AOE, a leading Open Source solutions provider, has just launched a highly innovative omnichannel digital platform to transform Frankfurt Airport into the most comprehensive e-commerce marketplace in the travel industry. Kian Gould, CEO/Founder, AOE, talks to Marta Dimitrova about the benefits of this “seamless, convenient, and extremely fast shopping for travellers”.
Frankfurt Airport is one of the busiest international hubs in Europe and by far the busiest in Germany with over 160,000 passengers travelling through the airport per day. With over 300 retail outlets it is also one of the biggest shopping malls in Germany.
But for those who don’t have enough time to stroll through the elegant lanes of Frankfurt Airport’s “Shopping Boulevard”, AOE, a leading provider for Open Source commerce solutions, has come up with a way to transform Frankfurt Airport into an all-encompassing omnichannel e-commerce marketplace, following a tough year in which the travel retail volume in Europe has dropped by 7.7% in just one year.
“The solution (we call it the OM3 Suite) that we have started rolling out at Frankfurt Airport as the first airport to become a full omnichannel commerce marketplace, reverses this revenue bleed by seamlessly integrating the online and offline world and providing intuitive, convenient and extremely fast shopping for travellers, no matter where they are in their journey (sitting in the lounge, standing in the security line or planning their shopping from their coach at home),” explains Kian Gould, CEO/Founder, AOE.
But the solution is much more than just a digital version of the retail world. Through the platform airports are finally able to get to know their passengers, and can now use its loyalty programme, detailed knowledge on shopping interests and flight information to really provide customer-centric solutions both on- and offline.
AOE brings optimism in times when the travel retail industry is facing difficulties. All around the world revenue growth has slowed down significantly from its double-digit growth figures to negative growth in most mature e-commerce regions. “Our solution provides airports with everything they need to become a full omnichannel e-commerce marketplace for all their retailers and stop this bleed before it becomes unmanageable and in turn generates completely new revenue streams.”
Last-minute shoppers at Frankfurt Airport who don’t have the time to browse and shop at the airport will soon have the convenience to go on the airport App and order goods to be delivered to them even up to 45 minutes before departure.
Shoppers can still decide to pick-up in-store if they prefer to look at the goods before getting on the aircraft with them, however, AOE has observed an increasing trend in which staff in the travel retail are being utilised to “pick & pack” products for deliveries as less and less people stop in the physical stores to buy. “The convenience of ordering from the taxi and getting your purchases delivered into your lounge or to the gate is hard to beat, no matter how nicely you designed your travel retail experience,” says Gould.
“Best Omnichannel Experience”
AOE and Fraport’s exceptional achievement is not left unrecognised and this spring Frankfurt Airport was awarded the Imagine 2016 “Best Omnichannel Experience” award in Las Vegas for its one-of-a-kind omnichannel solution. “Winning this award and also giving the keynote at one of the biggest e-commerce events in the world was an incredible experience. The main reason why we won this award, was that no one had ever attempted anything this complex before,” enthuses Gould.
The OM3 solution is already available at Frankfurt Airport, however, AOE has undoubtedly created a versatile product offering that can be utilised by any major travel hub. “We are currently in very concrete discussions with three airports already and half a dozen have shown first interest. Each airport has unique challenges, so it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, rather it’s a suite of software and services that we tailor to each airport’s exact needs.”
One of AOE’s biggest initiatives for OM3 is the full integration of off-airport retailers without airport concession and seamless on-airport logistics for integrating those retailers. Another major initiative is the airport-wide usage of data that the airports can collect thanks to the OM3 solution. AOE allows airports to target their customers directly and personally with all the information collected through loyalty programmes, App purchases, web purchases, etc.
Looking ahead, Gould concludes: “This area still has huge potential and will drive revenue like nothing else, because let’s be honest, duty free prices are no longer cost-saving for the consumer. It’s all about being there for the consumer, at that one moment in time, where it is the most convenient for them.”