Mondelez World Travel Retail (WTR) is looking to take its digital ambitions to the next level. To do this, it is inviting airports and retailers to partner on breakthrough initiatives that address the challenges in travel retail.

Speaking at The Trinity Forum* earlier in November, Mondelez WTR Head of Category Planning Ivo Knuesel highlighted the potential in collaborations between the Trinity and technology companies: “At Mondelez, we stopped using the term ‘Millennials’. Instead, we refer to shoppers in travel retail as next generation (‘Next-Gen’) travellers who are defined by their connectivity, habitual frequency of travel, and desire for shareable experiences – not their age.”

“‘Next-Gen’ travellers are looking for authentic brand experiences; and when it comes to shopping, they want to bring home something original, exclusive and personalised,” said Knuesel. “To connect with them, we must endorse fundamental digital elements, such as digital engagement, social media as well as e-commerce, in our holistic strategy.”

“It is crucial for the industry to find a way to capture spend from those Static Connected travellers” – Ivo Knuesel

‘Next-Gen’ travellers, he added, fall into either the Active Connected or Static Connected category. Active Connected travellers switch ‘seamlessly’ between the digital and physical worlds, sharing their real-world experiences across different social media platforms. “These individuals can be drawn to duty free stores by a combination of digital and physical engagement – we just have to find the right triggers,” Knuesel noted.

“On the other hand, Static Connected travellers are those who will never enter the stores, no matter how much we try to engage with them, physically or digitally. They anchor themselves to a seat at the departure gate, in a lounge or at a café, passing the time using their mobile phone or tablet.”

Knuesel revealed that Mondelez WTR is set to tap into the expertise of start-ups and the insights of retailers to bring digital technology solutions to the airport duty free environment.

By doing this, the company aims to address the challenges that travellers – both active and static connected – represent to unlock new opportunities for growth.

Mondelez International has designed and successfully run programmes to bring together entrepreneurs and leading retailers to transform consumers’ retail experience through technology in domestic markets such as the USA, Canada or Germany. The aim of such initiatives is to discover how emerging technologies can better connect shoppers with brands.

In his presentation, Knuesel noted how such collaborations can work in travel retail. For the launch of the travel retail-exclusive Toblerone Messages range, Mondelez WTR worked with a start-up to develop a photo box with an interactive digital screen, powered by artificial intelligence and augmented reality features.

According to Knuesel, the introduction of this photo box ‘significantly’ amplified the results of the launch, delivering double-digit incremental revenue growth on top of the increase from the new product offer. It also generated record levels of shopper engagement, said Knuesel.

Knuesel said that digital engagement, such as the Toblerone Messages photo box pictured, can trigger conversion and drive incremental growth with Active Connected travellers

“The Toblerone Messages launch, supported by collaboration with a start-up, is a prime example of how Mondelez WTR took proactive steps to deliver breakthrough innovation in travel retail. The key takeaway is that digital engagement – one of the three pillars of our digital strategy besides social media and e-commerce – can trigger conversion and drive incremental growth with Active Connected travellers,” Knuesel emphasised.

“Looking to the future of airport retail, however, it is crucial for the industry to find a way to capture spend from those Static Connected travellers. Is there hope for this type of passenger? We think so, but getting them to enter the stores – among other industry challenges – requires more breakthrough innovation, and certainly a collaborative effort from all Trinity stakeholders.

“We look forward to working with airports and retailers who are keen to leverage the potential of an initiative with Mondelez WTR in search of the next big thing. Our expanding digital team is primed to help the travel retail industry take positive steps towards becoming future-ready,” Knuesel concluded.

Interested parties, please e-mail Ivo Knuesel, Head of Category Planning, Mondelez WTR, at iknuesel@mdlz.com.

*Note: This week’s e-Zine (publishing later today) will feature extensive coverage on The Trinity Forum.