September 24 2019  |  Spirits & Tobacco

Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail builds on insights

By Jas Ryat


Vice President Marketing at Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail (PRGTR), Craig Johnson shares how insights lead to growth

Eight months into his new role as Vice President Marketing at Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail (PRGTR), Craig Johnson has learned a tremendous amount about the travel retail industry. The New York native, now based in the UK and has thoroughly immersed himself in all the complexities of duty free.

Rewind one year when Americas, Asia, Gulf-Africa Duty Free magazine caught up with the PRGTR team in Cannes. At that point, there was a major focus on insights and how they would be applied to travel retail. Today, Johnson reveals the role destination shopping plays within the travel retail structure and how these insights have impacted PRGTR’s business model.

“I think PRGTR has had many different trials within destination shopping where we have created a boutique outside the existing store. What we’ve learned now is that we really want to be where most consumers are, where the shoppers are. That’s where we see the most results; it is the most effective, and that also drives home the importance of our partner stores,” explains Johnson.

Whether it is a store within a store or a mega HPP (high profile promotion) design, that’s when PRGTR accomplishes its underlying goals of building its spirits brands and creating experiences for shoppers that drive sales.

Turning insights into growth

Insights are a crucial part of the PRGTR game plan. By gathering knowledge about consumers –who is shopping in stores, what nationalities, understanding the typology and most importantly the motivation behind purchasing – the firm is able to execute global activations and tailor offerings accordingly.

“Some of the insights that we have into our consumers really separates us from our competitors. I think that is the most important thing that we learned last year. There are people out there that are searching for a bargain and there are others searching beyond just a good deal. There are people that are searching for a special souvenir to remember, memorialize a trip or to extend a trip when you get home,” shares Johnson.

The recent partnership with Heinemann Australia to launch its new Scotch Whisky Emporium at the Departures duty free store in Sydney International Airport is an example of an immersive experience created to capture new and existing travelers. Johnson explains that it’s all about understanding the brand and how to translate the message.

The insights have also offered a look into the journey the consumer takes. “We have looked at different nationalities to understand what we call ‘Micro Moments’. Micro Moments are the various touch points travelers cross as they are looking at buying airplane tickets, researching their destinations online, to planning their shopping in-store and understanding how we can use that. That has become very effective from a marketing stand point and helps us really understand our consumers,” adds Johnson.

Johnson touches upon the fact that although different nationalities may enjoy the same product, communication must be tailored to express its messages accordingly. He shares: “While there are similarities in the search for value and some behaviors, how we reach those consumers definitely has to be different. One of the interesting things about this industry is you don’t really market to the airport and who lives there; you market to who is in the airport and who is traveling. That’s all about having the deep understanding about the consumer and their journeys that helps us deliver.”

Focusing on the future

Earlier this year, PRGTR announced a first-of-its-kind partnership with Jessica’s Secret, the duty free price comparison app. The collaboration will see Pernod Ricard amplify its global travel retail product listings across the app direct to Chinese travelers.

Said Johnson: “We wanted to partner with Jessica’s Secret so that we could try to understand more about Chinese shoppers as they are so important to our industry and our brands like Martell, our malt brands and Chivas brand. The idea is to really have an understanding of the buying habits of their users and how they are searching for pricing. It allows us to go more in-depth and it also gives us an audience to reach with our marketing messages.”


Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail plans to highlight its luxury malt collection with the Secret Speyside

2020 will continue to focus on unique executions and innovative products. The malt portfolio will be highlighted with the Secret Speyside. This collection is the first of its kind that features rare single malts from hidden distilleries aged between18yo to 30yo, equipped with all the luxury credentials. Jameson Triple Triple Irish whiskey, currently only available at Dublin Airport, will also expand its footprint in travel retail, and Royal Salute 21yo, a travel retail exclusive, will bring the vision of Scotch whisky to life through its new design.

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