“Cultural Oasis” – Relay Opens Lifestyle-Focused Bookstore at Shanghai Hongqiao Airport

CHINA. Relay, Lagardère Travel Retail’s specialized retail concept, has unveiled a new store in Terminal 2 at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, the first expression of the brand’s new look in China.

Shanghai Hong Kong Airport Management Company (a partnership between the Shanghai Airport Authority and the Hong Kong Airport Authority which manages Hongqiao’s retail operations) said the store, featuring “refreshing forest ambiences”, stands out from the other Relay stores at the airport and station with its redesigned design. .

The boutique is distinguished by an alluring wooden structure complemented by indoor plants that echo the interior space.

A cozy reading area adjacent to the glass wall overlooks the airport tarmac. According to the management company, it has become a new item on passengers’ bucket lists and a “cultural oasis”.

Room with a view: The dedicated reading area offers a superb panorama of the airport apron

In a significant transition to a hybrid business model, the Relay store offers a wide assortment including books, magazines, travel goods, creative products, toys, electronics and art products.

Management described the store as a space where commerce and the arts meet and coexist; and somewhere where consumers can find international brands such as Lamy, Dyson and Marshall, as well as national names like Xiang Jing (a Chinese sculptor) sculptures and VIESCA.

Relay also has dedicated booths displaying books and artifacts that reflect Shanghai culture. To celebrate the opening, the store is offering ongoing rewards to consumers from February 22 through March 31, including a discount for those who spend a certain amount and a range of member-only activities.

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“The store provides a relaxing environment for travelers where they can slow down, relax and experience the joy of shopping as they stroll through the books and more space,” the company said.

In recent years, bookstores built around a hybrid business model integrating the sale of books and cultural products, in-store dining and events, have become a standard feature of Chinese shopping complexes and malls. Today, they are seen as a new “asset to attract customers”, the airport company said.

The store reflects the recent improvement in the airport’s shopping ecosystem. Higher quality and a richer choice contrast with the previous offer characterized by low cost and a lack of variety. This improvement was driven by the airport’s commercial management team after fully considering passenger feedback on their SHA shopping experience and strong cultural consumption needs, the company added.

After using popular lifestyle brands in downtown malls with high brand recognition as benchmarks, the team conducted in-depth market research and analysis on a range of national and international brands such such as Muji, Tsutaya Books, Duoyun Books, Sinan Books and Yan Ji You. .

They also took into consideration the consumption habits and characteristics of airport travellers. The end goal was to build a shop “that offers more than just books – an experiential space for diverse consumer needs.”

This type of bookstore, although retailed, is not easily copied like other airport stores, noted the Shanghai Hong Kong Airport Management Company. In its attempt to introduce a chain of airport bookstores, the company noted that some brands were concerned about the unique characteristics of operating at an airport and the high operating costs that come with it.

“Most of them would still go for malls as their first choice. But in reality, they lack a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of airport consumption: stable quality travelers, high passenger traffic throughout the day and strong purchasing power,” the company noted.

Consequently, the company’s management team kept adjusting and innovating as it sought to introduce a hybrid retail model.

In addition to a pool of candidate brands, the team also has a pool of professional designers for the points of sale. As a result, they managed to strike a good balance between mainstream and personality, and between a business model and cultural elements, Shanghai Hong Kong Airport Management Co said.

“The win-win approach has facilitated the upgrade of the airport’s retail ecosystem and the transformation of brands, enabling a more experiential travel environment capable of meeting the growing cultural needs of passengers.”

In the future, to further enhance the flagship store’s image as a cultural space that encompasses Shanghai’s iconic features, the company plans to partner with Relay to organize cultural events, similar to those experienced by customers. in a chain of downtown bookstores. These activities will include book signings, a book club, interactive exhibits and more.

Coming soon

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James C. Tibbs