How smart retail could save travel retail in a post-covid world


If you work in travel retail, 2020-21 may have been one of the most challenging years in recent years. That said, we are beginning to see the world wake up once more, and people are beginning to travel. Read on to learn how smart retail could just be the thing you’re looking for to unlock growth after a challenging year.

The Covid-19 pandemic has posed significant disruptions to many areas of public life, including air travel, which saw a reduction in flights of almost 100%. 

That means no global air travel at all. That means nobody in airports. 

And that means that travel retail requires an urgent solution. 

For travel retail sales to fully recover, smart vending machines and automated kiosks like Invenda’s offer an intelligent and safe response that will encourage consumers back into these spaces and offer an improved consumer experience in a post-Covid world. 

What is travel retail?

But let’s back up. What is travel retail? 

Travel retail is really a bucket term for duty-free operators, food and beverage establishments, and well known brands like John Lewis that capitalise on the conveyor belt of mass foot-fall within airports, train stations, metros and other publicly- or privately-owned mass-transportation systems around the world.

It’s no wonder this sector has remained robust in the last decade where traditional retail markets, globally, have struggled. 

In fact, in 2017 the global duty-free and travel retail market was valued at $74.9 billion, and it was predicted that due to the wider growth of the travel and tourism industry that it would reach $153.7 billion by 2025.

How Covid disrupted the standard behaviour of travellers

Then came Covid-19, which essentially devastated the travel retail landscape in its wake. 

Unfortunately, consumerism within airports depends almost exclusively on in-person shopping, meaning this sector cannot be propped up by online shopping. 

Did you know that, consequently, major airports such as Heathrow suffered a 55.8% decline in retail sales in the first half of 2020?

Although travel retail stores are reopening, consumers are still reluctant to travel due to risk of infection and confusion caused by constantly changing quarantine measures. Additionally, the ongoing pandemic of course remains a deterrent to in-person shopping. All of this calls for a safe solution that will entice shoppers back into travel retail. 

Smart retail to the rescue

We might be biased, but we believe that smart retail solutions could help to bring travel retail back from the brink. Across the globe, we are busy installing a number of great smart retail solutions in key travel retail locations. For example, we have introduced new smart vending solutions at Luton airport in the UK and are continuing to roll these out at other locations globally. 

How does this work?

It’s tailored. The experience is completely tailored to the user, using demographic information to create offers, bundles and messaging that will attract the consumer’s attention. 

It’s engrossing.  With a fully customizable user interface and brand experience our vending solutions engage the consumer and encourage them to make a purchase.

It is waste-free. Managing inventory is simple, and thanks to our connected retail operating system, you’ll always have the analytics you need to stock the right products

It’s hygienic. Our Completely Touchless Vending Solutions allows consumers to pair with the machine, browse and pay, and pick up their product without ever having to touch the machine itself.

It’s 24/7. Our smart retail solutions operate hassle-free around the clock, meaning your consumers are never going to be left dissatisfied. 

It’s data-driven. Generate customised, tailored advertisements and promotions to capture your consumers’ attention and generate additional revenue. 

If you’d like to learn more about how Invenda’s smart vending solutions could improve your travel retail’s performance. Get in touch.