Travel Retail Highlights

Toronto Pearson’s Canadian airport first

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On 24 August Toronto Pearson International Airport heralded a first for Canada’s airports with the launch of The Shops at Pearson, a new ecommerce platform. The online retail offer, developed in partnership with Dufry – with further commercial partners set to join – offers home delivery in Ontario, with beauty and fashion & accessories available in the initial pilot phase. The key advantages, said the airport company, are that the programme offers a vehicle for duty-absorbed sales of core category products, and that it broadens the audience for airport retail – with home delivery within its home province (initially) a selling point. Greater Toronto Airports Authority Director, Commercial Development Giovanna Verrilli told The Moodie Davitt Report: “When Deborah Flint joined as CEO [in December 2019 – Ed], she was really keen that we look closely at the future of our business, driving it in ways that meet the needs of the consumer. She has been a huge supporter of this project, of the need to diversify our revenue base and ecommerce has become a big priority for us. “We have to do it in a way that entices not only travellers but also non-travellers to come to our website and to shop. That means having a great concept, offering convenience and a competitive price.”

The new platform branding unveiled by Toronto Pearson

On the plans to expand the programme, which is managed by ecommerce company Shopify, Verrilli said: “We aim to increase our reach in the areas of product lines, partners and regions. On product, we are beginning with two high-performing categories in beauty and fashion – in close collaboration with Dufry – but we will build on those to include duty paid partners and brands. As we think ahead, we can be a showcase for local, emerging brands. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to promote the work of local brands to our traveller network and even a wider audience across Ontario? “And it does not have to be just product, it can also be experiences that people want to engage with as they become comfortable returning to the airport, or even virtual experiences.” Regional expansion of the home delivery programme is expected in 2022, with mailing to other Canadian provinces beyond Ontario. Toronto Pearson aims to make the new platform stand out through a big marketing campaign. “We are trying to bring the airport to people who cannot yet fly by making this a place where people can explore, learn and engage. What’s important is to learn what makes sense, look at the metrics and build out the programme and our marketing based on what we achieve during this initial period. The end user will decide what is right and what works.”

Our scorecard is around capture rate, creating awareness, conversion and driving incremental revenues.

Greater Toronto Airports Authority Director, Commercial Development Giovanna Verrilli

Looking further ahead, the airport company aims to cross-promote its physical and virtual services via The Shops at Pearson. “In designing this project we aimed to create one branding experience so that our stores and our online presence could complement each other,” said Verrilli. “The branding should work across all of our platforms, and in whatever we do from a commercial perspective. We will leverage the physical to talk about online and vice versa. We want to tell one story.” On what would constitute success for the new platform, Verrilli said: “Our scorecard is around capture rate, creating awareness, conversion and driving incremental revenues. “Our goal at Toronto Pearson has always been to have best in class retail, dining and services from a choice, brand and service perspective. That remains the case. This platform allows us to offer a new way to interact with the airport, while retaining those core principles.”

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The Moodie Davitt eZine Issue 300 | 16 September 2021

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