Consider a long-standing industry challenge like airline passengers’ reluctance to buy goods inflight. Given a captive audience of prospective customers strapped into their seats, some gentle retail therapy seems an obvious attraction, but inflight duty free and travel retail sales have underperformed for several years. French start-up Airfree now offers passengers an inflight e-commerce option, using innovative technology for a seamless online experience. Company co-founder Agnès Debains explains: “Airfree is a digital marketplace that allows duty free retailers to sell their products online aboard a connected aircraft. We make their products digitally available up in the air, providing a great opportunity to generate incremental revenue by monetising the time available during the flight.” Visitors to the TFWA Digital Village will have the chance to discover more at Airfree’s stand. “We’ll present our marketplace demo for live testing by retailers”, adds Ms Debains.
In busy environments like airports, breaking through to travellers with a marketing message is often difficult. Clever use of location data allows advertisers to target potential shoppers within precisely defined areas, thanks to the hyperlocal programmatic platform of another TFWA Digital Village exhibitor, DrBanner. “DrBanner Airport is tailored to target travellers with its specific scoring system based on GPS position, targeting period (in hours), frequency, media sources and device IDs” says the company’s Anne-Sophie Boniface. Her reason for coming to Cannes? “It’s very useful to exhibit in the TFWA Digital Village because it allows companies like ours to easily contact clients in a professional environment. It also means we can show them our newest ‘drive-to-store’ technology live.”
“Customer journeys and customer expectations of commercial environments are changing”, says Melvin Broekaart of Aircommerce. “Current generations of airport passengers are avid users of digital shopping tools, buying, sharing and comparing online.” Broekaart believes these travellers expect their shopping experience to be digitally-enhanced, entertaining and full of surprises, and he sees his company’s presence in Cannes as “a unique opportunity to demonstrate to the travel retail industry how we can help them meet these customer expectations”. Aircommerce can advise visitors to its stand on strategies to enhance airport commerce, improve existing revenue streams and create new ones using a range of digital tools and devices, such as its airport gift card and Snapfly photo booth.
With travel retail exclusives increasingly popular, the ability to test their potential becomes more important, even more so since production runs are often smaller and financially riskier than on domestic markets. 4Dshopper uses virtual reality to simulate the in-store performance of product launches, visual merchandising or even shop layouts. Of his presence in the TFWA Digital Village, 4Dshopper’s Bernhard Treiber comments: “It’s important for us to exhibit in Cannes to showcase our brand-new, shopper-centric solutions that optimize return on investment for brand-owners, retailers and airport operators.” He will be manning a stand at TFWA Digital Village to present his “virtual test space for key in-store solutions in duty free retail environments”.