All Eyes On... 2018

For the third year, and as a continuation of their Vision 2020 commitment to sunglasses category growth in travel retail, leading suppliers De Rigo, Essilor, Kering Eyewear, Luxottica, Marchon, Marcolin, Maui Jim and Safilo Group present a category communication series featuring the winners of the 2018 Sunglasses Awards. “All Eyes On” examines the best-in-class executions that helped elevate sunglasses standards and performance in travel retail.

“The Sunglasses Workshop and Awards is a unique partnership between industry stakeholders and it has been a fantastic 10 years together. The category has moved from US$711 million to US$1.81 billion in annual sales over this period. Having quality retailers such as DFS, Dufry, Shilla and Harding up on stage was an amazing testament to the relevance and support that the category enjoys. Congratulations to all those short-listed and of course to the deserving winners of the 2018 awards. We look forward to new voices and fresh perspectives being involved in 2019, and we push on towards the lofty 2020 Vision.” said the sunglasses supplier collective.

More details on 2018's category winners will be revealed soon.

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All Eyes On... The Shilla Duty Free


Best Digital Initiative for the Sunglasses Category: The Shilla Duty Free – Shilla Tipping

In September 2018, The Shilla Duty Free introduced a new social-based shopping and review platform – Shilla Tipping – to its mobile shopping app. Targeting millennials, the platform was launched to allow customers to share product reviews and experiences with others using the key mobile channel. Shilla Tipping aimed to connect customers through the basic functions of other social networks such as following, feeds and hashtags.

Winner of Best Digital Initiative for the Sunglasses Category, the submission was recognised for its smart and effective use of social media initiatives, with prominent involvement of the sunglasses category. Shilla Tipping scored highly for its cutting-edge e-commerce platform, customer-centric focus and seamless user experience, melding online shopping and information gathering seamlessly for digital native millennials.

Screenshots of the Shilla Tipping mobile app

After just one week of launching, the Daily Active Users reached 60,000, making Shilla Tipping the second most popular beauty/fashion review platform in Korea, with more than 500,000 daily page views. Similarly, within Tipping’s first week of launching, more than 2,000 users posted their reviews.

“Shilla Tipping effectively fulfilled the needs of customers to get product information and reviews online through social sharing. The Shilla Duty Free is committed to constantly innovate the sunglasses shopping experience. With the Shilla Tipping platform, our online customers have one central platform as an innovative new service for them. Customers can now easily find sunglasses product reviews and purchase instantly.”

Jeff Lee, Managing Director, The Shilla Duty Free Singapore

“Shilla Tipping demonstrates how Shilla Duty Free is stepping up its game to meet the needs of demanding millennial customers who want detailed product information at their fingertips. The platform sets the benchmark for the future of e-commerce in travel retail and has clearly been positively received by customers judging by the traffic. Digital and e-commerce continues to represent a major opportunity for the sunglasses category.”

Erwan Le Guennec, Global Travel Retail and E-Commerce Director, Marchon

From left to right: King Power International’s Susan Whelan (2017 winner), The Shilla Duty Free’s Jeff Lee and Marchon’s Erwan Le Guennec
All Eyes On... DFS


Best Marketing Activity for the Sunglasses Category:
DFS Group – Omnichannel Exclusive Launches

DFS was recognised for its pioneering omni-channel platforms and collaborative approach with sunglasses brands. The retailer implemented a series of 360-degree marketing campaigns with strong digital communications and interactive retail activations, to strengthen the launch of travel retail exclusives and DFS exclusive models.

DFS scored highly for its flexibility in creating bespoke campaigns for each brand. Prime location advertising on, amplification through global and Chinese social media channels such as WeChat and WeiBo, engagement of KOLs and dedicated EDMs to DFS Loyal-T members boosted the launches through digital communication.

In-store, the exclusive sunglasses were presented in high profile spaces with eye-catching activations, including customisation on wall bays, high profile promotional sites and campaign visual displays. To further leverage the exclusivity of the product offering, the sunglasses were pre-launched for DFS’s top customers in their Prestige Lounges.

Best Off-Airport Retailer: DFS Group, T-Gallerias (worldwide)

Winner of Best Off-Airport Retailer, DFS’ submission emphasised its efforts in maximising sunglasses sales in off-airport locations as well as its dedication to creating world-class store environments and shopping experiences.

Throughout 2018, DFS implemented a number of projects to strengthen its sunglasses offer in its downtown T Galleria locations globally. The retailer expanded its sunglasses footprint in high-traffic zones with secondary sites for the category; rolled out a new sunglasses store design concept with digitalisation, sense of place and pop-up areas; increased visibility in T Gallerias with additional lightboxes and screens for sunglasses and implemented worldwide marketing campaigns.

