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TFWA: How tech is enabling us to re-evaluate the airport experience

Tom Shearsmith
21 October 2022

Founded in 1984, TFWA is the world's biggest duty free and travel retail association, providing the industry with high-quality exhibitions, acclaimed conferences and workshops, and in-depth market research.

TFWA’s commitment to the duty free and travel retail industry is summarised by its motto - "by the trade for the trade". As a non-profit-making organisation with a membership of over 500 companies, TFWA’s services are focused purely on delivering value to the industry - which this year included looking at a post-COVID world.

COVID-19 saw a sudden change in the world of try-on and testing, with public health advice suggesting the risk of transmission was very high. Brands and businesses had to quickly pivot to reach consumers in new ways - some succeeded, some did not.

Danielle Watson, Senior Business Development Director at Revieve

Danielle Watson, Senior Business Development Director at Revieve

Danielle Watson, Senior Business Development Director at Revieve, took on a tour of TFWA and discussed her thoughts on the future of the duty free airport experience.

"The area was split into villages, all based around different activities - meetings, brand showcases, parties. Keynotes and discussions proved to be the most interesting aspect however, with so many different brand representatives talking about the technology that could make a retail experience more exciting or accessible.

"Brands have realised that the consumer experience in duty free needs to be more immersive and engaging. Consumer behaviour has changed post COVID-19 and a more personalised experience is now key to conversion. I think the fashion, beauty and perhaps retail industry overall acknowledges that changes need to happen and that's why they were at TFWA."

"When COVID-19 hit...nobody wanted to touch things and nobody could try things on. It gave companies the chance to pause and reflect on what was not only the best for the consumer but also the planet. Virtual try-on for fashion and makeup can really help brands reduce their carbon footprint and boost their sustainability credentials.

"We've also got to remember that consumers need to feel comfortable, some are still cautious about their health and the risks of COVID-19. As swiftly as people are moving away from restrictions and health measures, I think brands want to consider how to not leave people behind and that there’s still ways to engage with that consumer and the 'standard' consumer - try-on is the perfect solution."

Watson summarised: "It doesn't matter where you are in the world, if you're in an airport - you are surrounded by retail and it's a prime opportunity for innovation. The two keys drivers for growth are discovery/tech innovation and post-purpose consumer data."

Earlier this year, Revieve launched a new AI Makeup Advisor experience with Shiseido to serve consumers across the EMEA region. The collaboration brought together Revieve’s AI Selfie Analysis, AI-powered personalised recommendations and true-to-life virtual try-on technologies to create "the first digital makeup advisor experience in the world".

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