkthrough duty free environment where passengers are guided from entrance to exit through all the categories. All along the journey, the design and layout are designed to promote impulse buying. It also focuses on cross-selling display and engaging activations, including nail and make-up stations, brand HPPs, tasting counters, a cocktail bar to enhance customer interaction and purchases.

Middle East template?

The project is intended to set a global benchmark in onboard duty free, and one that also has tremendous potential for replication in the Middle East, ODG said.

With the focus on increased urban mobility, the Middle East region is investing in convenient modes of transport, including passenger ferries, metro and urban rail, each of which presents an opportunity for travel retail to maximise revenue for the transport operator,” said Vanderschaegh. “The additional value that we deliver to the experience onboard the passenger ferry is a model that can be adopted in the region.”

Ferry fashion: Clear delineation of categories,including a well-ranged fashion and accessories offer, is integral to the design and flow

Bernabel Trading Director Martin Laffitte said: “Following the success of our previous duty free store with ODG, we challenged them to create a new concept that will raise the bar in the industry. They came up with a new customer flow approach and a great creative design that will deliver a fantastic experience for our customers and brands. We look forward to launching this new duty free store.”

Bernabel Trading Director Martin Laffitte: “ODG came up with a new customer flow approach and a great creative design that will deliver a fantastic experience for our customers and brands.”

Trinie Simonsen, Director of travel retail consultancy Crystal Consulting, which has worked with ODG on the project, added, “Today’s traveller expects to be met with both retail excitement and convenience at any travel hub, being ferry, train station or airport.

“Developing and revolutionising shop designs and adjusting the product mix to the passenger profile, as well as providing total flow managing, are therefore key elements for customer satisfaction – and maximum travel retail revenues. ODG understand these needs and knows how to provide practical solutions that benefit all parties.”

Flow management key to design

Given that ferry passengers embark and disembark in one wave, as opposed to the steady stream at airports or train stations, ODG focused particularly on flow management (including cashier positioning). POS counters are distributed around the space to ensure that customers do not give up on their purchases due to time constraints. Portable points-of-sale are also being set up to manage visitor flow during peak times.

Bernabel Trading offers a broad range of duty free categories onboard, including perfumes and cosmetics (the biggest sector), liquor, tobacco, gourmet food, confectionery, toys, fashion apparel, accessories and others.

ODG (www.odg-design.com), which also has a presence in Singapore, offers a wide range of services for the retail industry, from intelligence, branding, design and digital solutions to project management.  It has been involved in projects across 25 countries.

The company offers strategic and design consultancy to global brands, retailers, shopping malls, real estate developers, and concessionaires. It places a special focus upon retail and ‘retailtainment’ in travel retail, transport hubs, and F&B operations.