Due to the negative impact of COVID-19 on commercial revenue streams, airports are more important than ever to come up with new ways to diversify their offerings. In recent months, airports and their stakeholders have turned to automation, self-service, mobile and digital technology to create a more contactless and efficient passenger experience, as well as increase sales and increase costs at the airport terminal. Here we highlight some of the latest innovations in food and nutrition at the airport and shopping areas.
24/7 contactless shopping
Self-service technologies are changing the way consumers interact with retailers, and this trend is becoming increasingly popular at the airport terminal. For example, last week Amsterdam Schiphol Airport launched a six-month pilot of a new self-service store concept called Gate 24/7. The store has 10 vending machines, each of which contains a different range of goods. The selection of goods comes from eight retailers already located at Schiphol Plaza.
As the name implies, the store is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a day, and the wide range of products is designed to meet the diverse customer base of Schiphol Plaza. This includes food and beverages, cosmetics, electronics and essentials. Customers can choose their choice and use contactless payment in vending machines. Carla Laurs-Hogwarst, retail manager at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, said: “We believe this is the future. The priority is to offer our visitors speed and convenience, and this new store and service responds to this in a way that is accessible to our visitors and partners. ”
Elsewhere, JFKIAT, the operator of Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport, in partnership with Hudson has launched a new concept of automated retail with multiple brands. Located next to Five Borough Food Hall in T4, the new concept creates a contactless place to shop 24/7 with a variety of world-renowned brands and local products for travelers to choose from.
Another example of a more contactless shopping experience is the Amazon Nonstop Just Walk Out tech stores at Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL) and Chicago Midway International Airport. Travelers can easily enter the Hudson Nonstop store by swiping their credit card or using “Click to Pay”, pick up the products they are looking for and then leave the store. The merchandising store layout provides visibility of the essential goods needed for the trip.
The trend of pre-orders for mobile food, beverages and retail sales at airports is not new, but during the COVID-19 pandemic it became increasingly popular at airports around the world. A number of airports, especially in the US, have introduced mobile food and beverage ordering services and outlets in the last few years. International airports such as Chicago Midway, Minneapolis St Paul, Boston Logan, Philadelphia, Dallas Fort Worth and Tampa have included food and beverage delivery options through relevant airports, airlines and partner websites through day travel channels. The system is enabled through Grab Airport Marketplace technology, a corporate self-service platform for hospitality developed by Servy, and its affiliate delivery program AtYourGate.
Meanwhile, Toronto Pearson Airport is enjoying a successful partnership with Uber Eats and has recently expanded its offering and improved the functionality of its internal food delivery service, first introduced in 2019. As part of the improvement, the Uber Eats app now automatically detects when a user is in Toronto Pearson and displays a screen that lets them know what food is available to receive at the airport.
Elsewhere, Dubai Airports has unveiled at Dubai International Airport (DXB) a new regional mobile food, beverage and retail ordering service, 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 landing page, airport QR codes or DXBmore.com. Eugene Barry, EVP Commercial at Dubai Airports, who spoke in favor of the proposal, said the goal was to “create and test new ways to communicate with travelers before, during and after their travel with us, and raise awareness of the full spectrum shopping, restaurants and hospitality at our airport by integrating all these channels on one platform, talking directly to the consumer ”. Dubai Airports also said that the ultimate ambition would be for DXB & more to become “DXB’s comprehensive digital experience, bringing together digital entertainment partners, more shopping and live experiences for guests already at the airport and those who need to travel”.
European airports have also quickly adopted a new trend: Schiphol has introduced a new Click & Collect service that allows passengers to view and book products online without leaving home.
Delivery robots and automation
Some airports have moved their food ordering programs at the terminal to another level by introducing delivery robots to help customers and staff. Recently, Cincinnati / North Kentucky International Airport (CVG) launched a fleet of fully autonomous robots for food delivery and retail. Ottobots, operated by Ottonomy, allow passengers to order contactless delivery directly to the venue in Hall B of the airport using a stand-alone robot. On mobile devices, customers can choose drinks and travel goods that are sold in individual Paradies Lagardère retail stores through orderatcvg.com.
