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6 Principles of Ecommerce (and How it Can Help Airports Increase Revenue and Customer Satisfaction)

22 Feb 2024
Victoria Wallace

“The word is convenience – the word is anywhere, anytime, however the consumer wants it.” Colgate-Palmolive

Ecommerce is rapidly becoming the primary way we shop, and the numbers indicate that online sales will continue to grow. Global retail ecommerce sales reached nearly $6 trillion in 2023 and are expected to exceed $8 trillion by 2027.

With ecommerce largely driven by price and convenience, consumers want instant gratification and highly personalised, engaging interactions. A 2023 Salesforce survey reported that, as technology advances, 81% of consumers expect faster service and 73% expect better personalisation. Businesses must provide a seamless online shopping experience, and airports can learn from retail to develop future-proof strategies for the digital consumer.

Let’s look at a few of the basic principles of ecommerce, and how airports can implement them into their own offerings.

1. Optimise your website for ecommerce

Imagine this: 60% of shoppers will leave a purchase behind if they find a website clunky or hard to use. Online shoppers want to find what they’re looking for fast, and every second shaved off your site’s loading time can bump up your conversion rate by 17%. And with 70% of online carts being abandoned in 2023, it’s clear that ease and speed are non-negotiable for customers.

Plus, being easy to find through a simple Google search matters a lot, as more than half of your potential customers start with search engines when they’re thinking about buying something.

How to optimise your website for ecommerce

  • Place clear, easy-to-spot call-to-action (CTA) buttons throughout your site to guide customers towards making a purchase or taking the next step.
  • Keep your site’s navigation simple and intuitive, making it effortless for customers to find exactly what they’re looking for without any hassle.
  • Suggest products tailored to the customer’s interests and past shopping behaviour, adding a personal touch to their shopping experience.
  • Reduce the number of fields in forms to the minimum you need, making signing up or checking out quick and straightforward.

2. Create a seamless mobile browsing experience

Google began working on mobile-first search indexing in 2016 and announced a switch to mobile-first indexing for all websites from September 2020. The reason? Mobile traffic has overtaken desktop traffic, with close to 61% of all internet traffic coming from mobile devices at the end of 2023. The figure for retail website visits is even higher at 70%.

Mobile matters, and in an environment where consumers expect an optimised mobile experience, an interface that requires the customer to squint at teeny tiny writing or zoom in to half a wobbly page is no longer acceptable. If your airport business ecommerce website has not yet optimised its mobile version, one thing’s for sure — you will lose customers.

How to create a seamless mobile browsing experience

  • Use a responsive design and layout, meaning your website will automatically adjust to look great and work well on any device, from desktops to smartphones.
  • Design buttons and links to be easy to tap with a finger without zooming in.
  • Prioritise content and display the most important information and actions at the top of the page, so users don’t have to scroll excessively to find what they need.
  • Choose font sizes that are easy to read on small screens to enhance readability without requiring users to zoom in.

3. Enable multiple digital payment options

Today’s customer doesn’t want to scrabble around for a payment card when completing an online transaction. In fact, 11% of customers have abandoned their carts at the checkout stage because there weren’t enough payment methods for them.

As more and more shoppers adopt digital payment using phones, cards and even watches, the trend is set to continue. Changes in payment methods tend to evolve slowly, with new types supplementing old rather than immediately replacing them. This is the case with mobile payments too, but the pace of development, adoption and integration of these technologies is much faster than it has been for previous-generation payment types. Your airport’s ecommerce website must keep up with these changes and consumer preferences.

How to keep up with changing digital payment preferences

  • Include a variety of payment methods such as credit cards, debit cards, digital wallets (e.g., PayPal, Apple Pay), and bank transfers to cater to the diverse preferences of your customers.
  • Support multiple currencies so customers can view prices and make payments in a currency they’re comfortable with.
  • Clearly display information on payment options, security measures, and any additional fees or taxes at the beginning of the checkout process to avoid surprises.
  • Use customer data to suggest the most relevant payment options based on their location, device, and past preferences, enhancing the personal touch of your ecommerce site.

