Many of us will be familiar with the joys of browsing and buying stuff on a whim – especially when traveling. Even though impulse purchase decisions are heightened in this environment, “the stuff” an airport or airline sells still needs to be relevant and fit naturally with the rest of a traveler’s day or throughout their journey.
From a psychology standpoint, consumers are spending to relieve boredom or stress (or both) – and to make their journey more convenient and pleasurable. This is the well-known concept of “retail therapy,” and with the right digital tools, airlines can tap into this concept to reduce customers’ stress and improve the travel experience to grow their bottom line.
Becoming a Better Retailer
Today’s connected traveler looks to their mobile device for practical help, but also to just “get away,” discover new things and be entertained. The average American, for example, spends $1,652 every year on retail therapy purchases – so what makes this such a popular form of diversion?
For consumers, there is an element of surprise in not knowing what they’ll discover, going from store to store and shelf to shelf. According to one study of shopper behaviors, 62% of their purchases were made in an effort to lift their mood, and 82% of them were happy about their purchases (i.e., no buyer’s remorse).
Airlines could easily re-create this discovery experience within their apps, delivering more dynamic and personalized content, supplemented by content from their partners or other travel suppliers. Of course, the goal here is to drive more ancillary sales, but it also gives the traveler a reason to use the airline app beyond the flight.
The Importance of Personalization and Localization
But even with an app on their mobile device, what if the airline delivers an offer when the customer is busy thinking about other things, or maybe just in the wrong location to redeem the offer? Localization is just as important as personalization when it comes to retail therapy – delivering the right offer, to the right customer, at the right time. Customer data and more specifically retail analytics will be key to achieving this.
98% of travelers already use their mobile devices to manage many parts of their journey, but this is often a fragmented experience. By leveraging a platform that can manage relationships with today’s connected traveler, airlines can give them more control over their entire journey, and freedom of choice they have come to expect from retailers in many different categories. Being smart about when and where to communicate the relevant offer is the first step to doing more sophisticated personalization and localization.
Delivering a Stress-Free Travel Experience
Every traveler has common stress points (mine are around check-in and boarding) that airlines can anticipate and meet with personalized communications or an offer. More airlines are offering ancillary merchandise, content and services during the booking path, but booking is only one of many opportunities to make relevant offers. Few airlines have the digital tools to expand their selling window, but this is precisely how the industry can leverage the retail therapy phenomenon. With better digital tools, they can stay connected with customers throughout their journey and help them do what they love — which is often shopping, but more precisely discovering new things and having engaging experiences.
Wouldn’t it be great if your preferred airline helped you manage your travel stress in this way?
We partner with airlines and travel companies to help them generate higher revenue streams, reduce travel stress and improve their customers’ experience wherever they are on their journey. Find out more about our Travel Personalization Platform here.