tax free shopping retail

How Retailers Can Build a Seamless Tax-Free Shopping Experience


Tax-free shopping has come a long way from the days of pen and paper. In the past, travelers had to request a paper form from the merchant and spend an eternity filling out paperwork to claim back cash. Thanks to digitization this no longer applies to the modern traveler.

Over the last 40 years Global Blue has pioneered many new approaches to tax-free retail, so to understand what’s next to come for travelers all around the world, we spoke to Adam Klimiuk, Global Blue Service Delivery Manager.

Find out the key insights Adam Klimiuk shared with us below, and for the full interview, you can listen through the link below.

The benefits of a digitized tax-free shopping experience

When Global Blue decided to leave the paper-based forms in the past, it opened up to a world of possibilities. Using Anyline’s OCR (optical character recognition) for capturing the necessary data from documents and passports, they make the process as seamless as possible for merchants and travelers.

One great benefit in comparison to manual entry is that there are no typos due to stress or carelessness. What’s more the process is significantly faster, which means customers are not delayed, while sales assistants can provide a better service to clients.

Another advantage of this digitized process became apparent during the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. Using smartphone scanning replaces the use of standard static devices in-store. According to Klimiuk, this made the experience even more enriching, as customers were reassured by having the option to complete their purchase in a contactless way with a mobile device.

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Customers are seeking innovations that put them in control

In the hyper-competitive retail space, brands are always scanning the horizon for the next big thing. But innovation is not always a fancy new tool, or an eye-catching gimmick. Global Blue understood that one key change in retail is a greater desire among customers for control over their retail experience. Integrating mobile data capture for ID scanning was one step in this direction, giving shoppers control over their shopping experience.

What’s more, this change also enabled Global Blue to offer travelers an even higher level of security. It is well known that ID fraud is on the rise, making it more important than ever for brands to guarantee the gold-standard of data security to their customers. This is why Global Blue is working with Anyline to offer face authentication and liveness detection as part of their tax free shopping procedure – removing any possibility of their account being fraudulently accessed and abused.

Looking ahead to future challenges

While the future looks bright for tax-free shopping, Klimiuk also emphasized that challenges remain, particularly when it comes to new innovations and keeping up with customer expectations. Stores have never worked as closely with travelers before, and creating a digital user experience that delights customers is an ongoing challenge for every firm in the industry.

However, Klimiuk and his colleagues at Global Blue have got strong feedback from both customers and merchants on their solution. Based on this, they are confident that their solutions are more than capable of coping with the increased number of travelers this summer as lockdowns loosen and travelers take to the skies again.


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