Seven shopping tourism trends, by VIA Outlets

Seven shopping tourism trends, by VIA Outlets

VIA Outlets – the newest and fastest growing owner operator of outlet shopping destinations in Europe – advances seven trends on shopping tourism, a segment that is transitioning from being a complementary factor to establishing itself as a major determinant in tourists’ decisions about their preferred destinations.

  • Shopping as the ultimate travel souvenir: travellers make purchase decisions based on emotional triggers, whether shopping is the main purpose of their trip or an additional activity. Local fashion, design or artisan pieces, that can be useful in day-to-day life back home but are still stylish and aspirational, have become ideal mementoes to evoke a special journey.
  • The closer, the better: when traveling, time is precious. Convenient locations close to city destinations or airports – such as Sevilla Fashion Outlet – are key issues for travellers when deciding where they will spend time shopping, alongside good transport options and safety. The probability of a traveller going to a centre strategically located near downtown is proportional not only to the shopping deals on offer, but also to how close it is in terms of distance and convenience.
  • Weekend cross-border travellers: delving into location nuances, we have realized it is key to appeal to travellers who live close to country borders, especially for short weekend breaks. According to UNWTO, 75% of travellers choose short distance destinations, within their own geographical area. In terms of promoting a destination, it is advisable to plan and promote well in advance during local festivities or holidays, to tempt travellers into enjoying a combined travel-shopping experience near home. Pop-up, themed experiences in the shopping destination, that capture the area’s local feel, also resonate with visitors. For example, 18% of international travellers to Zweibrücken Fashion Outlet, in Germany, are from France, as both countries share a border, with four accessible German and French airports.
  • Beautifully local: shopping, like travel, is all about an experience that is unique and unrepeatable from place to place. To differentiate one shopping destination from a competitor’s, it is important to recreate, in an appealing way, the area’s architecture, decor, culture and history. Shopping areas can integrate landscapes, leisure spaces and even local weather conditions in the whole experience, as happens at Freeport Lisboa Fashion Outlet, close to Portugal’s Atlantic coast.
  • The gastro factor: according to UNWTO, gastronomy is the third most important motivation for travelers when choosing a destination, after heritage/culture, and nature. This shows just how important and appreciated a culinary offer is in any destination, especially if travellers are to spend hours enjoying a shopping experience. A varied, high-quality offer and local flavours are the elements that have inspired the gourmet offering at the restaurants and cafes at Landquart Fashion Outlet, in Zurich (Switzerland) and Hede Fashion Outlet, located in Gothenburg (Sweden).
  • From guest services to enhanced travel services: a real integration of shopping in the travel experience means making retail present, and convenient, throughout that journey. Collaborations with travel players are key, as VIA Outlets have done with Global Blue, to make VAT refunds easily available across the VIA portfolio. Equally important is designing special services that appeal to travellers, like VIP lounges, WiFi connections, courier services to send purchases back home, or offering onsite travel agencies to book other activities, flights or trips.
  • Technology to personalise the traveller experience: technology impacts directly in two important areas of the shopping retail experience: management and customer relations. Thanks to AI and IoT technologies, combined with powerful CRMs, it is possible to gather data on how visitors are inspired to plan and book their trips and to understand at which moment of this process shopping is integrated in the experience. This enables companies to improve how they target travellers and boost conversion. Technology also helps to customize and create memorable shopping experiences, with mobile at the core of the strategy. According to a survey by TripAdvisor, 85% of travellers use their mobile devices to book travel activities, and many users also engage with them while travelling, using navigation or transportation apps, to share content in social media, or research restaurants and other plans. Mobile-based services range from payment options in any international currency, or automated checkout, to multi-language chatbots, customer loyalty programs or special deals. All these add layers and new experiences to a more traditional shopping experience, which can be also enhanced with augmented reality, through services such as virtual fitting rooms and product and price information via QR codes, among others.

About VIA Outlets

VIA Outlets is the newest and fastest growing owner operator of outlet shopping destinations in Europe, strategically placed in many of Europe’s most exciting cities. VIA Outlets delivers world-class fashion and travel experiences in 11 ‘beautifully local’ shopping destinations, by offering a seamless, but characterful, retail experience to the 30 million travellers who visited their centres last year.

VIA Outlets was founded in 2014. It currently owns a portfolio of 11 premium fashion outlets across Europe, offering over 260,000 sq. metres GLA and over 1,100 stores in nine European countries.  For more information about VIA Outlets, please visit: www.viaoutlets.com

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