SOUTH KOREA. In a major digital communications and commerce initiative, Lotte Duty Free today introduced a complete revamp of its online platform.

The retailer described the move as a pre-emptive development for the post-coronavirus era.

“You can’t let go just because the road to the sky is blocked”

Lotte Internet Duty Free has been transformed into a ‘content commerce’ platform, in the form of a storytelling magazine – something the Korean number one and world number two travel retailer said was a first for the duty free industry.

In addition, live/video commerce, digital services using AR/VR, and more advanced product recommendation service and search functions have been introduced.

After developing the system for about eight months, Lotte Duty Free formally unveiled the new-look platform today, adopting the phrase, “You can’t let go just because the road to the sky is blocked” (하늘길 막혔다고 손 놓고 있을 순 없다).

The biggest feature of the renewal is the enhancement of digital experience elements and improvements to customer convenience.

By introducing a large number of content and service additions that embraced advanced digital technology, the retailer said it can provide differentiated digital experiences to customers once overseas travel is normalised.

Conversion to ‘content commerce’ for the first time in the duty free industry

Through this renewal, Lotte Internet Duty Free claimed that it had become the first duty free retailer to provide ‘content commerce’.

It has changed to a storytelling-type magazine by reflecting the characteristics of the MZ generation [Millennials, born 1981-1995 and Generation Z, born 1996-2005] who purchase products through content consumption.

This represents a move away from the conventional “one size fits all” product display approach that has historically emphasised the discounted price of products, Lotte Duty Free said.

A Lotte Duty Free spokesman added, “We tried to transform the space into one that can be visited at any time to enjoy content, rather than an app which is simply visited according to need before departure.”

He continued, “In order to improve the delivery of mobile content, we have also tried to improve the UI (user interface) and put a lot of effort into it.”

Online story telling: Clem Kim, a painter and an artist, loves to wear Crocs when she’s working. Randomly scattered colours & vivid lines become a unique design element. Shoppers can check out Clem Kim’s Crocs customisation story online, one inspired by Salvador Dalí & her own free spirit, and then choose from an extensive range of the on-trend footwear.

In line with this development, Lotte Duty Free today introduces a new ‘Live’ page. It is notable for the introduction of digital content that targets the MZ generation – the core mobile commerce customer.

On the live page, the ‘LDF Show Host’ selected by Lotte Duty Free comes to the fore. The retailer said that it plans to introduce various new duty free items such as ‘cost-effective’ cosmetics and baby products in the form of video on demand (VOD) in addition to real-time duty free sales broadcasts.

Try on sunglasses with AR and experience the store with VR

One of the new digital experience highlights is a virtual sunglasses fitting service using AR (augmented reality). This service, developed together with ESTsoft, allows consumers to try on sunglasses virtually after face recognition through a smartphone camera.

Some 300 products are currently available through AR. Lotte Duty Free plans to expand and introduce the service to more categories through further collaboration with other AR technology companies.

Korean beauty brand Sulwhasoo is presenting a virtual experience space for its flagship store using VR. Inside this virtual space, consumers can gain a 360 degree view of the Sulwhasoo store interior. They can then click on the displayed item to check detailed product information.

The sku is connected to the Lotte Internet Duty Free Shop so that shoppers can purchase the product directly.

Another standout is a more advanced product recommendation service and search function. Lotte Duty Free has introduced a personalised product recommendation service that analyses each customers’ purchase history, average consumption amount, and preferred payment method. In turn, it recommends products and partnership benefits that fit respective consumption patterns.

In addition, by strengthening the search function, the enhanced platform recommends popular brands and products to audiences by gender and age before searching, subsequently providing appropriate content that reflects individual customer data.

Other improvements include ‘Jimkkong Service’, which automatically pays for initially out-of-stock products as soon as they are received; limited edition sales; voting discounts; and group purchase functions.

Promotional blitz

Lotte Duty Free is holding various events to celebrate the relaunch. These include a live duty free sales broadcast to be held at 8pm on 29 July, offering a KRW10,000 (US$9) discount for a ‘flight to nowhere’ to the first 100 people.

A lottery during the live broadcast will offer a range of prizes, including Byredo Mojave Ghost and Diptyque fragrances, plus Signiel luxury hotel accommodation vouchers.

Lotte Duty Free CEO Lee Kap said, “As the ecommerce market is rapidly evolving, we are moving into an era of hyper-personalisation, which we plan to develop further.”