5. Offer flexible delivery options

Ecommerce delivery timescales have become much quicker and more precise in recent years. Now, customers want even more flexibility, with 83% saying they want more shipping options including the option to “click-and-collect”, or buy items online and pick them up in a store. As click-and-collect grows, delivery service is less likely to remain a key differentiator at the retail level.

Airports are uniquely placed to offer the convenience of click-and-collect. Airport ecommerce can enable customers to buy an item online and collect it at the retail outlet in the airport. It’s a guarantee for customers that the item will be available for them, and a guaranteed sale for the airport retailer.

How to provide flexible delivery options to customers

  • Offer customers the option to purchase items online and pick them up at a designated location, such as a physical store, airport retail outlet, or a secure locker.
  • Send notifications via email or mobile app about order readiness, collection point information, and any changes to collection or delivery options.
  • Provide a service where purchases made online can be delivered directly to passengers at their departure gates, enhancing convenience for those short on time.
  • Implement a system that allows passengers to select a convenient collection time slot, ensuring they can pick up their purchases without disrupting their travel schedule.

6. Provide automated customer service

Do you prefer to talk to a customer service rep or find the answer yourself? If you’re part of the majority — 61% to be exact — you prefer to use self-serve methods for simple issues.

The use of mobile messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp has exploded in popularity over the last few years and, thanks to ecommerce personalisation, many large retailers have integrated AI into their customer service channels. Now, these two trends have converged in the chatbot – AI-led automated messenger services that allow customers to engage with a brand, delivering a new way of shopping and communicating.

Chatbots can handle multiple inquiries at the same time, reducing wait times for customers and increasing efficiency. The best chatbots detect exactly what the customer is looking for, make suggestions about products, answer customer service queries and place orders, even detecting idioms in language used in order to communicate in an appropriate manner.

How to provide automated customer service

  • Integrate chatbots into the website and mobile app to provide instant responses to customer inquiries, available 24/7.
  • Use AI to analyse customer data and previous interactions to personalise the chatbot responses, making the customer feel understood and valued.
  • Use analytics to monitor chatbot interactions, identifying areas for improvement and understanding customer needs and preferences better.
  • Partner with a supplier like Rezcomm that enables you to easily integrate chatbots into your ecommerce website without heavy technical requirements.

Ecommerce and the airport

Few things have changed the airport experience like the arrival of ecommerce. In its simplest form, ecommerce just means shopping for good or services online, but in the context of an airport it becomes something much more.

Any airport seeking to drive non-aeronautical revenue has a lot to gain by adopting a fully integrated online shopping portal. Many airports still have systems in place that are outdated or lack the modern functionality necessary to reap the benefits of new revenue sources. This is especially true for regional airports, where ecommerce technology presents a golden opportunity to reach passengers in new ways and with a range of personalised services. Before ecommerce, this simply wasn’t possible.

The three key areas of the airport experience are parking, shopping, and lounge. Here’s how ecommerce can transform these vital customer touchpoints.


When an airport integrates ecommerce into its car park booking system, it becomes easy to offer new services, reduce operating costs and maximise occupancy at any given time. With Rezcomm’s pre-book parking services, you can make it easy for and encourage customers to book a parking spot for their flight, giving them a stress-free experience and adding to your revenue.

Automatic number-plate recognition technology means you can identify when a car has left an allocated parking space so that the airport knows when a space is empty. With reporting and analytics tools, you can build a picture of parking behaviour, and even re-sell spaces that have been vacated early.

When data about parking behaviour is up to date and can be correctly analysed, the airport even has the information to determine peak and off-peak times, and to adjust pricing accordingly.


With ecommerce, the airport experience starts as soon as a passenger makes their holiday booking. There’s the potential to sell everything a customer may need for their holiday and at the airport during the booking process — think spa services while in transit, car rentals at their destination, even hotel rooms as part of your destination marketing campaigns.

Whether or not the customer is aware of your range of products, you can use cross-selling and upselling to educate them about available goods and services and to offer valuable personalised product recommendations to returning customers.

