/ Data Analytics

How to Automate Your Airport’s E-commerce Reporting and Data Collection

In 2017, retail e-commerce accounted for 2.3 trillion US dollars of customer spend, or 10.2% of all sales worldwide. Mobile commerce (m-commerce) sales rose 40.3% last year. It seems online shopping is here to stay.

As airports embrace the e-commerce boom, smoothly combining physical and digital retail, shopping is becoming an easy, convenient part of the traveller’s journey. It’s a golden age for airport e-commerce. Hundreds of millions of consumers from emerging markets are able to go abroad for the first time, and the same consumers are using their mobile phones to shop online.

“But only the nimble retailers who embrace e-commerce, rather than fear it, will grow and thrive.”
Porter Erisman, entrepreneur, e-commerce consultant, and former Vice President of Alibaba Group

Where airports previously lost out to third party parking and booking agents, the focus on a more retail-inspired, customer-centric approach creates opportunities for data capture and increased revenue. Footfall through the airport is now rich with potential.

But new opportunities are not without their own challenges. How do you know your marketing spend is paying off? What use is customer data without insight?

This is where an online flight booking system like Rezcomm Shop will put you ahead of the competition.

Southampton Airport uses Rezcomm’s suite of tools to leverage rich customer data, informing its digital strategies. Using the integrated marketing solutions, the airport has seen increases in per-passenger spend and market share.

“Our emails continually achieve results way above the industry standards,” says Southampton’s Holly Harvey. “The system is really intuitive and easy to use, meaning we can send out email communications really quickly, and the ability to segment our data ensures we are able to effectively target our customers.”

Automation

While the running of an airport is not the same as an online retail outlet, every e-commerce business will have similar processes and workflows. These similarities present opportunities to improve efficiency with automation.

The need for automation in marketing communications can be broken down into four basic principles:

  • Tasks that are repetitive, requiring a lot of time but very little thought or value from having a person do them should be automated – these include welcome/on-boarding messages
  • Prioritise necessary tasks to identify those that will have the most impact and are easy to automate. Abandoned cart emails, for example, are incredibly effective
  • Prioritise the optimisation and automation of simple daily tasks before working on larger tasks that are less frequent
  • Automate tasks that become unmanageable as your business develops and your customer base grows

A good online booking software will feature a full suite of digital e-marketing solutions, including easy-to-use email automation.

But email is not the only thing that can be automated using an integrated system. E-commerce business lives and dies by the data. Business decisions cannot be made without business intelligence about store and product performance and customer buying behaviour.

A CRM system like Rezcomm can be configured to automatically generate reports and provide the data you need at a specific date and time. This not only saves the work of manually gathering data across multiple channels and dashboards, it ensures the accuracy of e-commerce insights too.

Rezcomm Shop’s reporting and analytics features include:

  • Financial performance reports that quickly identify which products and services are performing well (or not) in real time, allowing you to take rapid action and monitor the results

  • Operational reports that give you real-time visibility of the arrival and/or departure associated with a passenger’s consumption of products or service. This allows you to plan for peak times and determine how much resource is required to manage visitor experience

  • Reports that identify behavioural trends across your airport’s entire product and service range, allowing you to predict your visitors’ needs

  • Real-time revenue projections based on your airport’s previous performance, predicting drops in revenue before they happen and allowing you to act in advance

  • A comprehensive e-commerce data layer and a number of fully supported Google Analytics integrations, which means you can track sales, visits, and referrals quickly and easily. This allows you to see where your web visitors come from and how they found you

  • Reports are available in a variety of customisable, easy-to-read graphic formats, and an actionable dashboard of your sales, average spend, conversion and operational movements gives a clear overview, meaning you can make the right choices for your airport e-commerce business

  • You can create bespoke reports from any data, apply filters, add calculations, customise the appearance and even add charts or graphs, then schedule your reports to run automatically and as often as you need. Reports can even be exported for further analysis in your favourite spreadsheet tool. These reports make it easy to understand every detail of your ecommerce marketing efforts, from customer acquisition to life-time value

E-Commerce Reporting in 2018

Marketing and data collection platform, Funnel, recently reported a new trend in marketing, with marketers increasingly building sophisticated reporting stacks to replace siloed reporting tools and spreadsheets. According to Funnel, large organisations began using this tactic in 2017, but smaller businesses are already following suite.

One reason for this is that marketing is becoming increasingly measurable, with eMarketer reporting that 50% of all marketing will be digital by 2021. Correct measurement means better business decisions, more customers, more targeted advertising spend and better growth.

Another reason is that visualisation tools are more available and affordable than ever. Business intelligence used to be the reserve of the big players, but new Cloud-based solutions like Rezcomm are accessible without the big-business budget. The same goes for data warehouse technology.

Automation of data import and mapping has also become more accessible, with greatly simplified tools and user-dashboards. It is now really easy to include third-party analytics, tagging campaigns and URLs in marketing campaigns, all of which promote clear, valid reporting insights.

What was wrong with the old way?

Manual reporting, where CRM or other analytics data is exported to a spreadsheet for analysis, is time consuming and error-prone. As the e-commerce side of your business grows, it gets incredibly hard to track markets manually.

When your airport e-commerce business grows, you will be using a large number of advertising sources, and you will have more markets, websites and brands to track. You will reach a point where it is not practically possible to do the reporting manually. Added to which, reports are generally prepared weekly, by which time opportunities for optimisation and change-of-approach have been lost. By the time each report is completed, it is almost out of date.

Siloed reporting also has drawbacks, particularly that only data from one source can be viewed at a time – data from different platforms is treated separately. For example, you can make a Facebook report, and Adwords report and a Google Analytics report, but you can’t make a report that takes cost data from Facebook and Adwords and combine it with sales and revenue data from Google Analytics.

The marketing reporting stack

Instead of these linear methods, marketers are benefiting from a flexible, automated reporting stack, where all data is available and up-to-date at all times.

What benefits does a reporting stack offer?

Visualisation
Once the reserve of big business, data visualisation tools are now available through Cloud platforms such as Rezcomm Shop. As a result, data and analytics have been democratised, and data-driven insights can be available to workers throughout an organisation. These platforms are easy to operate and offer an overview of data central to data analysis. They can be used in BI reporting to generate automatic dashboards that track company performance across key performance indicators and visually interpret the results.

Data warehousing
A data warehouse is a data repository used for reporting and data analysis. The visualisation tool is connected to the data warehouse to pull the data that feeds the dashboards and facilitate analysis as and when it’s needed.

For airport e-commerce to really take advantage of the current trends in travel and online shopping, it is important to engage with available CRM and BI technologies. An integrated CRM system with its sophisticated automated reporting features means you will always have control over how you spend your overall marketing budget.

Your airport can invest with confidence in each marketing decision, and track and report on the true impact on ROI and passenger satisfaction, confident that you’re acting on the most relevant, up-to-the-minute data.

If you would like to speak to Rezcomm about our integrated booking, email marketing and CRM management solutions, contact the team today.

Neil Robson

Neil Robson

Parking Services Director at Rezcomm, Neil has been providing leadership for the continued development of an innovative, robust and secure information technology environment.

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