With its recent grand reopening of the Terminal 3 Departure Central duplex store at Changi Airport, Lotte Duty Free has unveiled a new look where shopping becomes an immersive experience, blending cutting-edge technology with the allure of premium brands. The all-glass facade of the revamped store draws travellers into a dynamic retail environment, including the world’s first ‘House of Suntory’ shop-in-shop boutique, celebrating Japanese artistry and craftsmanship, as well as seamlessl
ssly integrated Hennessy and Penfolds boutiques. The Terminal 3 store also introduces revolutionary digital experiences, such as the Interactive Wine Sommelier. Here, patrons can embark on a personalised journey through the world of wine, guided by state-of-the-art technology and expert recommendations. Against a backdrop of panoramic views, Toni, the Makr Shakr robotic bartender, dazzles guests with his precision and flair, crafting cocktails that are as exquisite as they are innovative. New beginnings According to Jeff Jeong, managing director of Lotte Duty Free Singapore, the concept of redesigning the store goes back to the very beginning, when Lotte Duty Free was pitching for the tender at Changi Airport. “Our team conducted an in-depth study and observation of consumer behaviour at Changi Airport Terminal 3. We designed it with our customers in mind, aiming to create a space that distinguished itself from traditional duty-free stores,” he told Inside Retail. This is characterised by the sense of openness that welcomes travellers right from the glass facade. “Our vision was further enriched with interactive and fun-tech attractions on the upper deck. These were designed specifically to create a unique retail journey, fostering positive interactions at each touchpoint,” he added. These elements were key components of its proposal, demonstrating a commitment to offer a novel and captivating customer experience from the very beginning. Jeong went on to say that the exclusive shop-in-shop experiences with brands such as the House of Suntory, Hennessy, Penfolds, and Pernod Ricard significantly enhance the travel retail experience. “These unique spaces provide the brands with an excellent platform to communicate their brand stories and deliver distinctive experiences to their target audiences. We hope these positive experiences in our shop-in-shop setups can turn satisfied customers into brand advocates,” he said. According to Jeong, the team meticulously selected these brands based on their brand heritage, compelling storytelling, and exceptional design capabilities. “This collaboration gives our stores a competitive edge as the exclusive location in the region, offering unique and limited products not found elsewhere,” he stressed. Technology matters The interactive wine sommelier is another interesting facet of the store. “The Lotte Interactive Wine Sommelier was created to assist our customers in discovering the right wine according to the food and preparation method, offering this service conveniently within a retail environment,” he pointed out. This technology offers personalised recommendations based on individual tastes and food pairings of travellers, significantly enhancing the overall experience. It turns wine selection into an engaging and customised journey. Toni, the Makr Shakr robotic bartender, has also been a success at the Terminal 2 duplex store. Jeong said that Toni has been very well received so far and has been a creative medium for drink launches and samplings in the store. “The positive response from customers highlights the potential of robotic innovations in travel retail. These technologies not only provide efficiency and precision but also add an element of entertainment and novelty to the overall shopping experience,” he opined. The bigger picture Things are always changing, and the world of retail in the travel industry is no exception. Jeong said that consumer behaviours and market conditions have evolved rapidly in the post-pandemic era. “We leverage technology and efficient data utilisation to create a customer-centric retail space. This is achieved through digitalisation, creating unique experiential and interactive engagements,” he elaborated. He said that the store at Changi Airport is more than just a retail space; it’s a new landmark. He believes it sets global benchmarks in travel retail by offering innovative shopping experiences, exclusive brand collaborations, and cutting-edge technology. “This significantly contributes to our reputation as a premier duty-free shop, redefining what travellers can expect from airport shopping,” he noted. With a presence in 21 locations across seven countries, including an online platform, providing a consistent and exceptional shopping experience for travellers, both in physical and online arenas, is paramount for Lotte Duty Free. Jeong said that the team achieved this through a unified brand experience, both in physical stores and online. To develop a seamless shopping experience, IoT (Internet Of Things) communication has become an integral part of the shopping journey. “Besides the physical and online stores, we have also developed the LOTTESG app to consistently engage and incentivise our customers, providing a seamless shopping experience,” he revealed. Ultimately, the retailer’s collaboration with Changi Airport authorities is centred around a shared commitment to enhancing the passenger experience. “We work closely to integrate our multisensory design and retail offerings with the airport’s services, ensuring a seamless blend of world-class retail and innovative services. This close partnership contributes to creating a holistic and enjoyable experience for passengers at Changi Airport,” he concluded.