With the negative impacts of COVID-19 on commercial revenue streams, it is more important than ever for airports to find new ways to diversify their offering. In recent months, airports and their stakeholders have turned to automation, self-service, mobile and digital technologies to create a contactless and more efficient passenger experience, while driving sales and increasing spending at the airport. airport terminal. Here we highlight some of the most recent innovations in the airport food and retail space.
Contactless purchases 24/7
Self-service technologies are changing the way consumers interact with street retailers, and this trend is becoming increasingly popular at the airport terminal. For example, last week Amsterdam Airport Schiphol launched a six-month pilot project on a new self-service store concept, called Gate 24/7. The shop has 10 vending machines, each containing a different range of products. The selection of items comes from eight retailers already established at Schiphol Plaza.
As the name suggests, the store is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with a wide range of products to meet the needs of Schiphol Plaza’s diverse customer base. This includes food and drink, beauty products, electronics, and last-minute necessities. Customers can select their choice and use contactless payment at vending machines. Carla Laurs-Hoogvorst, Retail Manager, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, said: “We believe this is the future. The priority is to offer our visitors speed and convenience, and this new store and service meets this in an accessible way for our visitors and partners.
In addition, JFKIAT, the operator of Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, launched a new multi-brand automated distribution concept, in partnership with Hudson. Located next to the Five Borough Food Hall at T4, the new concept creates a contactless, 24/7 shopping destination with a range of globally recognized brands and local products for travelers to choose from.
Another example of a more contactless shopping experience is Hudson Nonstop’s Amazon Just Walk Out technology stores at Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL) and Chicago Midway International Airport. Travelers can seamlessly enter the Hudson Nonstop store by swiping their credit card or using “Tap to Pay”, picking up the products they’re looking for, and then exiting the store. The store’s merchandising layout provides visibility into the essential products needed for travel.
The trend of mobile food, beverage and retail pre-orders at airports is not new, but it has become increasingly popular at airports around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of airports, particularly in the United States, have introduced mobile ordering services for food and beverage and retail outlets in recent years. Chicago Midway, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Boston Logan, Philadelphia, Dallas Fort Worth and Tampa International Airports have enabled food and beverage delivery options through relevant airport, airline and channel partner websites. travel day. The system is enabled by Grab Airport Marketplace technology, an enterprise self-service platform for hospitality developed by Servy, and its partner delivery app, AtYourGate.
Meanwhile, Toronto Pearson Airport has enjoyed a successful partnership with Uber Eats and recently expanded the offering and improved the functionality of the in-terminal food delivery service, first introduced in 2019. As part of the improvements, the Uber Eats app now automatically detects when a user is at Toronto Pearson and displays a screen that notifies them that food is available for pickup at the airport.
Elsewhere, Dubai Airports has launched a new regional first mobile food, drink and retail ordering service at Dubai International Airport (DXB), launched in partnership with Dubai Duty Free and Servy. Passengers traveling from DXB Terminals 3, B and C can access the new DXB&more service via the WOW-fi homepage, QR codes around the airport or DXBmore.com. Eugene Barry, commercial executive vice president of Dubai Airports, who championed the implementation of the proposal, said the aim was to “create and test new ways of communicating with travelers before, during and after their travel with us, and to drive awareness of the full range of shopping, dining and hospitality experiences at our airport by integrating all of these channels into one platform, while addressing the consumer directly.” Dubai Airports also said the ultimate ambition would be for DXB&more to become “an all-encompassing digital DXB experience, bringing together digital entertainment partners, more shopping and live experiences for customers already at the airport and those who must travel”.
European airports have also quickly embraced the new trend with Schiphol introducing a new Click & Collect service, allowing passengers to view and book products online from the comfort of their own homes.
Delivery robots and automation
Some airports have taken their terminal food ordering programs to another level by introducing delivery robots to help customers and staff. Recently, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) launched a fleet of fully autonomous food and retail delivery robots. Ottobots, operated by Ottonomy, allow passengers to order contactless delivery directly to their location in the airport’s Concourse B, delivered by an autonomous robot. Customers can select take-out items, beverages and travel items sold at select retail stores operated by Paradies Lagardère through orderatcvg.com on mobile devices.