Alongside the personalised shopping experience that’s possible with ecommerce, Rezcomm’s platform makes it easy for potential customers to find every destination your airport serves. Inspirational search tools and interactive maps help you to easily promote your less well-known destinations and demonstrate your function as a hub for a wider range of routes.

Once a transaction is finalised, a countdown is initiated. From this point you can send timely value-add email messages to passengers with updates about their journey, recommendations for things they may have forgotten, or special offers that will encourage them to try new services.


Ecommerce is making airport lounges a lot more attractive for passengers. With the convenience of pre-booking, passengers can secure their spot in the lounge ahead of their travel, ensuring they have a peaceful place to relax, away from the hustle and bustle of the terminal. You can also create personalised lounge offers — based on data gathered from ecommerce interactions — you can tailor promotions and upgrades directly to individual passengers. These targeted offers enhance the passenger experience and can boost lounge bookings.

The passenger data you can collect can help you analyse patterns in lounge usage, preferences for certain amenities, and overall feedback so you can refine your services and tailor the lounge experience to meet passenger expectations better. This loop of continuous improvement means that lounges can evolve to become not just spaces for waiting but destinations in their own right.

Benefits of ecommerce for airports

There are tangible advantages in implementing ecommerce for your airport website that make it a win-win for both passengers and airports.

Benefits for passengers

Reduced stress and enhanced travel experience: Big things like flight delays or small worries like the fear of forgetting something can raise anxiety levels before a passenger even sets off for the airport. Knowing that essential services are pre-booked and paid for can significantly reduce travel-related stress, allowing passengers to enjoy a more relaxed and enjoyable airport experience. Ecommerce also makes it possible for customers to shop during normally stressful downtime. They can buy online while waiting in line at security and collect their goods, which will be waiting for them when they’re finished.

Personalised travel experience: With access to passenger data, you can make the retail experience more efficient by targeting users with advertising based on their preferences. This encourages them to shop at their favourite outlets and makes them aware of shops they might not have taken the time to find. Passengers have an improved airport experience and can explore the full range of what the airport has to offer, possibly finding new favourites along the way.

Improved planning and budgeting: With the ability to book and pay for parking, lounges, and even shopping for items in advance, passengers gain control over their travel expenses. This foresight not only smooths out the financial aspects of travel but also ensures a more relaxed airport experience. Knowing costs upfront and avoiding last-minute purchases can lead to significant savings, allowing passengers to allocate their budget to enhance their travel experience further — perhaps with a spontaneous lounge upgrade or a special duty-free treat.

Benefits for airports

Increased non-aeronautical revenue: Ecommerce platforms open up new revenue streams for airports beyond the traditional income from airline fees. Pre-booked services such as parking, lounges, and retail offerings not only contribute directly to the airport’s bottom line but also enrich the data on passenger preferences and spending patterns. This insight allows you to tailor services more effectively, driving further revenue growth.

Operational efficiency and resource optimisation: By allowing passengers to book services in advance, you can better manage and allocate resources according to demand. For instance, knowing the number of pre-booked parking spaces or lounge spots helps in staff planning and reduces operational bottlenecks. This efficient use of resources can help improve the bottom line.

Enhanced passenger data insights: Data collected through ecommerce interactions offers a deep understanding of what passengers want. Building a picture of one customer’s shopping habits is useful for increasing sales at an individual level. But when the data of all customers is properly analysed it can form a window into future trends and buying behaviour across demographics. This enables you to see what’s working and what isn’t, to respond more effectively to pain points, and to develop marketing strategies that are guaranteed to pay off.

Embrace the future of airport ecommerce with Rezcomm

A strong ecommerce strategy is essential for any airport that wants to thrive in a competitive environment. Thanks to an increasing number of millennial passengers and a market destined to be dominated by digital natives such as Gen Z, tech-reliant passengers are becoming hungry for fully integrated travel experiences. They want to be able to manage every step of their journey from their mobile device, and they want access to touchscreens at key touchpoints within the terminal.

Rezcomm can help you integrate ecommerce services for your parking operations, retail experiences, and lounge offerings. With Rezcomm, you have all the tools you need at your fingertips to make your airport thrive with ecommerce. Download our brochure, watch our video, or get in touch to learn more about how we can help you.