CVG also tested a new robot called Gita from AtYourGate in collaboration with Piaggio Fast Forward. The robot has been adopted at a number of other U.S. airports, including JFK, Philadelphia, Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Seattle-Tacoma. Moving droids use visual sensing technology to track AtYourGate delivery staff to reach their customers at their gates. CVG Senior Manager for Strategic Innovation Naash Marx recently told FTE: “We hope to see more automation in the US. The next generation is not only eager for automation; they expect this to be the norm. Even this little next robot can eventually lead to the adoption of self-driving cars and more. ”
Last year, JFKIAT became a pioneer, as he calls it, “one of the first fully integrated premium online and offline purchases in the United States”. The airport has achieved this by creating a digital e-commerce platform in partnership with Inflyter and DFS Group that allows travelers flying through T4 to purchase duty-free goods online before arriving at T4 or waiting for a flight.
In Canada, Toronto Pearson Airport became 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 premium design products that were previously only available to travelers at Toronto Pearson Airport. Customers will be able to deliver their goods directly to their homes, and delivery is currently only available in Ontario.
Combining physical shopping in a digital e-commerce terminal can create a lot of insight for airport salespeople to better understand customer behavior. Consumers are increasingly accustomed to challenging levels of personalization when they shop online, so airports need to find ways to build on their data and use it to create more personalized experiences for passengers.
Creating exciting experiences
Although online shopping is becoming more common in people’s daily lives, we cannot ignore the power of physical shopping. Even e-commerce giants like Amazon understand the value of physical retail. The company has already opened a number of fresh grocery stores, bookstores and barbershops, plans to open department stores and its first-ever clothing store. The big difference for brands here will be creating exciting, unique shopping experiences using high technology to connect the physical and digital worlds.
A recent example of an airport that takes advantage of the retail trend with immersion and experience is Heathrow Airport, which in partnership with Chanel, Dufry and JCDecaux launched the № 5 spacecraft in the departure hall at Terminal 5 before Christmas last year. Activation includes the game No. 5 for consumers and sells a line of brand fragrances, as well as a selected offer for skin care and make-up. The augmented reality (AR) digital screen allows shoppers to practically try on products, and the pop-up window is the only outlet where you can sell Chanel’s Advent calendar. The pop-up was seen as a great “advertisement for tourism trade” and “here’s the trust” of brands like Chanel, for airports like Heathrow, commented Heathrow Airport’s retail and real estate director Fraser Brown, who is also part of FTE. Advisory Board.
FTE World Summit on Airport Retailing to Cause Disruption in Commercial Approaches to the Airport
The airport retail industry is in dire need of a revolution and to spark the debate, FTE is looking forward to this year’s launch of the brand new FTE World Airport Retailing Summit, which promises to be the most adventurous and energetic airport retail convention technology at the heart of the airport’s retail offering.
The event, which will take place on June 7-9, 2022 in Dublin, is co-hosted by FTE Ancillary, the world’s leading meeting of commercial airline executives, so for the first time we will bring together executives representing all types of industry stakeholders. globally to help create new creative ways to work together to generate more revenue for all.
Following the pandemic, it is time to bring together the world’s airports and their partners to share best practices, new ideas and knowledge on scaling new destructive approaches that provide new levels of passenger conversion through digital means.
The summit was developed in close collaboration with our new advisory board members from Heathrow Airport, Budapest Airport, Auckland Airport, iGA Istanbul Airport, Vantage Airport Group, MAGO and Vienna Airport, and among confirmed rapporteurs Robert Kerry and Air Carrie, President Chief Digital and Commercial Officer of İGA Istanbul Airport. Visit our special show website to learn more here.