CVG also tested a new robot, called Gita, by AtYourGate in collaboration with Piaggio Fast Forward. The robot has been adopted by a number of other airports in the United States, including JFK, Philadelphia, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Seattle-Tacoma. Rolling droids use visual sensing technology to track AtYourGate delivery staff members to reach their customers at their doorsteps. CVG’s Senior Director of Strategic Innovation, Naashom Marx, recently told FTE, “We hope to see more automation in the United States. The next generation doesn’t just crave automation; they expect this to be the norm. Even this little follower robot may eventually lead to the adoption of self-driving cars and more.
Last year, JFKIAT pioneered what it calls “one of the first fully integrated, online and offline premium shopping experiences in the United States.” The airport has achieved this by setting up a digital e-commerce platform in partnership with Inflyter and DFS Group, which allows travelers passing through T4 to purchase duty-free items online before arriving at T4 or while waiting. their flight.
In Canada, Toronto Pearson Airport has become the first airport to launch a new e-commerce platform, called The Shops at Pearson. The online retail experience, developed in partnership with Dufry, will allow customers to access an exclusive selection of high-end designer goods that were previously only available to travelers at Toronto Pearson Airport . Customers will be able to have their items delivered directly to their doorstep, with delivery currently only available in Ontario.
The combination of physical purchases at terminals with digital e-commerce can create a wealth of information for airport retailers to better understand customer behavior. Consumers are already increasingly accustomed to sophisticated levels of personalization when shopping online. It is therefore imperative that airports find ways to leverage the data they have and use it to create more personalized passenger experiences.
Create immersive experiences
As online shopping is increasingly present in people’s daily lives, we cannot ignore the power of physical stores. Even e-commerce giants like Amazon are realizing the value of physical retail. The company has already opened a number of fresh groceries, bookstores and hair salons with plans to open department stores and its first-ever clothing boutique. The big differentiator for brands here will be to create immersive, one-of-a-kind shopping experiences, using high technology to connect the physical and digital worlds.
A recent example of an airport tapping into the immersive/experiential retail trend is Heathrow Airport, which has partnered with Chanel, Dufry and JCDecaux to launch a Spaceship No. 5 activation in the room. terminal 5 boarding before the Christmas period last year. The activation includes a Find No 5 game for consumers and sells the brand’s fragrance line as well as a curated offering of skincare and makeup products. A digital augmented reality (AR) screen allows shoppers to virtually try on products, with the pop-up being the only travel outlet to sell Chanel’s advent calendar. The pop-up was seen as a great ‘advertisement for travel retail’ and a ‘vote of confidence’ from brands such as Chanel to airports such as Heathrow, the Heathrow airport manager commented , Fraser Brown, which is also part of FTE. Advisory Board.
FTE World Airport Retailing Summit to disrupt airport retail approaches
The airport retail industry is in dire need of a revolution and to drive the discussion forward, FTE is delighted to launch the brand new FTE World Airport Retailing Summit this year, which promises to be the retail convention at adventurous and energetic airport retailer of all time, which will place technology at the heart of the airport’s retail offering.
Taking place June 7-9, 2022 in Dublin, this event is co-located with FTE Ancillary – the world’s leading gathering of commercial airline executives, so for the first time ever we will bring together executives representing all types of industry players globally to help establish creative new ways to work together collaboratively to create more revenue for all.
Post-pandemic, now is the time to bring together the world’s airports and their partners to share best practices, new ideas and knowledge on scaling new disruptive approaches that drive new levels of conversion with passengers. through digital means.
The summit has been developed in close collaboration with our new advisory board members from Heathrow Airport, Budapest Airport, Auckland Airport, iGA Istanbul Airport, Group Vantage Airport, MAGO and Vienna Airport, and confirmed speakers include Robert Carey, President of Wizz Air, and Ersin Inankul, Digital and Commercial Director, İGA İstanbul Airport. Visit our dedicated show website to find out more here.