E Commerce And Airlines


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A model for eCommerce in the airline industry using personal experience and best practice

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E Commerce And Airlines

  1. 1. eCommerce in the Airline Industry Colin Lewis
  2. 2. eCommerce Maturity models • Unplanned – Uncontrolled with limited integration. Content focus. • Diffuse management – A more structured approach in some areas. Visitor acquisition focus. • Centralised management – Organisation level objectives and control. Conversion focus. • Decentralised operations – Execution integrated with marketing activities. Retention focus. • Integrated and optimised – A refined approach to improve digital marketing. Optimisation focus.
  3. 3. eCommerce process map: the day-to-day Acquisition Operating processes Conversion / Proposition Dvlpt Retention & Growth Search engine optimisation Pay Per Click search Partnerships / affiliates Online ads / sponsorship E-mail marketing Online PR Offline campaigns Proposition development Content creation Content management Merchandising Site usability & accessibility Design & Development Customer service Proposition development Outbound communications E-mail marketing Customer management Touch strategy definition Loyalty programmes Personalisation Management processes Supporting processes Performance improvement including Management Information, web analytics and customer analysis Interfacing with senior management Interfacing with marketing & corporate communications Staff development, education and retention Strategy & Planning Creating the vision. Assessing technological innovation. Market analysis and competitor benchmarking Financial analysis and modelling Defining the multichannel customer experience. Managing customer information Interfacing with IT Managing external relationships. Vendor selection & management. Annual planning and budgeting IT Project and campaign planning and management Managing relationships Managing improvement and change Design guidelines and operating procedures Technical infrastructure including service level management Source: eConsultancy
  4. 4. Acquisition tools map 1 Search marketing · Search engine optimisation (SEO) · Pay Per Click (PPC) · Trusted feed 2 Online PR · Media alerting services · Portal representation · Blogs and RSS 3 Online Partnerships · Link-building · Affiliate marketing · Sponsorship · Co-branding 4 Interactive ads · Display ads/banners · Rich-media · Dynamic/behavioural · Sponsorship 5 Opt-in e-mail · Cold (rented list) · Co-branded e-mail · 3rd party e-newsletters · House list e-mails 6 Viral marketing · Pass-along · Prompted · Incentivised Web site and microsites Offline communications 1. Advertising 2. Personal selling 3. Sales promotion 4. PR 5. Sponsorship Offline communications 6. Direct mail 7. Exhibitions 8. Merchandising 9. Packaging 10. Word-of-mouth Online communications Offline communications Source: eConsultancy
  5. 5. Example: Thomas Cook online strategy model Customer Acquisition Harvest repeat business • SEM • Affiliate Marketing • Display • Aggregators • Email • Offline • Online PR • Viral • Consumer generated content Customer Retention & Growth Measure & Optimise Customer Conversion Attracting new customers from existing customersers • Customer service • Process • Segmentation and targetting • Email • Cross-sell • Online PR • Personalisation • Multichannel Turn ‘lookers’ into ‘bookers’ • Usability • Accessibility • Enhanced content, copywriting • Promos and better merchandising • Email • Customer decision support • Payment options Track & analyse every aspect of activity • Web analytics • Site performance monitoring • Market intellignece • Online surveys • Usability testing • Online panels • Customer insight Source: eConsultancy Thomas Cook
  6. 6. Customer conversion – connect site visitors and convert as many as possible • Proposition development – planning and specifying the product to appear • Content creation – sourcing the information used to define appropriate pricing and messaging, • Content management – managing the software and database infrastructure • Merchandising – product presentation • Site usability and accessibility • Design & Development
  7. 7. Customer retention • Touch strategy definition and execution can define appropriate combinations of timing, targeting, product: o Automated event-triggered messaging through customer booking cycle o Developed with a acceptable level of • Timing frequency • Target • Interval • Content • Email marketing is the keystone to retention (and further acquisition) o low-cost, personalised o integration of customer behaviour including email response patterns and transactional data is ideal o DM
  8. 8. Operational support processes across acquisition, conversion and retention • Performance improvement including web analytics, commercial analysis and providing management information • Design guidelines and operating procedures such as the review process for publishing new content or triggers for when content updates were required. • Managing the technical infrastructure including hosting in order to deliver the right service levels, experienced by customers as site performance and availability.
