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How Omnichannel Commerce is reinventing the Travel Retail Customer Experience

September 13, 2018
Author Christian HolzschuhChristian HolzschuhOnline Marketing

How can companies benefit from digitalization? How do you create digital business cases that open up new business opportunities for companies? How do you create smart digital customer experiences that provide a value to customers? In his video interview, AOE CEO Kian Gould offers insights into the development of the Omnichannel Commerce solution OM³ and the lessons learned.

Reading time: 4 minutes + 6 minutes video

The fact that Omnichannel Commerce is changing consumer behavior faster than ever is no longer news. Retailers have known this for a long time, and they need to respond to change and find new E-Commerce solutions. Some industries are struggling to transform their business models into digital offerings. For example, many shopping centers are struggling to survive because they compete with E-Commerce players such as Amazon and Alibaba and rarely have digital solutions that add value to their customers. 

Changing consumer behavior requires innovative solutions

Unique solutions are also in demand in the aviation industry – approximately 50% of airport revenues are generated through non-aviation sales, especially through duty-free retail. Frankfurt Airport has some 65 million passengers a year – making it Germany’s largest shopping mall of sorts. However, the travel retail industry is experiencing a change from impulse purchases in the duty-free shops at the airport to an increased demand for planned purchases, with travellers researching and shopping online. If passengers cannot find a suitable offer, they switch to other channels such as Amazon, Alibaba and others, which thus become online competitors of the travel retail industry. 

New business models with smart digital solutions

To follow this trend, airports and airlines are relying on the Omnichannel trend, which offers their passengers a seamless digital experience and tailor-made, target group-specific offers and thus real added value. London Heathrow, for example, has developed the high-quality Heathrow Boutique, a digital marketplace specializing in luxury goods, which clearly stands out from its competitors thanks to its product portfolio, pricing and customized promotions and reaches shopping baskets of around 400 pounds. Auckland Airport in New Zealand has established the High-Street Shopping business case: Passengers can shop duty-free in Auckland City, the goods are delivered in time to the airport. These are just a few examples of how innovative digital solutions can deliver outstanding results. 

Insights into Omnichannel Commerce solutions and learnings

But how do you find these digital business models? And how do you develop smart Omnichannel Commerce solutions that offer added value to customers? Kian Gould, CEO and founder of AOE, shares insights and learnings in a Q&A session with Akeneo about the development of the Omnichannel Commerce Solution OM³ Suite, which has received several awards and has already been implemented at several global airports and airlines. Kian answers the following questions:

  • What main retail and E-Commerce trends do you witness in the travel retail industry?
  • How do shoppers respond to this omnichannel buying experience?
  • What are the impacts and benefits of omnichannel commerce for brands and merchants?
  • How do you power an omnichannel commerce strategy for your clients?
  • Use cases: Can you give us an example of a successful omnichannel project?

Do you have questions about digitalization projects or the OM³ Suite? We appreciate your interest and feedback via our contact form. 

Aviation & Travel

True Innovation Comes Outside The Cabin

One of the biggest emerging trends I have seen in the airline sector over the last couple of years is the concept of passenger self-serve onboard or order to seat. Despite the almost constant discussion at every industry event, the funny thing is, this isn’t really new at all – almost 10 years ago, a former CEO of an onboard retail technology provider proclaimed: “Over time the duty free model will shift to 100% passenger self-service transactions. One of the biggest reasons being the fact that the trolley only comes down the aisle once a journey, for half an hour – in essence the duty free store is only open for half an hour. If I can make transactions myself, through self-service technology, the store is open for the entire flight.” And yet, a decade later, this isn’t even close to the reality on-board most aircraft. During the pandemic, with the need for social distancing, coupled with a desire for innovation, self-service again bubbled to the fore – it gained a new level of relevance. With passengers across all demographics accustomed to ordering everything from groceries to new cars via their phones, digital transactions onboard an aircraft look to be a natural extension of what has become an everyday digital experience. The aviation sector is obsessed (but occasionally intimidated) by digital answers, and there is much that can already be done. Making a digital store available for browsing and even purchasing is achievable, both on IFE and passengers own devices. The process raises a number of operational implications, such as how crew learn of and deliver orders, how payments are handled (particularly if there is no air-to-ground connection) and how this sits alongside the existing cabin service. All of these issues require significant thought and, in some cases investment; and there lies the heart of the problem.