Celebrating 2017's many successes

How did Global Blue support you in 2017?

Thank you

Tax Free Shopping sale in stores increased by +8% and Dynamic Currency Conversion transactions by +12% (CYTD November 2017). There is no doubting Europe’s improving macroeconomic trends and some of Asian countries’ exceptional performances (Japan) contributed to these encouraging results.

The partnerships we forged with our merchants throughout the year act as the backbone of these results. We wish to thank all the merchants who have accepted to pilot these innovations with us in 2017. Transparent collaboration and optimum communication between all stakeholders involved resulted in successful implementation and quick results.

The year of the digital: Launching Mobile Customer Care, SHOP TAX FREE app, new websites

2017 was the year of the digital, with numerous products and services designed to fit an increasingly digital savvy audience. This is best incarnated with the launch of Mobile Customer Care (MCC) in July. The new digital service which includes real-time notifications sent to travellers’ phones and a complementary website was met with great acclaim. Seven months into the project, we have helped our merchant partners increase their refund ratio rates thanks to 200,000 messages sent to travellers’ phones helping them complete their tax free journey. 

Our newly revamped SHOP TAX FREE app available on iOS and Android devices now includes live tracking of tax refunds, advanced mapping and comprehensive Tax Free information for numerous cities around the world. Targeted at frequent Globe Shoppers, the app also includes a virtual SHOP TAX FREE card accepted in 305,000 stores worldwide, considerably alleviating “frequent” Globe Shoppers from the hassle of filling in Tax Free forms.

Half-way through 2017, we celebrated the launch of our three new Business, Traveller and Corporate websites raising global awareness around the Tax Free industry to more than 15 million readers. For brands, the Traveller website also supports enhanced features such as new advertising formats and dedicated microsites.

Collaborations with major payment specialists

In parallel, developing numerous partnerships with key stakeholders from the payment business helped us cement our position as the leader of the Tax Free Shopping industry. With first of all, the launch of early refund services for UnionPay credit cardholders, directly in-stores, in downtown cash refund offices and airports. As Globe Shoppers can now opt to receive their refund before leaving the country, brands may benefit from this potential increased spending power.

Last but certainly not least, 2017 marked the beginning of our collaboration with Alipay, the leading digital payment platform, on 2 separate projects. First of all, with the launch of real-time VAT refunds for Alipay cardholders in 14 European airports. Later on, this service was successfully pilot launched in several stores, meaning travellers now have the option to receive their refund digitally, direct to their Alipay accounts while still shopping.

Expanding our global presence

Back in March, the launch of our partnership with Bank of China to operate Shanghai’s VAT refund service and to be the nationwide refund operator for returning Chinese shoppers marked the start of our operations in the country.

We also expanded our network of VIP lounges in Europe, with the openings of Rome and Madrid lounges. More than an exclusive space for “frequent” and “elite” travellers to relax and receive exclusive refund services in, these locations are unique environments to create tailored brand stories.

Looking ahead

As the competition grows fiercer in the retail industry, Global Blue remains fully dedicated to support its business partners be more competitive. We will carry on with bringing cutting edge innovations and differentiating marketing services to make Tax Free Shopping an automatic decision and pleasurable experience. 

Are you interested in knowing more about one of these innovations? Please contact your local Global Blue representative.