Guerlain awards the Best Travel Retail Europe Award to the brand’s best department at a European, African or Middle Eastern airport. Finland – and the Nordics – is receiving this award for the first time.
"This is a complete surprise. Despite having a challenging year, our relative sales growth was top of the line. The jury must have also been appreciative of our section being clean and in order. We aim to be as neat and well-dressed as possible as well," says Paula Kari, who has worked at the Helsinki Airport Duty Free store’s Guerlain department since 2008.
She suspects that one of the reasons for their success is Yanli Jia, who joined her last year and is very good at taking care of the airport’s Asian customers. They have worked well together from the very beginning.
“Paula has been helped me a great deal and given me advice on how to work with people, for example. I can tell how much the customer appreciate her,” says Jia.
Both of them say that Guerlain customers are very loyal to the brand. They will often come and talk to us, even if they are not buying anything.
"On the other hand, they often want us to come up with something new for them,” says Kari.
Experience shows in customer encounters
Kari has been in the cosmetics business for over 30 years, and most of her current customers she knows from earlier jobs. Despite the regular customers, a lot of work goes into sales and it requires the women to know the brand’s products like the backs of their hands.
“What’s most important is listening to the customer and figuring out the best choice for what the customer wants. You have to make the customer happy and to make a purchase, to have them walk away with a good feeling. This is where experience really helps,” says Kari.
Kari and Jia both sing the praises of Helsinki Airport, saying it’s a pleasant place to work with no day being alike. You get to meet many people every day, with different backgrounds and from various cultures, and most customers are usually happy to be there.
“The best things about this job are the customer and the brand,” the women say in unison.