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Redefining airport retail


A pioneering new e-commerce initiative aims to make airport shopping in Malaysia and at Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport in Turkey easier and more convenient.

Malaysia Airports is one of the world’s largest airport operators in terms of passenger numbers, handling more than 141.2 million across its network of 39 Malaysian airports and Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW) in Turkey in 2019.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) handled 62.3 million passengers on its own in 2019 and Malaysia’s next biggest gateways – Kota Kinabalu, Penang, Kuching and Langkawi – all recorded all-time high traffic figures that year as did SAW, which welcomed 35.4 million passengers.

Such significant numbers means that Malaysia Airports can never rest on its laurels and constantly strives to find ways of doing things better to be more operationally efficient and enhance the airport experience of passengers, in line with the commitment to “hosting joyful connections” for those passing through its airports.

The current COVID-19 enforced downturn in traffic has done little to change this philosophy. In fact, it has made Malaysia Airports even more determined to adapt the way it operates to meet changing customer demands, and this now extends to expanding its retail offerings beyond the traditional airport environment.

In line with this aspiration, the company launched shopMYairports, the first travel-retail e-commerce platform in Malaysia and shop@saw, the e-commerce platform of Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen.

shopMYairports and shop@saw are part of Malaysia Airports’ company-wide digitalisation initiative to embrace digital transformation. As part of this initiative, the company strives to redefine the airport retail experience by providing a unique avenue for customers to purchase travel-exclusive and duty-absorbed products from the comfort of their homes.

At the same time, both platforms align retail plans with current and future e-commerce trends as well as establishing Malaysia Airports’ reputation as a retail hub for the next generation of tech-savvy customers.

According to eMarketer (https://www.emarketer.com/content/global-ecommerce-update-2021), purchasing behaviours have shifted online, with global retail e-commerce sales growing by 27.6% in 2020. In Malaysia, GlobalData analytics predicts that the growth of the e-commerce market is on a steady rise with a projected reach of RM51.6 billion ($12.6 billion) by 2024.

On top of that, mind-set research suggests that 82% of Asia-Pacific travellers will change their shopping habits when they travel in the future, making the digitalisation of airport retail more important than ever.

The significant growth of the e-commerce sector has certainly accelerated Malaysia Airports’ plan towards digitalisation whilst expanding its commercial reach.

Digitalisation is also crucial in assisting airport retail partners to adapt during a global crisis. For Malaysia Airports, the wellbeing of its retail partners remains a top priority and it believes that shopMYairports and shop@saw has successfully provided them with an additional sales avenue and expanded their market beyond the airports’ brick and mortar set-up.

Malaysia Airports’ long-term digitalisation initiative is aimed at facilitating the growth of its airport retail partners and laying the foundation to transform its airports into shopping and lifestyle destinations as well as transportation hubs in line with the group’s commercial reset strategy.

Moving forward, Malaysia Airports has big plans to expand the services of shopMYairports and shop@saw to include on-ground delivery and pick-up services at the airports.

In the next phase, when travel restrictions are relaxed and international borders re-open, customers can order products on the platform and have them collected at the airport or delivered to their departure gate or flight seats.

Furthermore, shopMYairports will include international delivery to cater to international customers looking to experience airport retail in Malaysia, which includes products that showcase the best of Malaysia to the world.

As Malaysia’s main airport operator, Malaysia Airports strives to remain agile and relevant while navigating within a fast-changing consumer landscape.

It believes that digitalisation will redefine the airport retail experience and provide the company with significant growth potential that will help ensure sustainable business operations for Malaysia Airports. In this regard, shopMYairports and shop@saw are leading the way in making its airports future-ready.

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