  9. 9. eCRM – where it fits within eCommerce Managing the online customer experience • Supporting the customer journeys through useability evaluation and web site design. • Providing web-self service facilities giving access to customer support • Customisation / personalisation to provide recommendations at individual and customer segment level. Customer insight • Managing the data quality and usage of our knowledge of customers including their: o Characteristics (who are they?) including managing profiles, segments and e-mail lists. o Behaviour (what they do and when?) including response and purchase behaviour. o Value (how much are they worth?) including customer lifetime value o Attitudes (what do they think?) including surveying perceptions, satisfaction & loyalty drivers. Customer loyalty and response analysis Touch-strategy definition • definition and execution defines appropriate combinations of timing, targeting, product o Automated event-triggered messaging through customer booking cycle E-mail marketing • Outbound – acquire and build repeat sales through campaigns and e-newsletters to a house-list. May include direct mail and SMS. • Inbound – answering enquiries from e-mails and web-based forms.
  10. 10. SEO Fundamentals Internal SEO - Relevant - Accessible - Keyword Rich - Quality Signals - Targeting External SEO - Quality, related links - Relevant - Linking speed - Social Media - Linking Signals Technical Spec - Site Architecture - Navigation - Meta data - XML Options - Quality signals
  11. 11. Suggested eCommerce Strategy for Airlines Convert Retain and Grow Acquire • Site design • Tracking code • User friendly content • Site security • Good calls to action • Site speed • Viral • Offers • 4 stage process • SEO • PPC • Email • Affiliate • Banner • Video • Viral • RSS • Email list • Buy-in • Customer service • Email • Personalisation • Site security • Referrals
  12. 12. Effective web design • Accessibility – w3C • User-centred design and usability • Linking with marketing planning • Information architecture and findability • Search engine optimisation (SEO) • Web standards • Web analytics • Legal requirements • Right fares, appealing • Combining these will deliver a compelling website experience
  13. 13. Effective web design • 1: Usability and Brand o Problem: Which way do I go? Which navigation is the right one? Which company and site am I booking on? Where am I? Can I trust the airline? o Solution: Provide consistent user experience throughout the site to avoid disorientation and create confidence and trust through a single, focused and consistent booking experience • 2: Usability o Problem: How many steps will booking really take? o Solution: Optimise the booking flow to create a & efficient 4 step process to avoid drop outs • 3: Brand o Problem: Who is the airline and are they for me? What can they offer me others don’t have? o Solution: Ensure site represent the company’s positioning, mission, values and personality? Enable customers to understand our offer by providing platform for marketing positioning • 4: Usability o Problem: Where can I quickly compare availability and prices? o Solution: Focus homepage on key user goals: booking, manage my booking, travel info, offers • 5: Experience o Problem: Why should I come back? Does the site cater for my needs? o Solution: Create an effective site structure based on target audience specific needs and provide a platform to manage relationships such as online check-in updates, flight updates, etc.
  14. 14. Number 1 rule - building a database • Capture customer information in terms of oName o Email address oMobile number • Through oWebsite oCompetitions o Business cards • Build a customer database • AND ideally – but not a deal breaker • Capture some related demographics helps airline build accurate and timely profiles about airline's customers • Create personalised communication.
  15. 15. Best practice recommendations • Acquisition has two meanings: o Using web site to acquire new customers as qualified leads that can be converted into sales o Encouraging existing customers to use online channels • Balance resources between acquisition, proposition development / conversion and retention. • Create detailed digital marketing plans to provide focus and direction with a structured planning process for E-commerce • Achieve senior level sponsorship and involvement in planning and review. o Align E-commerce objectives and resources with business objectives. • Be flexible o Have a flexible response to planning with operational reviews enabling reallocation of budget o Avoid the delays in “time to market” for introducing new web applications o Use ‘Test, learn, refine’ model • Allocate sufficient organisational resources for customer insight, customer data quality, customer satisfaction, touch-strategy definition, not just web site efficiency and effectiveness.