In-flight shopping took a new turn on Singapore Airlines as the carrier unveils an expanded on-board shopping experience. Through a partnership with Thales and Airfree, the carrier massively expanded the shopping selection available to travelers on the company’s A350 fleet. With a range of delivery options, the expanded KrisShop melds the convenience of on-board shopping with inventory only possible through a warehouse on the ground.
KrisShop has been at the forefront of connecting with consumers since our rebranding in 2019. Today, together with Singapore Airlines, we are excited to be able to enhance and rejuvenate the in-flight shopping experience with the inclusion of our live ecommerce platform on KrisWorld. This extends our reach to the travel audience segment, and reinforces our commitment to deliver an integrated user experience to all customers.– Mr. Chris Pok, Chief Executive Officer, KrisShop
The Airfree-powered shop integrates seamlessly with the on-board KrisShop offerings available on the Thales in-seat entertainment screens, creating a single e-commerce interface for passengers. Travelers can browse and purchase items from a single interface with real time payment processing.
Goods can be delivered to the passenger’s home. Or, depending on the product and order timing, the items can be collected during a connection at Changi Airport or prior to departure on the return flight leaving Singapore.
The ability to deliver goods at the terminal could be a game changer. It enables the value of impulse buying on board in a much broader manner than a typical duty free cart ever could. And it does so without burdening the cabin crew as retail clerks along the way.
SkyMall magazine tried a similar approach many years ago (phone in an order via the on-board GTE Airfone and collect on arrival; ATL was the key airport in that experiment). The breadth of selection was much lower at that time, however. Moreover, the shopping world had not yet evolved into the heavily digital version we know today. Presumably this version will perform better.
Mr. Yeoh Phee Teik, Senior Vice President Customer Experience, Singapore Airlines describes the updated offering as allowing “KrisWorld to go beyond movies, television shows, music, and games, and offer customers more of what they want while flying with us.” Apparently many travelers were chomping at the bit for the opportunity to spend their time on board browsing various shopping portals.
The updated KrisShop with Airfree integration certainly delivers on what Teik describes as an “unwavering commitment to continuously innovate and enhance our product and service offerings, and augment the travel experience for our customers.”
That said, the decision to limit the shopping portal to only the embedded in-seat IFE screens rather than opening it up via the airline’s app or a web portal on board is an interesting (and not especially innovative) decision. Perhaps that changes as the platform matures. But typically today one expects a mobile-first experience when launching a new digital platform.
Another ancillary revenue channel
Cedric Rhoads, Vice President, Product Policy, Thales InFlyt Experience sees the offering as an opportunity for airlines to “extend the benefits of the open AVANT in-flight entertainment platform by connecting with a robust network of digital partners such as Airfree, unlocking significant value from their IFE investment.” Airfree CEO Etienne de Verdelhan echoes that position, noting, “Our pioneering technology dedicated to inflight environment provides unique passenger eShopping experience and unlocks new revenue opportunities.”
And this comes from a launch customer that historically was not as focused on deriving direct revenue from the entertainment system.
Make no mistake: Even carriers like Singapore Airlines are now considering ways to extract a bit more cash from the installations. And given the billions of dollars in losses over the past 18 months perhaps this comes not a moment too soon.
A lightweight implementation
Thales also notes that much of the digital content for the Airfree/KrisShop experience is cached on board. Bits of real-time data such as inventory or payment confirmation can be handled over the aircraft’s satellite network connection using only a tiny sliver of bandwidth.
This seatback shopping solution entered into service on 28 June 2021. The carrier expects to progressively roll it out on selected Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 aircraft.
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