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How to Automate Your Airport’s Ecommerce Reporting and Data Collection

16 Jan 2020
Alwyn Joy

In 2019, retail ecommerce accounted for 3.53 trillion US dollars of customer spend – a considerable hike from 2.3 trillion in 2017 and around 14% of all sales worldwide. Latest forecasts suggest that online shopping will represent 16% of all sales in 2020, and that while growth rates are now declining, they remain positive. One thing is certain: Online shopping is here to stay.

As airports embrace the ecommerce 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 ecommerce. 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 as entrepreneur and ecommerce consultant Porter Erisman says: “Only the nimble retailers who embrace ecommerce, rather than fear it, will grow and thrive.”

Where airports previously lost out to third-party parking and booking agents, the focus on a more retail-inspired, customer-centred approach creates opportunities for data capture and increased revenue. Passengers in the airport terminal are no longer ‘strangers on a plane’, and footfall through the airport is now rich with potential.

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

This is where an integrated marketplace like Rezcomm will put you ahead of the competition. Rezcomm’s industry specific tools allow your airport to leverage rich customer data to inform your digital strategies. This leads to increased efficiency, better per-passenger spend and a bigger market share.

The Basics of Automation

While the running of an airport is not the same as the management of an online retail outlet, every ecommerce business will have similar processes and workflows. These similarities present opportunities to improve efficiency with automation. Airports can learn from trailblazers like Amazon, whose share of the US ecommerce market currently stands at more than 50%.

Automation is a process most commonly equated with marketing. The need for automation in customer communications can be broken down into four basic principles:

  1. 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/onboarding messages
  2. 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
  3. Prioritise the optimisation and automation of simple daily tasks before working on larger tasks that are less frequent
  4. Automate tasks that become unmanageable as your business develops and your customer base grows

A good online booking toolkit will feature a full suite of digital marketing solutions, including easy-to-use email automation. And with global spend on email marketing at around $350 million in 2019, marketers certainly believe in the channel.

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

A customer relationship management (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 ecommerce insights too.

Rezcomm’s reporting and analytics features include:

  • Audience size and source reports enabling you to review your marketing database’s total size and identify where leads come from.
  • Financial performance reports that allow you to quickly identify which products and services are performing well (or not) in real time
  • Operational reports that give you real-time visibility of the arrival and/or departure associated with a passenger’s consumption of products or services. 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 ecommerce data layer and a number of fully supported Google Analytics integrations, making it possible to see where your web visitors come from and how they found you.

All of these reports are available in a variety of customisable, easy-to-read graphic formats. 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 ecommerce business.

You can also create bespoke reports from any data, apply filters, add calculations, change the appearance and even add charts or graphs. Then just 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 lifetime value.

For example, with the marketing customer entry plan report, you can automatically identify what each customer has, and has not bought, send personalised, post-purchase emails, up and cross-sell products, improve customer experience and increase the average spend per customer.

This is just one example. There are many types of report that can be automated using Rezcomm:

Sales forecast reports: Forecast real time revenue projections based on your prior year’s performance. Add targeted growth and compare actual to targeted revenue. Graphical forecasting makes it easy to forecast any projected drops in revenue and take action.

Sales financial reports: Measure current and prior performance, report by gross or net revenues, analyse individual categories or specific products. Quickly identify how individual products and services are performing in real time.

Sales operations reports: Gain real-time visibility of every product and service movement. Plan for peak times, understand performance and determine how much resource is required to manage passenger experience.

Rezcomm also offers managed services that help you to up sell and cross-sells products, improve customer experience and increase the average spend-per-customer:

Data acquisition reports: Our team will analyse and optimise all existing passenger data acquisition points and identify new opportunities, supporting the process of growing your airport’s marketing database and allowing you to form direct relationships with passengers.

Customer up/cross-sell strategy: Rezcomm will create and implement an email strategy around your airport products to ensure that, after making a purchase, each customer receives a series of personalised, post-purchase emails.

A prospect entry plan: Rezcomm designs and implements an email strategy around your airport products to ensure that each prospect receives a welcome email.

Mass email sends: Rezcomm creates and applies an email strategy around your airport’s routes, products and latest news to ensure each email subscriber receives regular, personalised emails.

Workflow email sends: Rezcomm will build and set in place an email strategy to ensure that each email subscriber receives a series of hyper-personalised emails. These emails are sent to each passenger based on their behaviour, engagement and interactions with the airport.

Re-engage and re-consent plans: We will create and implement an email strategy to identify when passengers have become disengaged with your email marketing and use creative marketing techniques to capture their attention or ‘re-engage’ them.

Each of these managed services includes:

  • Communications strategy
  • Email design – copywriting, imagery, testing and sending
  • Reporting and ongoing improvements

Ecommerce Reporting in 2020

For the last few years, marketers have been moving away from multiple siloed reporting tools and spreadsheets and towards sophisticated reporting stacks like platforms and CRMs. All-in-one solutions are incredibly powerful when it comes to aligning aspects like sales and marketing, and doing so with speed and efficiency. Many large organisations began using this tactic in 2017, but smaller businesses have been following suite.

One reason for this is that reporting stacks make marketing more measurable. Correct measurement means better business decisions, more customers, more targeted advertising spend and better growth.

Another reason is that visualisation tools are more accessible and affordable than ever. Business intelligence was once 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 user-friendly, with greatly simplified tools and 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 ecommerce side of your business grows, it gets incredibly hard to track markets manually.

When your airport ecommerce business expands, 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 combines 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?

Once the reserve of big business, data visualisation tools are now available through Cloud platforms such as Rezcomm. As a result, data and analytics have been democratised, and data-driven insights can be available to team members 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 ecommerce 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. Data reporting can also be incredibly valuable for tasks like revenue management.

Rezcomm’s world-first omnichannel solutions for airports are transforming the marketplace for our clients. If you would like to join the 200+ airports already sharing our in-depth knowledge about all aspects of airport ecommerce, sign up to our Ecommerce Goldmine today.

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