Here are some retail tips for if you’re thinking of setting up shop at an airport.
To get your concept approved at an Airport do the necessary homework to create a well-researched and well-defined retail concept. Second, remember that just because a concept works in a mall does not mean it will work in an airport. The best airport business proposals are the ones that include a thoughtful, thorough analysis of the product, how it appeals to the target airport shopper and how the business will be visually merchandised and managed. In the end, if you give the airport management a clear and thoughtful analysis of your business, you’ll have a much better chance of getting your concept approved and launched.
Retail concepts that are easily understood by shoppers and fill a niche for the traveling public tend to perform better than others in an airport setting.
Concepts or products that achieve the strongest sales traditionally complement the existing merchandising mix and fit the demographic profile of the travelers and visitors in that particular area of the airport. For example, international travelers taking off from Terminal X may represent a drastically different demographic than the value flier in Terminal Z.
You need a business plan. At a minimum your plan should cover in detail your previous retail/business experience, financial and market analyses, a proposed start-up timeline, and sales projections. Additionally, your plan should outline a well-defined concept, including specifics on your proposed product/category assortment, visual merchandising plan and pricing strategy (including price lists).
It is not recommended that retail entrepreneurs with no previous retail experience start off in the airport environment. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. However, Retail is Detail would advise you first test your concept at a railway station or establish a sales history in a mall, for example, before you pitch your concept to an airport.
Try to get your concept or kiosk in a post-security area (after passengers clear security). Retailers benefit from having a captive audience of potential customers. In many airports with concession programs, dwell times (from arrival at the airport to boarding a flight) range from one to one-and-a-half hours, so passengers have ample time to shop.
Be realistic plan for slower sales at the outset, with the expectation to grow sales steadily as you learn and adapt to the airport environment. Be careful to not overreact to initial difficulties. Resist the urge to add or subtract merchandise or change concepts without giving the business the proper timeframe to develop.
Most specialty retail purchases at airports are not planned expenditures; the majority of purchases are based on impulse. For optimal success, we recommend that your location radiates the look and feel of an upscale boutique, with a visually attractive, high-end appeal, clean and neat (clutter free) merchandising and easy accessibility to products. Live by the saying, “less is more and more is less.”
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