Airlines pride themselves on their technological breakthroughs in marketing and merchandising. But the overwhelming stream of data churned out needs to be managed in a way that provides value to the passenger, as well as information which airlines can use to further refine and develop e-commerce initiatives.
Enter Routehappy, which provides the content and infrastructure needed to integrate merchandising into all consumer touch points. It helps airlines identify their most passenger-friendly amenities and develop the merchandising strategies designed to deliver the right product at the right time.
“Airlines and distributors want a platform to differentiate themselves so they can get the benefit for all the product improvements they make,” says Olivia Mark, the recently appointed chief marketing officer at Routehappy.
“The winners in flight shopping will be the sales channels that embrace this technology and keep pushing for improved, more personalized experiences.”
Part of her mission at Routehappy is to conduct the research required to understand customer behavior. Her experience tells her that a product resonates with the end user if it fills a need or desire or makes their life easier. “There are endless possibilities. Routehappy has been around for a while but we are still at the very beginning of using rich content to give customers what they want and need,” she says.
“Since our airline customers are situated on nearly every continent, we will take a localized approach to research, to identify and cater to regional differences. We will use both quantitative and qualitative methods to further understand what drives purchases and how flight shoppers engage with our localized rich content.”
She is also focused on leveraging diversity into workplace success. “Adding diversity to the workplace isn’t just about doing the right thing, it’s also associated with an improvement in financial results for businesses. We are committed to diversity in the workplace and I’m glad to be another champion for this at Routehappy,” says Mark.
Routehappy CEO Robert Albert says Mark’s extensive experience and understanding of customer behavior, marketing and merchandising will help transform the industry. “Her experience from outside the flight shopping industry will be invaluable as we adopt e-commerce best practices to improve business results for our customers.”
Mark’s professional life has centered on e-commerce. She has worked for Amazon, Quisi and different food and beverage distributorships. The e-commerce industry continues to evolve, she points out, noting that Amazon which began as a “clunky site” now specifically targets recommendations and offers to customers based on past sales transactions and preferences.
“Sometimes I think Amazon knows me better than I know myself,” she says.
Even so, she admits she still enjoys the thrill of the hunt on occasion, browsing through a brick and mortar store. “Absolutely I love the discovery of shopping,” she says. “I get excited about cool concept stores – especially in other countries.”
But her preference is clearly e-commerce; she buys her generic white tee shirts from Everlane and eye glasses from Warby Parker. Both began as online operations but have since evolved into retail outlets.
Many times, airline customers are unaware of what is available to them beyond a seat on an airplane. If Mark has her way, that will change.
“If customers went into a flight knowing what to expect, they would make the most out of the flight and treat it as part of the trip – a shift from one place to another, a transition from work to vacation or a time prepare for upcoming meetings,” she explains. “In order to make this shift, consumers need to have full, transparent information so they understand their options. I have more information about the $20 tee shirt I order from Everlane than for many of the $500 flights I buy.”
Mark says well-armed with data on customer needs, airlines can continue to refine their offerings.
“Travelers have the opportunity to get the most of out of a flight while airlines have the opportunity to accurately set expectations and provide the right experience before a customer arrives on board,” she says.
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