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5 Ways to Boost Your Airport Ecommerce Through Mobile

4 Jul 2024
Sarah Marks

Smartphones are everywhere, and businesses can’t ignore the need to provide customers with a digital experience that’s optimised for mobile. This is especially true for ecommerce—in early 2024, smartphones accounted for about 77% of global retail site traffic, driving two-thirds of online shopping orders.

Air travellers today can complete various transactions—booking parking spots, securing lounge access, shopping at retail outlets, and even booking flights—through their phones. Airports that adopt mobile-first strategies can cater to the digital traveller, enhance the passenger experience, and drive ecommerce growth.

1. Optimise your website for mobile

Your mobile website is often the first interaction passengers have with your airport and that first impression matters. If users have a bad experience, 88% are unlikely to return. A mobile-optimised site ensures smooth navigation and encourages passengers to come back, enhancing their overall experience.

Intuitive design and easy navigation: Passengers expect a user-friendly website where they can find services quickly. Clean layouts with logical menus and intuitive navigation paths help users access essential information like flight details, parking options, and shopping without hassle.

Responsive design principles: Mobile devices come in different screen sizes, and websites must be responsive, ensuring that content looks good on a variety of devices. This includes using flexible images and layouts that adapt, so users have a consistent experience regardless of the device they’re using.

Fast loading times and minimal downtime: Travellers often need information quickly, and they don’t have the patience to wait for it — 53% of mobile site visits that take longer than just three seconds to load are abandoned. Implementing techniques like image optimisation, reducing HTTP requests, and browser caching can significantly improve load times. Robust hosting and load balancing also ensure that the website remains available, even during peak traffic.

Personalised recommendations: By leveraging AI and machine learning, airports can provide personalised content based on passenger behaviour and preferences. For instance, the website can suggest duty-free items or dining options based on what users have previously viewed or purchased. This approach not only keeps users engaged but also increases the chances of conversions by offering relevant suggestions tailored to their interests.

2. Build a dedicated airport app

Dedicated airport apps offer a direct link between airports and passengers, making the travel experience smoother and more personalised. They provide real-time updates, exclusive content, and easy access to a variety of services and ecommerce options, all from the convenience of a smartphone.

Passenger engagement benefits: Dedicated apps connect airports directly with passengers, enhancing engagement through exclusive content, loyalty programs, and real-time updates. These apps simplify the travel experience by integrating with systems like flight information displays and baggage tracking. They also offer seamless access to ecommerce, enabling passengers to pre-order duty-free items or book services from their phones.

Push notifications: These provide real-time updates on flight status, gate changes, and personalised promotions, keeping passengers informed without needing to open the app. Customised notifications can offer relevant discounts on airport shopping or dining, boosting engagement and avoiding user fatigue.

Enhanced features: Passengers can customise their app experience by saving preferences for quick access to frequently used services, such as parking or lounge bookings. This personalisation encourages repeat use and makes it easy for passengers to book ancillary services and retail online, boosting non-aeronautical revenue for your airport.

AI chatbots as personal concierges: AI-powered chatbots provide instant support, answering common queries, booking services, and offering personalised recommendations. Acting as digital concierges, they can handle tasks, such as booking lounges or recommending shopping deals, enhancing customer service without needing additional staff.

3. Streamline mobile checkout

Online shoppers can abandon their carts at any stage of the purchase process, including at the final steps. According to the Baymard Institute, 22% of users in 2024 abandoned their carts because the checkout process was too long or complicated, and 13% left because there weren’t enough payment methods. Addressing these issues can significantly enhance the passenger experience and increase completed transactions.

Simplified checkout processes: Minimising form fields, offering guest checkout options, enabling one-click purchasing, and providing clear progress indicators are a few ways to streamline the checkout process. These features help passengers complete transactions more efficiently, reducing frustration and improving overall satisfaction.

Integration of mobile payment options: Supporting multiple mobile payment methods, such as e-wallets and Apple Pay, simplifies the process and caters to different user preferences. Secure transactions are ensured through tokenisation and encryption, giving users confidence in the safety of their financial data.

Auto-fill and saved preferences: Auto-fill capabilities enable returning users to complete forms quickly using previously saved information. This speeds up the checkout process and enhances user satisfaction by making repeat transactions effortless. By remembering passenger preferences, the system can further personalise the shopping experience, increasing the likelihood of conversions.

4. Leverage social commerce

Social commerce is transforming how airports engage with passengers. By harnessing the power of social media, airports can drive traffic to their ecommerce services and enhance destination marketing efforts.

Integration with social media platforms: Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook are powerful tools for promoting airport services. By integrating social commerce, airports can engage passengers with eye-catching content and targeted ads, driving more traffic to their ecommerce services.

Influencer partnerships: Partnering with travel influencers can help boost an airport’s destination marketing campaign. Influencers can create content that resonates with their followers to showcase the destination, such as local attractions, cultural experiences, and authentic food experiences. With 45% of Gen Zers trusting influencer travel recommendations, this strategy helps airports reach potential visitors who might not be engaged through traditional marketing channels.

Shoppable posts: Shoppable social media posts make it easy for passengers to browse and buy directly from their feeds. This feature simplifies the buying process, enabling passengers to explore airport services and products without leaving the platform. By integrating shoppable posts, airports can tap into impulse purchases and boost ecommerce revenue.

5. Use predictive analytics and personalisation

Predictive analytics helps airports turn passenger data into actionable insights. This allows for more personalised services and recommendations, making the travel experience smoother and more enjoyable for passengers.

Anticipating customer needs: Predictive analytics helps airports understand and anticipate passenger needs. By analysing data from their mobile website and app, airports can forecast peak shopping times, popular products, and services, and even implement dynamic pricing for parking. This ensures that inventory and staffing levels meet demand, providing passengers with the right services at the right times.

Personalised recommendations: Airports can analyse the data collected to offer personalised recommendations to passengers. This might include suggesting dining options, retail promotions, or exclusive offers for airport lounge access or parking tailored to individual preferences. These customised recommendations enhance the passenger experience and encourage passengers to spend more.

Boost your airport ecommerce through a mobile-first strategy

Adopting a mobile-first strategy is key for airports looking to enhance their ecommerce revenue while providing an elevated travel experience. By focusing on mobile optimisation, airports can offer seamless services and personalised experiences that drive ecommerce growth.

Get in touch to see what tools and support we can provide to optimise your mobile platforms, ensure you meet the demands of today’s tech-savvy passengers, and boost your airport ecommerce.