Re­tail tech: mak­ing con­nec­tions

Ben­jamin Coren finds out how air­lines can make use of tech­nol­ogy to in­crease in­flight sales

Onboard Hospitality - - Inside This Issue -

As air­lines seek to mon­e­tise each step of the pas­sen­ger jour­ney it is the 'black hole' pe­riod of time when pas­sen­gers are in the air which has be­come the key fo­cus for change. On­board tech­nol­ogy is in­creas­ingly seen as the so­lu­tion.

Air­lines can eas­ily miss out on an­cil­lary rev­enue if they have in­ef­fi­cient in­ven­tory man­age­ment, fail to per­son­alise the of­fer or ne­glect flight crew is­sues. At­ten­dants to­day have lim­ited time to wait on pas­sen­gers with fully booked flights and safety obli­ga­tions, so on­board re­tail tech­nol­ogy needs to work hard to en­hance the in­flight re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence.

Mike Boote, md for flight POS, de­fines the chal­lenge: “Re­tail on­board is about bring­ing to­gether a set of pa­ram­e­ters. The air­line must get the cor­rect in­ven­tory in front of a pas­sen­ger who wants to buy, at a time when they want it, and they must present it in a way that the pas­sen­ger can re­late to. Then se­lec­tion, pay­ment and ful­fil­ment pro­cesses have to be both seam­less and pain-free ex­pe­ri­ences.”

Fo­cused on the use of re­tail sys­tems to sup­port new rev­enue streams, Flight POS has de­vel­oped tech­nol­ogy which bet­ter sup­ports air­lines in se­lect­ing and stock­ing prod­ucts and gets them in front of the pas­sen­ger via a mo­bile app. Boote adds: "Cur­rently

there is a reg­u­lar in­ven­tory pro­vided by the caterer but the tech­nol­ogy means we can ex­pand that to in­clude en­ter­tain­ment, des­ti­na­tion at­trac­tions, even white-la­belled on­line gam­bling op­tions on some routes. The po­ten­tial is huge."

Guest­logix has been evolv­ing its on­board re­tail so­lu­tions too to open up new rev­enue streams and trans­form the sales process. It will re­lease a new plat­form in early 2018 which it de­buted at APEX in Cal­i­for­nia this year, show­ing a mo­bile app de­signed to sup­port crew to de­liver a bet­ter in­flight ex­pe­ri­ence, in­crease sales and stream­line op­er­a­tions. Crew sign into its air­line com­merce plat­form through the app to open and close or­ders and mon­i­tor in­ven­tory.

Built-in learn­ing al­go­rithms mean the air­line can stock in­ven­tory in­tel­li­gently, con­vert­ing cus­tomer data into busi­ness in­tel­li­gence - hence more sales.

Mike Abram­sky, ceo, Guest­logix says: “We think re­tail in air­lines is about to change and have been en­gag­ing with clients to cre­ate a so­lu­tion.”

The so­lu­tion uses in­tu­itive soft­ware to el­e­vate the pas­sen­ger re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence, mak­ing it easy to shop, or­der and pay via mul­ti­ple pay­ment op­tions. It can also use cus­tomer data to sup­port sales, mar­ket­ing and loy­alty cam­paigns.

Abram­sky adds: “There are three com­po­nents. One is the trade area which helps make flight at­ten­dants more

ef­fi­cient through bet­ter soft­ware and point of sale pro­cesses. Se­condly, via the air­line app, the plat­form can en­gage with pas­sen­gers and pro­vide a con­sis­tent ex­pe­ri­ence with vir­tual and phys­i­cal an­cil­lar­ies. By tak­ing pur­chas­ing habits data we can make rel­e­vant rec­om­men­da­tions. Thirdly, we of­fer a set of tools giv­ing air­lines in­sights they can use to pro­mote rel­e­vant prod­ucts and ser­vices, some­thing new for the UK air in­dus­try.

"The en­tire plat­form is de­signed to be easy to use and re­li­able and our mis­sion is of­fer per­son­al­i­sa­tion in that cur­rent gap - the time the cus­tomer is in the air."

The Fu­ture

Abram­sky be­lieves per­son­al­i­sa­tion im­proves the pas­sen­ger re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence by us­ing tools al­ready on­board and apps that mir­ror those they know through brands like Ama­zon and Star­bucks, of­fer­ing a quick, sim­ple and pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence.

Cer­tainly, per­son­al­i­sa­tion ap­pears to be at the cen­tre of most plans to grow in­flight sales. Likely devel­op­ments in­clude more co­her­ent in­te­gra­tion with chat-bot tech­nol­ogy in user apps such as What­sapp or Face­book Mes­sen­ger. Af­ter or­der­ing a meal, sugges­tions of a suit­able wine or the of­fer of a dis­counted dessert could be made with­out crew in­ter­ven­tion. Car­ri­ers could also build pas­sen­ger pro­files and use spend­ing habits data to tar­get spe­cific sales. They will also be able to au­to­mate load­ing de­ci­sions to op­ti­mise trol­ley con­tents by route and time of day, bring­ing sales rev­enue ben­e­fits and re­duc­ing waste.

Ste­fan Pater­mann, ceo Re­tail IN­MO­TION, has worked on re­tail tech so­lu­tions for over 40 air­lines. He says: "While most ma­jor fore­casts show the on­board re­tail in­dus­try con­tin­u­ing to grow, the 'how' of that growth is very in­trigu­ing. We are de­vel­op­ing a truly com­pre­hen­sive dig­i­tal plat­form for air­lines that touches each and ev­ery cus­tomer touch­point. How­ever, there is much more to it than that. Air­lines need a so­lu­tion that max­imises the ef­fi­cien­cies of their on­board re­tail pro­gramme through one sys­tem, con­trol­ling sup­ply chain man­age­ment, mon­i­tor­ing prod­uct mixes, in­creas­ing the in­ter­sec­tions along the pas­sen­ger jour­ney where pur­chases can be made, and pro­vid­ing apps that en­able crew to run the en­tire process. The power comes in con­nect­ing all these things in an all-in­clu­sive dig­i­tal re­tail plat­form. That will be ex­cit­ing."

IFE con­nec­tions

Lufthansa Sys­tems has also been de­vel­op­ing op­por­tu­nites to mon­e­tise the 'black hole' of the travel chain through its boardconnect soft­ware.

These devel­op­ments fo­cus on IFE pro­vi­sion through per­sonal de­vices. The new boardconnect 5.0 fea­tures a re­freshed user in­ter­face that can be themed and op­ti­mised. There is also a new con­tent man­age­ment sys­tem, en­abling the air­line to make any con­tent changes quickly.

Lufthansa Sys­tem's head of pas­sen­ger ex­pe­ri­ence prod­ucts and so­lu­tions, Jan-Pe­ter Gänse, says: “We are mov­ing to make use of smart in­ter­faces. Our server has data on air­craft po­si­tion­ing and you can use other data too, to en­hance the travel ex­pe­ri­ence. Open­ing up the dig­i­tal space on the air­craft is the next big thing that will hap­pen. All air­craft will be con­nected in the fu­ture.”

Pic­tured: In­tu­itive tech­nol­ogy is help­ing to sup­port on­board sales and in­ven­tory man­age­ment

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.