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RATP Travel Retail

The metro network : an essential retail venue

The RATP Group subsidiary RATP Travel Retail, dedicated to shops and services in stations, called on Échos Études’ expertise to draw up an overview of the new retail challenges in passenger transit areas. The study involved carrying out an online survey with approximately one hundred distributors, interviews with retail chain leaders as well as consulting documentary and statistical resources. It reveals a paradigm shift for Transit Retail and highlights the metro network’s appeal as a new playing field full of opportunities for retail chains.

A changing outlook on transit retail

Although it was severely affected by the decrease in mobility and the multiple successive lockdowns, transit retail now has new prospects. Overview of the trends that are currently shaping retail, as its offering is undergoing a deep transformation notably driven by:

  • The e-commerce boom and the rapid growth of connected parcel lockers, which are attracting an increasing number of consumers looking for simple, practical and easy solutions. These offers are particularly fitting for high pedestrian traffic areas as they integrate into passenger routes.
  • The development of pop-up shops, which have become an essential lever for well-established brands and niche brands alike by enabling them to create an experience and gain exposure in transit areas by benefiting from their powerful passenger flows.
  • The emergence of “Retail as a service” which seeks to integrate daily-life services (medical laboratories, health centres, etc.) to transit flow areas to provide consumers with a proximity offering.

The metro network: the most strategic transit area for retailers

Mirroring the above transformations, the study reveals retailers’ new outlook on transit retail. With an increasingly fragmented purchase itinerary due to the spread of teleworking, the e-commerce boom and the rapid growth of quick commerce, brands see retail in transit areas as a means to appeal to travellers but also daily commuters, and even local residents. As proof of this new role taken on by transit area retail: 46% of retail chains surveyed cited the metro as their most strategic transit area, regardless of their current implantation locations and placing it ahead of railway stations (39%) and airports (25%).

Setting up shop on commuter paths: a major asset

According to retail chains, the strength of station retail on the metro and RER networks resides in the recurrence of passenger flows. It is the first asset cited by 42% of distributors, ahead of volume of flows (28%) and their regularity over the course of a day (28%). 70 RATP network brands are currently making the most of this asset, which appeals to new players such as Monop’ and My Pop Up Store. The latter emphasise the benefits of commuter flows on brand visibility.

“Nowadays, consumers shop differently from how they used to. They tend to split their purchases across different digital and physical channels, and more so since the health crisis. Having a presence on the RATP network allows us to be a part of their daily commutes and multiply contact points with consumers while being present and as close to their needs as we can” 

Maguelone Paré, Concept and innovation director at Monoprix

“A brand that is present on the metro network though a pop-up store will be able to spread its message to users as they pass by it every day. Given the amount of passengers using this itinerary daily, the metro becomes an excellent channel to appeal to the DNVBs who are currently facing a surge in purchase costs on the internet and are turning to physical retail.”

Thierry Bisseliches, Associate director of My Pop Up Store

“Being present on the metro network ensures that our shops will reach all their customer profiles every day. The study confirmed that we have a major role to play in facing the complete transformation of consumption patterns due to the health crisis. The metro network has become an essential step in an increasingly fragmented purchase itinerary, as well as the place where physical and virtual channels reconnect. 
In recent years, our service offering has significantly improved for passengers with the installation of medical laboratories and health centres, pop-up stores and parcel lockers.”

Patricia Delon, RATP Travel Retail Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer.

To go further

Discover the RATP Travel Retail website: