In 2019, 4.5 billion passengers took 42 million flights worldwide, and analysts forecast over 4.72 billion passengers for 2020. But, unfortunately, no one could predict what would happen next. Flights were grounded, passengers were in lockdown, and the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill.
While the aviation industry was in crisis, the ecommerce industry boomed, accounting for 18% of global sales in 2020, up from 14% in 2019. And it didn’t stop there. The uptake in ecommerce sales continued to grow in 2021 and is expected to reach 21.8% by 2024.
Airports have long benefited from the revenue from retail sales, with Coresight research reporting a 9.3% increase in retail sales year on year in 2018. However, profits were lost when airports and retail stores closed during the pandemic, highlighting how vital it is for airports to have an ecommerce store.
Brisbane Airport quickly spotted this missed opportunity and managed to pull together a digital marketplace in just 16 days. The marketplace featured products from the airport’s retail partners, enabling customers to buy online and have items delivered directly to their doors.
Even though we’re now getting back to normal, airports can still greatly benefit from having an ecommerce website. It opens up a plethora of new revenue opportunities for airports to sell flights, holidays and hotels, competing with airlines and online travel agents. But it also supports airports in connecting with passengers, getting their marketing permissions, and using customer data for more targeted communications and offers.
What’s more, airport ecommerce websites can offer so much more than flights, holidays, parking and other travel ancillaries. And this brings us to five key ways you can diversify your airport ecommerce store.
We previously touched on how Brisbane Airport built an ecommerce shop during the pandemic to make up for some of the sales lost while its retail stores were closed. But retail products are something that all airports can benefit from selling year-round.
Online ordering and door delivery services are great. Still, you have to consider whether new customers will choose your airport over ecommerce giants like Amazon. So instead, why not focus on click and collect retail products that passengers can order online and pick up once they’re at the airport?
Partner with your airport retail stores and duty-free partners to offer a seamless experience:
This online offering can benefit passengers before they fly from your airport and on their return. For example, suppose they wanted to order groceries from one of your retailers to pick up when they return to the airport. In that case, they could do so via your ecommerce store. The retailer would then prepare the groceries for your passenger to collect on arrival. Even better, they could deliver them to the passenger’s door on their return. It’s convenient for passengers – saving them from having to stop to shop on the way home and an easy way to boost your airport’s retail revenue.
Another way you can diversify your airport ecommerce store is by providing your customers with pre-order food and beverage services. Before they arrive at your airport, or even upon arrival, customers can place an online order at one of your chosen bars or restaurants to pick up at a designated time. It saves having to stand in a lengthy queue (helping maintain social distancing), and passengers have a more enjoyable airport experience.
If you plan to diversify your airport ecommerce store with pre-order retail and food and beverage, it’ll pay to offer the added value of gate and lounge delivery. Rather than having to pick up retail or food orders from one of your airport stores or restaurants, customers can choose to have their order delivered to their airport gate or even the airport lounge for added convenience.
Just think, if customers have booked a luxury like your airport lounge, chances are they will be willing to pay more for the convenience of having their retail products and food orders delivered directly to them. Moreover, convenient gate and lounge delivery will also help to minimise queuing and congestion in your airport for a smoother, safer and more enjoyable passenger experience.
Now’s a good time to develop your airport ecommerce website and rebrand your airport as a destination. You can achieve this by diversifying your airport ecommerce website with pre-book experiences.
Airport tours, exclusive shopping events and champagne tasting are great examples of experiences you can offer customers via your airport ecommerce store. Customers pre-book an experience online, receive an e-ticket on their mobile phone and use their mobile phone to gain access to the experience at your airport.
Last but not least, a fantastic way you can diversify your airport ecommerce store is by serving digital retail vouchers. When customers book flights or parking with you, they can download a digital version of their ticket or print it off at home. Either way, you can attach retail vouchers to their tickets to encourage them to spend money at your airport retail stores, restaurants and bars.
Suppose a customer has decided not to purchase a click-and-collect retail product from your airport ecommerce store or pre-book one of your airport experiences. In that case, you can use digital retail vouchers to entice them into your physical stores to spend more money with your airport.
What’s more, using customer data you have collected from a booking, you can personalise the digital retail vouchers to make them more appealing to customers. For example, if the customer has booked flights to a hot country, you might want to attach retail vouchers for any sun-related products they can buy at your retail stores.
Once you’ve decided how to diversify your airport ecommerce store, it’s time to shout about it. Social media and email marketing will support your diversification efforts by making customers aware of all the various products and services you now offer. Then, use sales and behavioural data to send customers personalised offers to improve their experience with your airport while increasing your revenue.
Do you like the sound of our diversification ideas? They’re all easy to implement with the Rezcomm Marketplace. Get in touch with our experts to learn more about our plug-and-play Ecommerce modules and how they will benefit your airport business.