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An airlines journey to digital retail success: Start small, scale fast!

October 10, 2023
Paul BilhamPaul BilhamVP of Sales, Omnevo

As I speak with airlines of all shapes and sizes, one of the most consistent themes of our conversations is how to innovate in the digital retail space, driving new revenues and enhancing the experience for passengers.

For many airlines without prior digital retail presence, the prospect of deploying a comprehensive platform can be overwhelming. When they glance at mature offerings like Krisshop, which boasts over 30,000 products, home delivery, loyalty integration, and a multitude of functionalities, it's easy to feel lost in the complexity of it all. It's like trying to see the forest through the trees, with the vast expanse of new possibilities seemingly beyond the comfort zone of onboard retail.

But here's the good news: embarking on an e-commerce journey need not be a plunge into the great unknown. Instead, airlines can take a phased approach that starts small and scales as they feel ready. This involves initially launching a straightforward e-commerce solution like, such as pre-ordering duty-free items and food and beverage services, before gradually expanding into a comprehensive platform that integrates their loyalty program, offers home delivery services, exclusive brand collaborations, and additional offerings such as airport parking. See our projects with Air Europa or Air Arabia for more specific examples. 

The Power of Pre-Ordering

Pre-ordering opens-up a world of convenience for passengers. It allows them to leisurely browse through available selections, reducing the rush and hassle commonly associated with in-flight purchases. This not only enhances the passenger's travel experience but also guarantees the availability of their preferred products and meals, ultimately leading to higher customer satisfaction.

However, establishing this service is more than just creating an online platform. To ensure its success, airlines must focus on offering the best quality products in line with their brand's reputation and customer preferences. Effective marketing of the platform, utilizing strategies such as SEO, SEM, and social media marketing, is crucial to generate awareness and promote usage.

Loyalty Integration: Rewarding and Retaining Customers

As the pre-order system gains traction, airlines can enhance the platform by integrating loyalty programs. This involves rewarding customers with points or miles for purchases made through the platform, which can be redeemed for flights, upgrades, or other services. Such integration not only encourages repeat purchases but also fosters customer loyalty.

Home Delivery: Elevating the Customer Experience

Adding home delivery services for duty-free purchases can be a game-changer. Passengers no longer need to carry their purchases throughout their journey; instead, they can have them conveniently delivered to their homes. This level of convenience significantly enhances the customer experience and adds a valuable dimension to the platform.

Collaborations and Expanding Offerings

To further expand the offering, airlines can explore collaborations with popular brands to provide exclusive products or deals on the platform. Such partnerships can provide a unique selling proposition, drawing more users to the platform and boosting sales.
Simultaneously, the e-commerce platform can evolve to include additional offerings such as airport parking, in-destination activities, lounge access, or other ancillary items. Offering a one-stop solution for all travel needs will significantly enhance the value proposition, making the platform even more appealing to customers.

The Role of Marketing

No matter how impressive an e-commerce platform is, its success largely depends on effective marketing. Airlines must invest in robust marketing strategies to increase platform visibility and drive user engagement. Strategies can include targeted advertising, content marketing, social media campaigns, and personalized email marketing.
Additionally, airlines must continually review and update the product selection to keep it fresh and appealing. Regular analysis of purchase data will allow them to understand customer preferences better, enabling them to offer the most desirable products.


As airlines adapt and thrive in an increasingly digital world, e-commerce presents an attractive opportunity. While the journey might start small with pre-order duty-free and onboard catering services, the potential for expansion is vast. Through careful planning, effective marketing, and a commitment to customer service, airlines can significantly enhance their revenue streams and elevate the passenger experience to unprecedented heights.

At Omnevo, we understand the challenges airlines face in their digital transformation journey. Our expertise and tailored solutions can help airlines start small, build trust in their platform, and scale at their own pace. Trust us to be your partner in achieving digital retail success in the aviation industry.

If you're interested in finding out more, drop me a message to arrange a meeting.