Philip Morris International (PMI) is connecting online and offline consumer journeys. We speak with Martin Jobin, Global Head Consumer Experience, Marketing & Digital, about how his team have instigated a digital revolution in the travel retail sector, merging the physical and online worlds by implementing a number of CX-driven initiatives framed around PMI’s IQOS brand.
The rise of CX
Customer experience, now commonly referred to as CX, has been a key driver for the digital revolution of business strategy in recent years. It is now shaping business plans and pushing organisational growth. Indeed, you would struggle to name an industry that has not placed CX at the forefront of its strategy, especially in the travel retail sector.
Countless statistics prove the point. According to the International Data Corporation, global customer experience technology spending is set to reach $641bn in 2022, while Gartner research finds that almost nine in 10 firms had a CXO or equivalent in 2020, up from 65% in 2017.
“COVID-19 has been a huge amplifier of digital change,” states Jobin of PMI, a developer and producer of a range of cigarette and smoke-free products.
“Everyone was forced to change their habits – those who had never shopped online before started to do it. Right before our eyes we are seeing the conjoining of consumers’ digital and physical worlds through multichannel experiences.”
PMI’s major interest is the travel retail sector – think duty free outlets at airports, borders, and other international travel hubs, as well as on aircraft and cruise liners.
Jobin admits the industry is not traditionally viewed as a digital pioneer, not least because it continues to face the challenge of aligning various stakeholders’ priorities.
However, PMI is moving ahead, assuming its position as a category leader and driving a digital transformation to enhance the customer journey in travel retail, be it at physical locations such as airport duty-free shops or other channels.