Building real customer experience into award winning retail
Customer experience – a term simple in its pronunciation and varied in its interpretation – yet the community of leaving a customer empowered, rewarded and loyal remains the common outcome.
Welcome to Pangea, the Spanish travel retailer who understands that physical retailing is an emotional connection to be savoured, felt and remembered. This RDG/Ebeltoft Group global retail category winner shines with the lustre of a retailer who wants to be experienced, who caters for adventurers rather than travellers.
This is not the stuff of traditional travel retailers where brochures and desks dominate the internal shop floor space. It is an innovative and spectacular example of reinvention with the customer experience firmly planted at the summit.
This is the world’s largest travel store (in both size and offer) for adventure vacation shopping.
Pangea is an experiential store, the physical embodiment of a retail ecosystem strategy offering customised vacation and activity packages and comprehensive services for travellers.
It features a unique environment and product display, where customers can browse and buy via any of 40 touchscreens, or be advised face to face by expert travellers. It also offers diverse add-ons, from sending your luggage to the hotel, to stocking up your home fridge for your return journey.
The store creates a lively “experts in travel” atmosphere with a coffee shop, travel book shop, successful events agenda and a Travel Lab, where new packages are developed, with real-time customer input about their dream vacations.
At Pangea, you buy an experience, not just a plane ticket or hotel reservation.
The product includes “can’t miss” activities at the chosen destination, from a day trip to see dolphins, to cocktails at sunset with a great view. There are over 1,000 packaged vacations with fully customisable activities. This concept offers a service the customer once accessed through a travel agent, but millennials now see as a new and easy approach to leisure travel.
These vacations have names such as Sleep in a Tree or Find Peace and descriptions that include more of what you will do and experience and less of what you will see. And, if you can’t travel, they also have cheaper local experiences, such as Star Wars (laser tag activity + barbecue) or Retiro on Wheels (bicycle guided tour through Madrid’s Retiro Park + a roller-skating class).
Pangea’s travel store is designed to be a meeting point for travellers and adventure lovers who enjoy browsing, reading, talking and sharing travel experiences (just like Decathlon attracts sport lovers and a visit to Ikea is not just to buy home furnishings).
Assistance is offered by travel experts, many of whom have lived most of the experiences they sell. The travel book shop in the store helps customers find extra information, the coffee shop offers a place for relaxed conversation, the Travel Lab is a great space for planning an out-of-the-package vacation and the successful events agenda draws people for presentations, workshops or lectures almost daily.
Successful, comprehensive omnichannel strategy
From product display to buying process, live and online seamlessly merge. Customers can start browsing online and finish buying via any of the store’s 40 touchscreens equipped with fully integrated payment devices. Or, they can start in the store, being advised by a travel expert, go home and pay online. The shopping process and look and feel of the products are shared on mobile devices, desktops and in the store, making it easy for current online travel shoppers to feel comfortable in a brick and mortar travel store.
The company has reinvented the traditional travel agency. Now that customers buy their travel online, it offers something extra – experiences – while catering to customers’ familiarity and comfort with computer-based processes. Plans to expand the physical stores include four or five in Madrid, one in Barcelona and the possibility of international locations.
Selling travel? No, instead the retailer is facilitating dreams and adventures, experience and immerse rather than transact and process.
Brian Walker is founder and CEO of Retail Doctor Group Australia’s leading retail consulting and advisory group, and the Australian elected member of the global retail expert’s alliance Ebeltoft Group, (www.ebeltoftgroup.com) and can be contacted on (02) 9460 2882 or [email protected]