Pernod Ricard hosts first “In conversation with…” panel in Cannes

The Pernod Ricard panel in Cannes, from left: Brian McBride, Chairman of ASOS and Wiggle, Tamara Lohan MBE, Founder and CTO of Mr & Mrs Smith, drinks consultant Neil Ridley and Mohit Lal, Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail CEO.


Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail (PRGTR) hosted its first ever ‘In conversation with…’ panel discussion in Cannes as part of its presence at the TFWA World Exhibition 2018.

Moderated by drinks consultant and presenter Neil Ridley, the panel consisted of Mohit Lal, CEO PRGTR, Tamara Lohan MBE, founder and CTO of Mr & Mrs Smith and Brian McBride, Chairman of ASOS and Wiggle. The discussion provided valuable perspectives and opportunities to reapply learnings from other sectors to the Global Travel Retail space as a diverse range of topics were explored.

“Moving away from just being focused on retail to being focused on the traveler is the key shift that needs to be made,” said Lal. “You need to stay relevant: when people travel they’re in an exploration mindset and so shop in a very different way.

“One key aspect we need to bear in mind when we come to build experiences for the millennial traveler is that they’re looking for spontaneous gratification. We’ve invested in the organization to make the transformation from passive retailing to active consumer marketing. We need to change our mindset from putting bottles on shelves to providing an experience that these travelers will then share with the whole world,” Lal continued.

Lohan added: “The airport itself lends a captive audience with holiday money to spend. There is the opportunity of creating a beautiful space that lends itself to ‘discoverability’ and inspiring shoppers to buy a product that they haven’t considered before.”

Data is key to serving up what consumers want, when they want it, says McBride.

“Data capture is one of your key weapons. Our customers have willingly shared a huge amount of data with us which gives us the chance to develop strong relationships with them.

“If you can get to the point of them sharing their desires and aspirations directly with you, you can garner a huge amount of valuable information about them – but there has to be something in it for the customer. At ASOS we create a buzz and excitement through rich content that we know will resonate with them; this gives us the right opportunity to open up a dialogue with them and keep them engaged.”

“Start with the customer and work backwards,” continued McBride. “What’s in it for the customer? Whatever you’re doing, the business starts and ends with them.”

All three panelists concurred that data-driven, consumer-centric marketing is the key to success. “Don’t mistake a shopper and a traveler to be the same thing,” asserted Lal. “It is vital that we focus on the exploratory mindset and ultimately in converting a ‘traveler’ into a ‘shopper’ as we continue to innovate and drive growth today and in the future.”