- Hudson, the airport and travel retailer with more than 1,000 locations, next year will introduce a mobile app as part of a broader revamp of its stores. The "Hudson Blue" app aims to connect customers with stores by offering more information about products and promotions, per an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- The mobile app is set to launch in mid-2020, and will have features to help travelers "ease the stress of travel" beyond Hudson's refreshed locations. The company also plans to offer self-checkout stations to expedite customers through store lines when they're on the go.
- Hudson's mobile app announcement arrives as the company revamps its stores to feature digital displays showing local content and modular walls that can change product offerings quickly. The app news follows last month's introduction of a fresh brand identity that emphasizes its goal of helping travelers.
Hudson's planned introduction of a mobile app that extends its reach beyond store locations comes as people increasingly rely on their smartphones when they travel. Almost all (98%) of travelers carry a smartphone throughout their journey, using apps or the mobile web to check into flights, make last-minute changes to travel plans, enjoy in-flight entertainment or find directions, a study by Travelport found. It also discovered that 92% of travel brands think having a mobile strategy is "critical" or "very important" to their future success. With those trends and consumer reliance on smartphones, Hudson needs a robust mobile strategy.
The retailer is currently rebranding its stores to offer a broader range of travel-related products, pivoting away from its roots as a more traditional newsstand. Travelers now are more likely to consume media on smartphones, tablets or e-readers, reducing the demand for print magazines, newspapers and books. However, Hudson still can reach a captive audience of travelers who shop for everything from mobile accessories and snacks to last-minute gifts as they wait in airports or other commuter hubs. Travelers on average have 56 minutes of free time before their flights and spend 25 minutes shopping in duty-free stores, researcher NPD Group estimated.
Hudson needs to change its product mix and reach more customers to grow sales. Its revenue fell 0.7% to $523 million in Q3 from a year earlier, and the company blamed a slowing global economy for an 8% drop in duty-free sales among international travelers. A revamped mobile app may help the company to boost revenue by showcasing in-stock products and other convenient offers.