In the last two decades, e-commerce has changed the retail landscape, and as a sales channel it’s still growing fast. 2018 statistics show that online shopping currently makes up 12% of all retail sales, and this figure has increased 23.3% year on year since 2017.
Keen to replicate the success of online trailblazer, Amazon, retailers across the board have invested in e-commerce. In recent years, airports have explored e-commerce as a way to build ancillary revenue and to connect directly with passengers who would otherwise remain ‘strangers on a plane’.
Passengers at the airport represent a captive audience. They spend time at the airport during the travel process, happy to browse duty-free concessions and enjoy a great physical shopping experience. Rather than looking to take these shoppers online and compete directly with online retail specialists, airports can get the most out of e-commerce by placing their focus on the passenger. E-commerce can be used in an airport-specific way to reduce stress for the passenger, to ease the journey from pre-booking to post-travel, and to direct shoppers from their digital device towards the booking system, shops and ancillary services at the airport.
Today’s consumer has a growing appetite for ease and convenience. A fully hosted SaaS cloud e-commerce platform like Rezcomm Shop satisfies this expectation. Flight ticket bookings, car park reservations and hotel booking can all take place online through your airport’s existing website, increasing conversions, sales, revenue and customer satisfaction.
Rezcomm’s online booking software features a fully optimised shop-front to maximise visitor interaction and product engagement, offering the best possible customer experience. Customers can log in using social media, check out in multiple currencies and languages and manage their bookings via an account page. Meanwhile the airport can use the e-commerce shop to monetise visitor traffic by selling advertising space or promoting complimentary products and services.
While airports remain unique in the services and shopping experience they provide, e-commerce offers value in terms of revenue growth and customer data gathering. Trust is built through functionality, and this requires your airport to keep up to date with e-commerce trends.
Three disruptive trends current in e-commerce that apply to airports…
1. More focus on mobile shoppers
In 2016, Bloomberg reported that mobile traffic on e-commerce websites surpassed that of desktop traffic for the first time. While this figure doesn’t yet convert directly to revenue, with 42% of traffic generating 21% of sales, many customers enjoy the convenience and availability of mobile to research purchases that they later complete on their desktop.
This difference between traffic and conversion rates is partly due to the fact that many e-commerce retailers have not yet offered an enhanced experience to mobile shoppers. A mobile-responsive system improves the browsing experience, but to really succeed on mobile it’s important to think mobile-first, rather than to attempt to replicate desktop.
Features like mobile wallet functionality allow shoppers to easily complete bookings and payments using their phones. Consider creating an airport app to ease the browsing and purchase process for mobile shoppers.
Airports using Rezcomm Shop for their e-commerce store benefit from a built-in mobile commerce shopping cart. Passengers can browse and buy using any mobile device.
2. The growth of artificial intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence is a useful tool to increase revenue and enhance the experience shoppers have in your store.
It can be used, for example, to determine which customer segment or individual passenger is most likely to buy a certain type of product. This information allows you to produce personalised product recommendations and send appropriate marketing messages. Recommendations such as ‘You may also like’ are popular with shoppers. According to NCHannel, personalised home page promotions influenced 85% of consumers to buy, while personalised shopping cart recommendations influenced 92% of shoppers online.
Rezcomm Shop makes is easy to up-sell and cross-sell to allow customers to upgrade within their booking journey, and to cross-sell complimentary products within the booking journey. This not only increases revenue but also provides a value-added service. The software makes it easy to identify customer behaviour trends across your airport’s entire product and service range, to predict your passengers’ needs and to get to know them like never before.
AI can also improve your airport’s engagement with potential customers. For example, by determining which product page a shopper is spending most time on, you can re-target that customer by promoting the product in a personalised email or advertisement. You can also follow up abandoned carts, triggering customers to complete a booking or purchase they left unfinished.
Using a solution like Rezcomm Shop, it is easy to launch and manage promotions to boost sales. Promotions can be issued with a booking or through a digital channel, and offers can be single-use, product specific, or time sensitive. You can also upload adverts using a simple drag and drop editor. These can be added during the booking journey, or included on receipts and tickets to increase awareness of your products and services.
3. The rise of chatbots
Chatbots are gaining popularity as a way to engage and assist customers and increase revenue. New trends in e-commerce centre on enhancing user experience, and a chatbot is customer-centric, acting like a personal shopper. Chatbots help the customer find products quickly and easily and resolve any issues or questions. This facilitates a fast, seamless shopping experience of the type that encourages a shopper to convert.
However, chatbots are only as effective as your data is accurate. For instance, in order for the chatbot to work effectively to resolve customer issues, you need to collect common examples of customer questions, complaints and requests. These must then be fed into the chatbot’s algorithm so that it can learn how to help customers with common problems.
AI can be used to navigate users closer to the airport service they require. Using AI, visitors can track flights, receive real-time gate updates, and search restaurants, shops and the other amenities in the Airport.
One of the reasons for AI’s success is that is built around real life problems. It can address specific needs and clearly demonstrate how the customer experience can be improved by altering perceptions of how passengers undertake certain tasks.
These three trends are driving in e-commerce in 2018. Apply them to your airport marketing and conversion optimisation strategies to deepen customer relationships, improve service and increase revenue.
If you would like to speak to Rezcomm about our integrated booking and CRM management solutions, contact the team today.
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