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How to develop your airport ecommerce strategy

25 May 2022
Victoria Wallace

There has never been a more critical time to develop your airport ecommerce strategy. While you may be breathing a sigh of relief that your airport has made it through the pandemic’s violent turbulence, it’s unlikely to have come out completely unscathed. Therefore, to survive this recovery period and claw back some of that all-important non-aeronautical revenue, it’s time to focus on your airport diversification strategy with future-ready ecommerce for airports at its very core.

Building future-ready airport business models

Over the last couple of years, we have seen airports undergo major digital transformations to increase automation, self-service and contactless technology in their terminals to improve efficiency and the passenger experience. But digitalisation isn’t just about making it quicker and safer to get passengers to and from their destinations. Your airport can also leverage digital technologies to unlock non-aeronautical revenue.

However, for this to work, your airport must change its mindset and go from being a simple facilitator of the passenger journey to an active player. You must also consider this: passengers aren’t who they were before the pandemic. Customer behaviours are constantly changing, so your airport must endeavour to collect even more data, use it to build strong passenger profiles and ensure you are delivering the products, services, and experiences that your passengers want to buy.

“Airports have a huge resource in their hands – data,” said Aziz Can Aksoyek (TAV Technologies’ Head of Sales and Business Development) at the International Airport Review Online Summit. He added, “mobile applications, websites, smartphones, smartwatches, visual screens and kiosks – there are a lot of instruments in airports to collect data and convert it into passenger satisfaction and non-aeronautical revenue.”

We agree that taking control of your airport’s data is the first step in developing your airport’s ecommerce strategy, and it’s something Rezcomm can support you with using our plug-and-play marketplace modules.

Diversification strategies to be future-ready and resilient

Choosing the right diversification strategy for your airport is also crucial. There are many ways an airport can diversify to be future-ready and resilient, from making better use of the land they own to developing new products and services to sell to passengers. For example, at the recent International Airport Online Summit, Managing Director Phil Forster spoke about how Teeside International Airport was leasing warehousing and hangar space with plans to add a business park to diversify and drive new revenues.

However, a diversification strategy such as this requires significant time and investment, and of course, the space available in the first place. There are certainly faster ways airports can increase non-aeronautical revenue by developing a robust ecommerce strategy.

Future-ready ecommerce for airports

Today, passengers expect access to ecommerce platforms at any time, from anywhere, regardless of the device they’re using. It’s, therefore, essential that airports meet passengers’ expectations by reimagining airport retail stores beyond their physical boundaries and working closely with partners to deliver an omnichannel business module.

“Duty-free online shopping can provide many opportunities for passengers to save time in the airport, and with food and beverage, offering a pre-order platform prevents passengers from wasting time or risking contact. Essentially, passengers can manage their plans in advance,” said Aziz.

Developing your airport’s ecommerce strategy is essential to driving passenger satisfaction and non-aeronautical revenues. While you might already sell several products and services through your airport website, such as flights, parking and airport lounge, it’s time to go a step further. Consider adding a digital layer to leverage revenue from retail, food and beverage, and premium airport services like gate and lounge delivery.

Develop your airport ecommerce strategy with online retail

With Rezcomm’s flexible and fast to launch ecommerce platform, it’s easy to create new digital revenue opportunities. For instance, our Retail module provides a browse-and-buy shopping service, giving passengers the freedom to buy all of the products they need or want in a single basket, from any device, with click and collect from the airport or delivery.

Whether passengers are looking for travel essentials for their upcoming holiday, a luxury fragrance from duty-free or simply want to order some groceries to pick up on their return home, they can buy everything they need from your airport ecommerce website.

Add pre-order F&B to your airport diversification strategy

Working with your chosen airport coffee shops, restaurants and bars, we can also add a pre-order food and beverage service to your ecommerce site to optimise the passenger experience, limit unnecessary queuing and increase non-aeronautical revenues.

And to take both your airport retail and food and beverage offerings to the next level, why not offer gate or lounge delivery? Minimise queuing and congestion in your airport and create a smoother, more enjoyable experience passengers will remember you for.

Drive non-aeronautical revenue with digital vouchers

Digital vouchers can also help create a seamless link between the digital and physical experience. For example, attaching coupons to flight and parking tickets purchased through your airport website encourages passengers to keep spending with your airport upon arrival in your retail stores, coffee shops and restaurants.

Experiential retail coming to the airport

While we firmly believe that future-ready ecommerce for airports is a must-have post-pandemic, we also appreciate that physical shops still have a certain draw. So, rather than simply wiping out airport retail stores, it’s about enriching the airport experience with experiential retail to deliver a value-added service.

Experiential retail creates synergy between physical and ecommerce stores with an immersive, memorable brand experience. With 72% of millennials saying they’d rather spend on experiences than products, it’s something all airports must consider to keep pace with traveller expectations.

“Use the airport as a stage. It can be a magnificent platform, not just somewhere you fly to and from,” said Director of Non-Aeronautical Revenues at VINCI Airports, Pierre Abiganon, at the IAR Online Summit.

Technologies like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality can contribute to an immersive retail experience. For example, allowing passengers to try a product or service at your airport before purchasing from your ecommerce store. Additionally, experiential retail provides a fantastic brand awareness boost by encouraging passengers to share their memorable moments on social media, tag your airport, and use its unique hashtag.

Develop your airport ecommerce strategy with local uniqueness

When developing your airport ecommerce strategy, in combination with experiential retail, it’s also important to consider your local uniqueness.

“If the airport looks like any other airport in Europe, in the world, and it has the same stores, there is no special experience,” said Vladyslav Ilyin, Chief Commercial Officer of Aviation Revenues at Kharkiv Airport.

Consider the local products you can sell, local delicacies passengers can pre-order, and the local businesses you can collaborate with to put on experiences and events, with tickets sold through your airport ecommerce website. Give people a reason to visit your airport, even if they’re not flying anywhere, and don’t forget to attach vouchers to encourage spending in your stores, coffee shops and restaurants.

Benefit from Rezcomm’s ecommerce strategy management

We appreciate that during this recovery period, a plan to develop your airport ecommerce strategy might feel daunting. But it needn’t be. With our fast to launch, flexible and scalable platform, you can benefit from increasing non-aeronautical revenue without significant investment or risk.

Plus, with Rezcomm as your partner, you’ll have access to our wealth of airport ecommerce knowledge and expertise. We’re the complete package and are ready to deliver the omnichannel experience your passengers expect. Download our ecommerce brochure to learn more and book a meeting to get started on your airport’s ecommerce strategy.