3 things about NGS that make my inner flight shopper happy
You buy shoes, right? You go online and select filters for athletic, kids, blue, size 2. Or women’s, sandals, 2-inch heel, black. You go through this same filtering process for cars, hotel rooms, screwdrivers—but not for flights.
Next Generation Storefront (NGS) is building a new way to shop for flights, and I can’t wait until NGS is widely adopted by the industry so that I can benefit from it as a traveler myself.
NGS is great from our R&D Director’s perspective. It’s great from the airlines’ perspective. Here’s what’s in it for me—and you!—as a flight shopper.
1. Save the time I spend comparison shopping
I am simply in love with the idea of being able to compare multiple airline products in one single display. Don’t tell me it’s already there — price alone does not cut it for me. I love the idea of saving money, but I need to understand the seat, baggage, and meal situations.
It’s like the electric kettle I recently bought. Price and appearance were on the list (I had a budget and the kettle needed to fit nicely with the other appliances in my kitchen), but the kettle also needed to be energy efficient, fast, and have different temperature settings so I could brew a variety of tea types. I ended up purchasing the mid-range model.
Flight shopping is even more complex, and not just for me. Many travelers want to make buying decisions on more than just price, but it’s not that easy today to research and compare the fare options out there. Consumers visit over 20 travel sites on average during the week of booking, according to the Traveler’s Path to Purchase study conducted by Expedia Group.
The Next Generation Storefront display would show flights as star-ranked products. Would you like to be able to make informed buying decisions easily and save time? I would!
2. Find the products I want
I want the ability to search by the attributes I value. For instance, a few years ago I was planning a last-minute weekend getaway for my family of three. After some research, I picked ATL as my destination, mostly because it was affordable and I’d never been there before. Decision made, bags packed, and excitement was high — until check-in, when I realized I booked the restricted economy fare and wouldn’t get our seat assignments until we got to the gate. Traveling with a toddler and not being able to sit together could have been a disaster! And while the airline personnel did everything in their power to prevent that from happening, my anxiety level was so high the entire trip I would have gladly paid more for the peace of mind.
Would it make me a happier shopper and traveler if I were able to search for airline offers by additional attributes on top of O&D, number of stops, and flight times? Oh, yeah.
Just like when I shop for shoes, I want to be able to search for fares that include seat assignments, seat power, Wi-Fi, you name it.
3. Avoid hidden surprises
NGS-style shopping has the potential to satisfy natural human curiosity and build excitement for experiencing the product. I’m the one who peeks at the last page before finishing the whole book. I try perfume on for a day before buying a full-size bottle. I want to see what my seat and in-flight experience will look like before I book them.
Neil Geurin, Director of Distribution Strategy at American Airlines, said it perfectly at the ATPCO Elevate conference last year: “We have a much higher satisfaction rate from the customers who bought a product that they fully understood, that they had pictures of, that they had an idea of what they were getting into.”
And guess what? Based on the Namogoo 2018 online consumer study, 88% of online shoppers agree that clear product images contribute the most to a great shopping experience, followed closely by product descriptions.
Who is making this happen?
ATPCO is leading the charge with NGS, but the ball is with airlines and sellers as we create this next generation of data-driven digital retailing standards.
How do airlines benefit? Modern shopping showcases the value of your offers across all distribution channels. We have close to 40 organizations involved already, including over 17 channel partners and over 17 airlines who have all committed to join the Next Generation Storefront Working Group. The goal is to build storefront standards that do not disadvantage any airline, of any size or business model or from any part of the world.
Get involved to make sure that NGS standards leverage your organization’s, and your customers’, interests.