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“The national marketing campaign is high on our list of priorities, but our number one concern is ensuring good relations with the Canadian Border Services Agency and finalizing the last part of the strategic review that has been ongoing over the last couple of years.” Abe Taqtaq,President, FDFA relations. We’re currently working on an internal collaboration tool whereby the stores can live chat on different issues, whether it be the national marketing campaign or government relations. The tool will have a multimedia component, effectively allowing stores to share photos and other information, so it’s not just text-based. There will also be an update function so that progress on any specific action item can be easily tracked. AT: It’s really about creating a platform and providing a framework for the exchange of ideas. This is critical in business these days, not just in terms of increasing sales but, as Laurie mentioned, in government relations as well. Indeed, the national marketing campaign is high on our list of priorities, but our number one concern is ensuring good relations with the Canadian Border Services Agency and finalizing the last part of the strategic review that has been ongoing over the last couple of years. Of course, within the industry we’ve all always spoken on the phone and communicated by email, but the new internal collaboration tool will add another level of depth to our discussions. It will be an interesting rollout in the sense that it will take some time for people to get used to it, but our vision is to eventually have everyone checking on a daily basis, posting updates on topics of interest and essentially sharing information more easily. ADF: What else can we expect to see from the FDFA in the next year or so in relation to the national marketing campaign? LK: One of the projects we’re very excited about is that at the beginning of the high season we’re going to organize a “duty free week,” which will be given a more official name in the near future. One of the things that really hit home at the Business and Professional Development Summit is that we need to do more work to communicate the unique and positive customer experience that differentiates Canadian land border duty free from domestic retail. As such, the week will be about

shining a spotlight on duty free and showing both current and prospective customers what we’re all about. We’ll have more details on this as work progresses. Additionally, next spring we’ll have a mobile application and a mobile-optimized website developed that will in many ways mirror and reinforce what’s communicated on the www.dutyfreecanada.com website. It will feature border wait times, allowance information, videos and much more. AT: The duty free week is really an extension of what we started a couple of years ago. Now that we have built up awareness considerably, we’re taking it to the next level. We’re thinking of possibly linking it to a charity, having barbecues and just generally making it a really fun week that showcases what our industry is really about and the positive experience that people can expect to have when they walk into our stores. In much the same way, the mobile app is the next logical progression to the website and the work that we’ve done on Facebook over the last two years. We have to remember that we’re dealing with people who are on the go, so it makes sense to offer them the information they need in the palm of their hand. LK: Linked to the upcoming duty free week, we’re also working on a new video that highlights the positive experiences that duty free customers have. We’re staying very true to our original objectives, which included ensuring that we’re concentrating on initiatives that can be implemented industry-wide. Other upcoming activities that are on the to-do list include staff training and polling shoppers and non-shoppers alike. AT: Of course, it’s still very important for us that we get the support of operator members on all of these initiatives, and many of these ideas will be introduced in November at the annual FDFA Convention and presented in more detail at the next Business and Professional Development Summit. We definitely want to move forward with all of these initiatives, so it’s now a matter of discussing with

The FDFA created a number of videos to specifically target English- and French-speaking Canadians, as well as Americans

operators what we should concentrate on in 2014 and what can perhaps be implemented in 2015. ADF: Speaking of the upcoming FDFA Convention and the 2014 Business and Professional Development Summit, can you give me an update on the events? LK: The Business and Professional Development Summit will take place on May 6 and 7, 2014 in Kelowna, BC, with the annual golf tournament, jointly hosted by Pernod Ricard and the FDFA, taking place on May 8. We’re very excited about the upcoming convention, taking place November 17-20 in Niagara Falls, Canada at the Hilton Hotel & Suites. This will be our last year in the wonderful city of Niagara Falls, but at the same time we’re looking forward to Toronto as the 2014 venue and Vancouver as the location for the 2015 convention! c

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10/9/2013 10:21:38 AM 2013-09-17 9:04 AM

Americas Duty Free & Travel Retailing (October 2013 Vol. 23, No. 4)  

The Americas Duty Free & Travel Retailing covers the industry from Tierra del Fuego, Argentina and all points in between north to Alaska. Fr...

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