From left to right: King Power International's Susan Whelan (2017 winner), DFS Group’s Audrey Fitte, Luxottica's Enrico Destro and DFS Group’s Jason Blejwas

DFS’ new sunglasses store design concept was introduced at its Saipan and Venice T Gallerias, featuring a spacious retail area, a new luxurious design and an inviting shopping space where brands are clearly signposted and shoppers are able to navigate through the store easily. The result was a double-digit increase in productivity per square metre in the new concepts in Saipan and Venice.

“At DFS Group, we make it our mission to create bespoke, world-class shopping experiences for travelers, and our omnichannel campaigns inject a sense of excitement at multiple stages of the traveller journey. The sunglasses category has become integral to our business, as shown by the impressive results at our T Gallerias. We are always ready to collaborate with our brand partners, seeking out tailored solutions together and maximising their potential through our marketing initiatives. We are proud to have been recognized with two Sunglasses Awards in 2018 and look forward to working with our partners to unlock more of the category’s potential in the future.”

Magali Ginsburg, Senior Vice President Fashion, DFS Group

“DFS delivered a fantastic series of omnichannel initiatives that shows the power of digital for our category, particularly in Asia. It’s great to see progress in response to the digital challenge, which will be a very important part of the future of travel retail worldwide. DFS’ commitment to collaboration, growth and consumer focus should inspire all sunglasses stakeholders.”

Giles Marks, Duty Free Senior Sales Director at Maui Jim

From left to right: Dufry’s Silvia Morris (2017 winner), DFS Group’s Jason Blejwas and Maui Jim’s Giles Marks
All Eyes On... PAC


Best Dedicated Sunglasses Sales Team:
PAC - Beirut Duty Free

PAC (Phoenicia Aer Rianta Company), which operates Beirut Duty Free, manages 96 sqm of dedicated sunglasses retail space at Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport (BHIA), Lebanon. The Beirut Duty Free team of 12 expert sales staff have been central to the category’s stellar performance in recent years. With an average of four years’ experience in the sunglasses category, this team combines in-depth product knowledge and expertise with commitment and passion for the art of sunglasses selling and customer service.

Winner of Best Dedicated Sunglasses Team, PAC was recognised for its strong focus on training, which sees each team member given at least two specialised training sessions per year by each supplier, alongside frequent customer service training by Beirut Duty Free’s in-house training manager. The team consistently reaches challenging monthly sales targets which reward both personal and team achievements, while individual members routinely win sales awards within the wider business.

Members of the PAC Beirut Duty Free team

The team grew the Average Transaction Value by 2% in 2018 as compared to 2017 and were able to effectively capitalise on promotional activities. During high profile promotional activities, the team was driven to push new brands by cross-selling and upselling, routinely delivering an upturn in sales that exceed targets by an average of 75% - three times that of regular sales.

“This award is tribute to the dedication and expertise of our amazing sunglasses team. Sunglasses is a strategic growth-driver for our business, so it is vital that our frontline staff are able to make our aspirations a reality and deliver the best possible sunglasses experience for our customers.”

Lynn Zeidan, Business Development Manager at PAC

“In such a specialist category, a huge amount of responsibility for performance rides on sales staff and the support structures retailers put in place to empower them. The impressive results delivered by PAC Beirut Duty Free in the sunglasses category are a reflection of its commitment to individual development and first-class customer service.”

Lucia Saracino, Director of Regional Sales and Global Trade Marketing, Essilor

From left to right: Audrey Fitte of DFS Group (2017 winner), Lynn Zeidan of PAC - Beirut Duty Free and Essilor’s Lucia Saracino
All Eyes On... DUFRY


Sunglasses Retailer of the Year (Over US$2 Billion): Dufry

Ranging over 180 brands across more than 1,000 locations worldwide, Dufry has taken the strategic move to make the sunglasses category a core category with centralised buying. The new approach presents the opportunity to increase the customer-focus for the category and drive sales growth through expansion of partnerships, listing of more new and innovative brands and upgrading of the instore environment.

Winner of Sunglasses Retailer of the Year (Over US$2 billion), Dufry’s submission stood out for the retailer’s ability to stage interactive, unique brand experiences that put the consumer first as well as the use of technology in tailored in-store communications across its retail estate, especially in the Next Generation stores.

Dufry scored highly for its impressive focus on improving all parts of the customer journey through the use of its e-Motion platform. Launched in early 2018, e-Motion creates a 360-degree digital and physical travel retail experience via loyalty programmes, social media, staff engagement and reserve and collect.

Since the introduction of the New Generation store concept, sunglasses has become the largest sub-category within Watches, Jewellery & Accessories for Dufry – with a 36% share. Furthermore, sunglasses showed the highest year-on-year sales growth in the Watches, Jewellery & Accessories category in August 2018.

“Dufry prides ourselves in putting the customer at the heart of everything we do. The way we have presented the sunglasses category in our Next Generation Stores exemplifies our mission to create memorable shopping experiences by constantly improving our shops and developing best-in-class retail formats, as well as implementing innovative cross-channel marketing initiatives. We are delighted to have been crowned Sunglasses Retailer of the Year as recognition of our efforts!”

