Consumer technology and transaction specialist NCR has released some specific data focusing on enhancing the passenger experience at airports using kiosk-based technology. The company surveyed nearly 6,000 adults from a wide spectrum of countries: the USA, the UK, China, UAE, Australia and Brazil.
The data points towards the growing acceptance of ancillaries in the travel experience, and highlights a large minority of travelers that would consider purchasing ancillary upgrades both in a point-of-sale kiosk and on mobile.
Mobile also factors heavily into the path of purchase for air travelers, trying the kiosk during check-in with 38% of surveyed travelers saying they would purchase ancillaries prior to arrival on mobile.
The biggest opportunity for sales lies in the pre-arrival and check-in phases; however, the gate comes in a close second with 31% willing to purchase ancillaries on a gate-located kiosk and 32% willing to complete the purchase on mobile while waiting at the gate.
In this study, ancillaries also include purchasing duty free in advance - something that airport retailers should tackle, offering a lucrative new way to capture passenger dollars. And in fact, duty free was one of the more popular advance purchase options with consumers.
When asked why they didn't purchase ancillaries via available channels, a small minority of respondents said they "didn't know it was available." For those in the UK, that number was 27% while in the US it was smaller, with 11% unaware of the ability to purchase ancillaries via other channels. In other surveyed countries, that cohort consisted of 18% in Brazil, 24% in Australia, 39% in China and 26% in the UAE.
Marketers and revenue managers must realize this opportunity, and consider how to increase awareness of the ability to purchase these add-ons already available via alternative channels.
In describing the importance of the results, NCR Travel's GM Tyler Craig:
The survey shows passengers want to buy more items online, via mobile devices or kiosks when en route. Consumers are used to a seamless digital experience when they shop and they’d like a similar experience when they shop while traveling. A few airports globally have fully embraced omni-commerce strategies, but the vast majority could benefit from adopting the best practices we see every day in retail.
As far as takeaways, NCR sees the following three key lessons for airlines:
NB: Kiosk image
- Airlines know they need to sell more, but they’re not connecting and making it relevant or easy. Consumers are used to a seamless digital experience when they shop and they’d like a similar experience when they shop in route.
- Airlines are not optimizing all possible merchandizing vehicles. Passengers want to buy more items online, via mobile on a kiosk – but not everything is available to them through all channels.
- Self-service continues to drive efficiencies, but is also a cornerstone of a retail strategy that drives revenue by empowering travelers with more choices and more control over their purchases.