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This is what has to change for Travel Retail to survive

February 09, 2018
Author Christian HolzschuhChristian HolzschuhOnline Marketing

"This is what has to change for Travel Retail to survive" was the topic of the presentation at Hamburg Aviation Conference, given by Manuel Heidler, Director Aviation Products at AOE. See the video of his talk and find the presentation slides in this article.

Customer behavior is changing - this is already happening, research shows this very clearly, the disruption has begun. In the past, passengers were excitited by the atmosphere at airports. Nowadays, passengers are glued to their smartphone, not really paying attention to their surroundings. This customer behavior change has to be considered by airports and travel retail. Engaging with the customers has become a different story. 

One major aspect of the changed customer behavior is the change of decision making of passengers. Research by m1nd-set shows that only 29% of todays' passengers buy on impulse in duty-free stores. The vast majority of 71% plan their purchases - if airports give them the opportunity. 

In his talk, Manuel gives an overview about the situation of the aviation industry and shows possible solutions to benefit from digitalization

Talk Video "This is what has to change for Travel Retail to survive"

Presentation Slides

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.