Singapore’s Changi Airport Group is leveraging one-of-a-kind products, exclusive events and omnichannel offerings to reinvigorate its retail business as travel picks back up in the region. Its latest initiative, the inaugural World of Wines and Spirits (Wows), is a case in point. The company recently teamed up with Lotte Duty Free to showcase over 200 of the finest products from more than 75 brands, including first-in-the-region rarities from renowned labels, at the airport and in a specially
ly built online portal. The extensive e-catalogue includes rare gems from esteemed brands like Bowmore, Midleton, The Singleton and Penfolds. Patrons can expect a personalised shopping experience, with airport or Lotte shopping concierges reaching out to serve them. Running from 30 September to 31 December, Wows includes masterclasses hosted by industry experts, a silent auction, as well as a VIP event, which was held at the end of October, and allowed guests to sample a select range of rare and fine items. The initiative is part of Changi Airport’s growth strategy, following many months of travel bans and border closures. “Travel has been picking up progressively and we have been busy ramping up our efforts to tailor memorable and unique retail experiences for our passengers, which include our latest programme, Wows,” Teo Chew Hoon managing director, airside concessions at Changi Airport Group, told Inside Retail. Teo Chew Hoon, managing director, airside concessions at Changi Airport Group Selecting rare products The catalogue that was developed for this campaign was a feat in itself. According to Teo, it was a thoughtful process with Lotte Duty Free and its brand partners, which took close to a year to craft, curate and finalise. The team focused on a few key elements during the selection process, such as providing variety in the range, which came in the form of the types of spirits and wines, and also, the regions they were from. They then looked at the rarity of the items, based on whether they were part of special collections, rare cellar releases, limited quantities or were they from a ‘silent’ distillery and no longer widely available. “Take the Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Chapter (US$45,000) which is from a distillery that has closed its doors since 1975 and is now achieving a mythical status for the whisky collector,” she noted. The team also looked at the craftsmanship and story behind each item, which made these items even more exquisite and exclusive. Some of the items come with extremely intricate and beautiful packaging. For example, the Tales of The Macallan Volume 1: The Laird of Easter Elchies (US$85,500) is an homage to Captain John Grant, who brought the influence of nature and community spirit to the brand’s renowned single malt. Encased in a Lalique crystal decanter, the rare 1950 whisky is concealed within an extraordinary book telling the story of Grant and featuring beautiful illustrations by Andrew Davidson. “The ability to get access to such rarities is something we, together with our partners, pride ourselves in, and believe that our customers will deeply enjoy,” she added. Returning to travel According to Teo, air travel has recovered steadily since Singapore re-opened its borders to fully vaccinated travellers without testing or quarantine in April. She expects passenger traffic to get back on the trajectory of growth towards pre-pandemic levels. “Travel sentiment has been positive both locally and internationally. Passenger traffic has increased steadily and September’s passenger traffic has surpassed 60 per cent of preCovid levels,” she noted. She explained that the reopening of Terminal 4 and partial opening of Terminal 2 will give it the capacity to support its airline partners’ efforts in restarting services and launching new routes, which are critical for it to capture post-pandemic demand for air travel. “The recent border easing announcements by key markets such as Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan will certainly help in travel revival as well. Last October, the airport launched ChangiPay, Changi’s digital wallet that allows customers to make payments seamlessly and safely while earning Changi Rewards points and weekly as well as shopping perks. Onwards and upwards The airport is nearing pre-pandemic levels of operations, with almost all the shops in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 open, while those in Terminal 2 and Terminal 4 will progressively reopen in tandem with travel recovery. “With the uptick in passenger numbers, we are also kick starting conversations on Terminal 5’s retail business,” she revealed. Teo reiterated that one of the key factors to the success of Changi’s retail business is its focus on creating and securing omnichannel experiences for its customers. “While the online experience is essential, we find that an omnichannel experience is what our customers value most. Offline showcases allow for greater interaction between brand and consumers,” she noted. Ultimately, marrying an online component helps to bring greater convenience to the shopper and extend the experience to a wider audience. One prime example is its ongoing Changi 1st shopping programme of first-to-market launches that includes immersive pop-up experiences at its transit terminals and online on iShopChangi. “Additionally, the World of Wines & Spirits is another of the many omnichannel strategies Changi Airport Group has rolled out to continually attract and excite our customers, in an improving travel climate,” she concluded.