One proven company, Travel Blue, is focusing on offering comprehensive one stop shopping for the tech savvy traveler, which is surprisingly a niche market that nobody has filled yet. According to Avi Levin, managing director of the company, “We want to be the one-stop shop for the technology accessories business in travel retail. We are offering a coherent concept in what has been a very fragmented category,” with a keen focus on offering the latest and best technology to make travel easier.
It’s the perfect time of year to set up shop, considering all the summer travel plans Americans are making and the increasing desire to increase comfort and technical advances on these getaways. Travel Blue began by offering travel pillows decades ago, but has recently moved into the headphone market along with chargers, phone covers, power banks and adaptors. At the moment, you can find Travel Blue in more than 105 countries, but you may not know it by name (yet).
According to Levin, “Until recently technology accessories have not been a very coherent category in travel retail. You could count three, four, maybe even up to ten different suppliers of chargers, cables, adaptors and other items,” he says. “Because of this, the presentation of product has not been uniform, there are very different margin structures for different items, the retailer faces issues around minimum orders from these multiple suppliers, and that lack of focus has been reflected in the offer. Our idea was to bring coherence to the category.”
By doing so, “we decided that we could give retailers the one stop shop that can help build the category and through our merchandising solutions can make their lives easier.” It’s a seemingly simple approach, yet one that hasn’t been pulled off by anyone else yet. Levin notes that, “Importantly also, when you offer a concept such as ours, you offer a clear picture to the consumer, too. Whether it’s the digital area, or headphones or phone covers, they can quickly assess what they like, whether the price point works and make a quick buying decision.”
Tapping into the new market
Some may say that Travel Blue simply isn’t big enough to compete with big brands, but Jonathan Smith, the Director of Travel Retail for the company, disagrees. He says by offering “entry level items” such as BlueTooth headphones for a fair price, combining it with a long history of success in the travel industry, it will be possible to establish a refreshed brand. Plus, Levin doubts that the majority of people are going to spend a lot on premium travel products, especially on impulse purchases.
Instead, he’s focused on catering to the majority of people who simply want a small indulgence or to make travel easier on a whim. That’s why the focus is on traveling headphones, which many people will want to snag a deal on rather than shop at the airport for an investment. “Why not present the option to them so we get more travelers spending?” he asks. However, the company is looking at every type of sales channel, including the option for inflight purchases for some real direct to consumer options.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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