Appealing To The New Generation of Passengers Through Omnichannel Retail
By 2025, Gen-Y and Gen-Z will make up over 50 per cent of all passengers. To appeal to these new generations of travellers, airports must adopt a digitised approach through omnichannel retail.
Lately, there has been an increase in the proportion of less affluent Gen-Y and Gen-Z travellers. Paired with this has been a lower demand for traditional airport retail products. Airports must adapt, adjusting the goods they offer and the ways they promote them to the younger generations. Gen-Z, and to a lesser extent Gen-Y, have grown up with online shopping and all the benefits this offers. To attract the convenience-centred, newer, digital generations airports must turn towards an omnichannel airport retail strategy.
What is an omnichannel retail strategy?
Omnichannel: “A method of combining the advantages of in-store shopping with the convenience of online to deliver a superior customer experience. In this model, customers can interact simultaneously with multiple sales and media channels, moving between showroom and website in one seamless journey.”
What can an omnichannel retail strategy look like at airport?
Airport retailers are transitioning towards a digitised experience for their passengers. This is occurring in a multitude of ways, the examples below are only some of the airlines and airports that now offer these systems.
- A ‘click & collect’ points system. Seamlessly blending the online and physical shopping experience, 52 per cent of surveyed respondents said this would increase their likelihood of shopping in airports. The ‘Reserve and Collect’ shopping system at Heathrow offers passengers the opportunity to earn bonus Heathrow Rewards points when using this system. Heathrow is only one of the airports tapping into customer demands for ‘click & collect’ points systems.
- The ability to research and pre-order goods to collect these at the airports. 46 per cent of those surveyed said online pre-ordering would increase their likelihood of shopping in airports. This service is offered at World Duty Free in Gatwick airport amongst others.
- The option to interact with the product instore but deliver the goods directly to a passenger’s home. This would appeal to the 27 per cent of respondents who stated home delivery of goods would increase the likelihood of airport shopping. Some airlines offering this service are Cathay Pacific, EVA Air, Finnair, Hong Kong Airlines, KLM, Malaysia Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and more.
- QR codes linking to further information relating to an in-store product, Instagram accounts promoting it, and other medias to digitise their customers’ experience and appeal to the younger generations. At the Omnichannel Strategy of the Year – Singapore Award winner iShopChangi, customers can browse online for the latest offers and interact with beauty ambassadors whilst in-store getting personalised advice, samples, and offers.
- AR and VR tech to virtually engage with products and share these on social media. iGA Instanbul Airport has AR tech enabling passengers to see objects virtually in an “interactive real-world environment.” Through this, customers can find out about campaign offers and move between stores.
Providing an omnichannel retail experience blending online and instore benefits is key to drawing Gen-Y and Gen-Z consumers into the world of airport retail.
For more on digital consumer trends read Marisa Garcia’s article here.
The year’s World Aviation Festival focuses on how to digitise retail and the importance of omnichannel retailing. One panel discussion will be asking “How can we achieve this vision of omnichannel modern retailing?”
Article by Jess Brownlow