Stars Struck: ATPCO Evolves Next Generation Storefront Data Standard, Based on Industry Feedback
Channel partners now encouraged to customize how groupings are showcased based on their unique consumer needs and priorities
Dulles, VA – September 5, 2019 – ATPCO today announced a key change to its developing Next Generation Storefront (NGS) standard, which now enables channel partners to present the NGS “shelves” algorithm in a display that aligns with the unique needs of each channel’s customers. This change eliminates the requirement to use the star rating system that initially defined each shelf.
The standard retains the NGS shelf system (which uses ATPCO Routehappy Rich Content data to group like-type products together on six shelves that are displayed in value order from left to right), but channels now have more freedom to design visual identifiers and customize the label for each shelf’s common data elements. Instead of a star rating system, that identifier can now be a custom combination of text, icons, or graphics, as long as it clearly indicates the commonality and progression of the six shelves.
The update to the evolving standard comes on the heels of two recent ATPCO NGS working and advisory group meetings in London and Dulles, where group members—which include leading airlines, distribution channels, and other industry platforms like OpenJaw—workshopped alternatives that facilitate greater customization within the standard. The working group addressed feedback that stars are sometimes conflated with quality, and that by giving channels the freedom to highlight the shelves in different and innovative iterations according to their customer needs, was a better outcome for all.
ATPCO first unveiled its intent to develop the NGS industry standard at its annual Elevate conference in October 2018. In only 11 months, ATPCO has seen considerable progress from its fast design approach: experiment, iterate, adapt, based on industry and partner feedback. Early pilots have shown that NGS delivered commercial value to airlines and bottom-line growth for sellers. For example, Upside Business Travel experienced a 62% increase in premium bookings, while TripActions saw a significant increase in overall bookings. ATPCO will continue testing with the industry to ensure NGS fully aligns with the global needs of consumers, airlines, and channels alike.
“We have moved at an incredible pace since launching NGS last year, and will continue to do so as we evolve the standard to ensure it meets the needs of the industry, while simplifying and enhancing flight shopping for travelers,” said Gianni Cataldo, Head of R&D at ATPCO. “Our latest adjustment to NGS comes directly from feedback collected via our channel partners.”
The core NGS value has proven to be the underlying shelf placement algorithms that ensure like-type products are consistently presented on the same shelf. Cataldo explained, “We realize that airlines and channels are retailing experts, and are best positioned to manage how the shelves are presented. ATPCO is an organization that wants to be a two-way partner to the industry, not a referee on the field telling them what is best for their customers. Our shift away from the star rating system made the most sense.”
Creating a new structure and standard for future display models has been an in-depth and collaborative process. “The work that ATPCO is driving to align on an NGS standard is forcing a dialogue in the industry and we’re grateful for the opportunity to help enhance the way our products and services are displayed across all distribution channels,” said Tye Radcliffe, Director of Distribution at United Airlines. “ATPCO’s evolution to the stars concept is just one example of how they are listening to feedback and making course corrections, all in the name of a better customer experience for customers.”
The standard for modern shopping displays benefits consumers as well as airlines and channels. “ATPCO has long been at the heart of flight shopping, and we continue to embrace that position. The decision to further empower channels to build and personalize displays that are best for their audience ultimately means that the consumer is the winner here, wherever they like to shop,” said Beth Taylor, Head of Marketing at ATPCO. “When presented information that matters most to them, consumers make better decisions and are more likely to upsell. It’s marketing 101 and we’re giving the control back to the decision makers.”
More flexible standards give channels the opportunity for experimentation. "With our expertise in omnichannel travel retailing, we recognize that there are challenges in creating standards that mandate how indirect channels display airline content that facilitates direct comparisons by customers,” said Paul Byrne, Vice President of Business Development at OpenJaw. “OpenJaw is inspired by the work done to date by ATPCO on NGS and are delighted to participate in an industry standard where sellers can experiment with their retailing displays. We look forward to applying our expertise to help shape the future of NGS."
The NGS working and advisory group is currently still open for any airline, platform, channel, or GDS to join. For more information visit https://www.atpco.net/next-gen-storefront.