Beat Schärer, Global Head Watches, Jewellery and Sunglasses at Dufry Group

“Dufry demonstrated extremely high standards across several key aspects of sunglasses retailing, including store environment, product variety, staff training and customer facing communications. With its Next Generation store concept, focused around the innovative e-Motion platform, Dufry has raised the bar and in the process established sunglasses as a core category within its estate.”

Alessandra Piccin, Travel Retail Manager, De Rigo

From left to right: The Dufry team with DFS Group’s Jason Blejwas (2017 winner) and De Rigo’s Alessandra Piccin


Best New Sunglasses Environment: King Power International – King Power Rangnam Downtown

Opened in October 2017, the refurbished sunglasses department in King Power’s Rangnam complex represents a best-in-class presentation of the category in the department store channel. With nearly 250sqm of dedicated space in the centre of the luxury boutiques at Level 1, sunglasses is at the heart of the fashion category and a destination in its own right.

King Power’s refurbished sunglasses store in Rangnam Downtown

With a striking design aesthetic that blends traditional Thai elements with contemporary luxury, the Rangnam sunglasses environment was designed to recapture spend from Thai, Korean and Japanese tourists, while maintaining strong penetration amongst Chinese shoppers. The brand assortment and ranges have been carefully curated, in partnership with brand partners, to provide a comprehensive offer for these key nationalities.

King Power’s new sunglasses store in Rangnam Downtown

Winner of Best New Sunglasses Environment for the Sunglasses Category, the submission was recognised for the clear growth strategy which underpinned the design concept and merchandising strategy. The results speak for themselves – from a category in decline, sunglasses is now a net growth driver, delivering double-digit percentage YOY growth in the year following the store’s transformation.

“Sunglasses is an extremely important category in our downtown stores. The category is often a gateway into luxury brands for many shoppers. Our redesigned and reconfigured sunglasses space at Rangnam has successfully rejuvenated category performance through a combination of cutting-edge design and carefully curated collection of brands.”

Denny Hui, Senior Vice President – Merchandising Planning and Strategy, King Power International Group

“King Power’s transformation of its sunglasses environment and the huge turnaround in sales performance demonstrates a strong belief in the power of this category and is a testament to what can be achieved when it is executed with a clear strategy built around category management principles.”

Maria Valentina Alessi, Trade Marketing Sr Manager Global Channels, Safilo

Safilo’s Maria Valentina Alessi and King Power International’s Susan Whelan
All Eyes On... MSC CRUISES


Sunglasses Retailer of the Year (Under US$2 Billion): MSC Cruises

Throughout 2017 and 2018, MSC Cruises executed a number of new activities to develop sunglasses across 300m2 of category space onboard its 15 vessels. New store openings, extensive staff training and the introduction of new sunglasses brands were the driving factors behind impressive growth. Key highlights included the opening of two stores on the MSC Seaview and MSC Seaside – which both have the largest amount of outdoor sundeck space per passenger of any cruise ship – and the refurbishment of MSC Splendida.

Winner of Sunglasses Retailer of the Year (Under US$2 billion), MSC Cruises was recognised for its impressive store environments, seamless shopping experience and tailored marketing campaigns, adapted to the unique nature of the cruise environment.

MSC Cruises – Sunglasses display on the MSC Seaview

MSC Cruises scored highly for its comprehensive staff training which was tailored to the 150 different nationalities that holiday with the company, as well as its diverse, curated product offer which includes MSC-exclusive and travel retail exclusive models. The company was also recognised for its guest experience activities.

MSC Cruises’ activities have resulted in strong growth for the sunglasses category, with the retailer posting +20% like-for-like spend per passenger growth in 2018 vs 2017. In 2018, sunglasses accounted for 3.1% of MSC Cruises’ total retail business, which was a +0.8% increase over 2017. Similarly, in 2018, sunglasses sales made up 14.1% of the total fashion category compared to 12.1% in 2017.

“Being recognised for our efforts and significant achievements to grow the sunglasses category onboard MSC Cruises vessels is something we are very proud of. We firmly believe in the potential of the category in the cruise channel and are looking to further integrate the category into our dynamic event programme with key brand partners, develop MSC-exclusive sunglasses and launch a retail ambassador programme.”

Adrian Pittaway, Head of Retail, MSC Cruises

“MSC Cruises has shown an impressive commitment to building the sunglasses category through implementing a number of initiatives including new stores, a large, varied product assortment and strong collaboration with its brand partners. Its activities have clearly paid off, as illustrated by the very positive sales achieved. Keep up the great work!”

Alessia Voltan, Head of Travel Retail and Online, Marcolin

From left to right: Jacque Parsons of Kappe International (2017 winner) with Ornella Vinaccia of MSC Cruises and Marcolin’s Lucilla Tremonti