Bringing Science and Control to Airline Retail

September 3, 2019 Stanislava Yordanova

What’s the magic in great digital retailing for airlines? The truth is there is no magic. It is the combination of art and science to create a simple, yet relevant and frictionless customer experience. Behind great retailing is a flexible, continuous process of data collection, testing, automation and offer optimization — all to deliver a seamless customer experience from start to finish.


Airline Retail experience and customer journey
Airlines are in a unique position to transform their digital channels and deliver a seamless end-to-end customer experience. Whether for business or leisure, carriers have the chance to build brand trust throughout all customer touchpoints from inspiration to post-trip, and enable true travel retail across web, mobile or direct sales channels. 

What is stopping them? Airlines were at the forefront of online sales. However, they seem to lag in the digital shopping experience with less than 15% reporting to be satisfied with their booking engine1. There is a disconnect between offer optimization that carriers do in the background and bringing it to life across airlines’ digital storefronts in a smart and flexible way. The inability to deliver personalized and revenue-optimal offers affects both the user experience and the bottom line. So, how do you get there?
Customer Journey Mapping
The Customer – it starts and ends with the individual who will eventually choose your airline brand to fly. What is the experience you want to deliver when airline shopping, booking, pre-trip or post-trip? A deep dive into the complete customer journey allows airlines to identify the gaps where they could potentially influence a customer to drive revenue and improve their experience with your brand. A touchpoint that your carrier is not yet addressing could significantly impact revenues and improve customer satisfaction. For example, making it possible to book through Alexa, offer push upgrades with a few clicks on mobile, or integrate with destination activities — all opportunities to transform the shopping journey.
Testing and Automation 
Agility is crucial for improving user experience and optimizing conversion. Many carriers we speak to are looking to move away from the rigid year(s)-long process of digital transformations and move to a more flexible state of rapid innovation and experimentation in airline eCommerce. Identifying the gaps and friction points is one side of the coin. The other is about being able to experiment using data and science to drive more conversion of passengers and ancillary revenue. It could be a promotional UI for the holiday period or a differentiated product bundle, but the ability to quickly test and automate better-performing offer components is key to staying relevant and competitive on the market.
Science and Offer Optimization
Science. The airline community is accelerating toward offer optimization at different rates. The most progressive airlines see the value for their retail future as the ability to create personalized individual or group offers across seat, fare and associated ancillaries based on insights and science. And that means being in control to not only design the right offer but to also deliver it through an optimized digital user experience for passengers.
And that's what airline retail is all about - it's Offer Optimization. Delivered.

1Diggin Travel, 2018 Digital Merchandising Survey

About the Author

Stanislava Yordanova

Stanislava leads the go-to-market strategy for PROS airline eCommerce portfolio as Senior Product Marketing Manager.She is passionate about the impact of digital on businesses and how fast technology is changing the way consumers shop for travel.

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