GERMANY/INTERNATIONAL. AOE, the world’s leading provider of travel retail digital solutions, has revealed a “transformational” ecommerce model for airlines. The ground-breaking solution has been brought forward by its acquisition of French onboard sales and supply chain specialist Shifteo.
The deal includes taking over Shifteo’s Inflight ePOS, Supply Chain Management and Back Office for Catering Management solutions.
At the same time, AOE has also announced a new strategic cooperation with onboard technology specialist Airfree, enabling it to offer airlines complete connection and digital solutions on inflight and IFE transactions.
The enhanced capabilities of AOE’s new end-to-end, integrated platform enables airlines to seamlessly integrate and manage their revenue-driving operations with existing onboard sales operation for both travel retail and food & beverage.
The result, AOE said, is a powerful, self-managed, supplier-independent ecosystem combining stronger customer engagement with end-to-end delivery capabilities.
The unique functionality of the vendor-independent platform, it added, integrates with simplified vendor management to create unconstrained capacity for airlines to select and manage multiple caterers and duty free suppliers right across location hubs and service stations.
AOE asserts that this simpler yet more adaptable and efficient operating model radically strengthens the airline’s operational control, enabling the precise tailoring of the passenger experience.
AOE CCO Michael Raasch said: “In the most challenging period in commercial aviation history, I’m delighted that AOE’s unique new platform provides airlines with powerful operational and competitive advantages that will drive new and stronger ancillary revenue opportunities.
“Combining the most advanced platform technology of ecommerce, inflight sales and supply chain management, AOE is disrupting the market through the industry’s first independent, end-to-end solution offering airlines an ancillary platform spanning retail, services and F&B.”
Raasch added that AOE’s seamless, ecommerce front-end system for pre-order, pre-select and home delivery is strongly supported by the operational and inflight expertise gained in the Shifteo acquisition. This, he said, enables airlines to increase the range of ancillary and complementary offerings for their passengers.
“Combining the most advanced platform technology of ecommerce, inflight sales and supply chain management, AOE is disrupting the market through the industry’s first independent, end-to-end solution offering airlines an ancillary platform spanning retail, services and F&B.” – AOE CCO Michael Raasch
Shifteo CEO Peter Coelho – formerly a long-term LSG Sky Chefs executive – explained how the new platform delivers a “vital boost” to airlines’ operational versatility. He said: “In the past 15 years global airlines have had the basic choice of choosing from just two main caterers and two or three duty free suppliers, each with their own technologies, all of which has led to a strongly disconnected customer experience based on route, destination and contractual agreements rather than the customer’s needs.
“Joining forces with AOE changes this with a new, fully vertically-integrated solution portfolio across the entire process from supply chain to sell onboard, ecommerce and global fulfilment, enabling us to now truly empower the world’s airlines to do what they have never been able to before.”
Coelho also pointed out that the new approach to moving much of the selection, purchasing and decision-making to pre-flight has the potential to create far-reaching sustainability benefits. These could include “immense” savings in food waste, stock management, inefficiencies, last-mile delivery, fuel cost and theft/fraud.
Recent data, he added, suggests that transforming just 20% of buy-on-board to ecommerce and 10% of passengers to pre-order their meals could result in “savings of hundreds of millions of dollars per year across the airline ecosystem alone.”
AOE Founder and CEO Kian Gould said: “Despite the sustained success of our ecommerce platforms we have always wanted to complete the final piece in our service portfolio by adding full F&B and buy-on-board capabilities, thereby enabling the airline to reach the passenger at every point in the journey across a full portfolio of product and service opportunities.”
He added: “I’m delighted that our acquisition of Shifteo and partnership with Airfree gives us the agility to integrate our proven solutions into the entire value-chain of the world’s most forward-thinking carriers, unlocking the full potential of the seamless passenger journey.”
Gould also pointed out that the current COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the passenger’s demand for holistic digital solutions that enhance the quality of their journey through personalised experiences that can not only grow airlines’ ancillary revenue performance but also drive passenger loyalty and service quality perceptions.
He continued: “The world’s airlines face a major challenge to kick-start their recovery but, in the face of immense change in the market, the best response is to change with it, driving digital engagement to empower the customer. Lastly, our model even helps overcome the airlines’ current capex pressures as we offer the platform fully on a revenue share basis.
“The global crisis has accelerated both digital behaviour and the obsolescence of the traditional revenue models and, as we all know, digital behaviour never regresses. The only one path to recovery is the one that the passenger is already treading – the digital path.”
AOE is a Platinum Partner for the pioneering Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo, where CEO and Founder Kian Gould will also be making a major presentation on the subject of omnichannel in travel retail in the Expo Knowledge Hub.