Ai Editorial: Making mobile app count - easyJet shows the way

First Published on 13th February, 2018

Ai Editorial: Rather than only focusing on incremental revenue, easyJet has been looking at ways to capitalize on what role mobile devices can play as assistant and in turn take care of tedious tasks that drain out a passenger because of uncertainty, writes Ai’s Ritesh Gupta


There are certain aspects of air travel that make it strenuous or uncertain. In this context, easyJet has excelled as a carrier, progressing with intuitive and simple mobile user experience (UX) to offer assistance where it is needed.

The latest move announced this week – availing augmented reality technology to let passengers scan their cabin bag and assess whether the same falls within the maximum cabin bag dimensions. The new app feature, which uses Apple’s ARKit 2 technology, is available on iOS initially and is a part of easyJet’s app. According to the airline, the scan itself provides an on-screen 3D box which when combined with the phone’s camera sizes the cabin bag and reveals whether it measures within the allowed dimensions.

Airlines selling air ancillaries including bags – be it for cabin bag or check-in luggage – isn’t new. Even in scenarios where airlines have been accentuating on the fact that they offer generous cabin baggage allowances, the onus is on passengers to ensure their bags/ luggage fits in the criteria. And this can make travellers anxious considering that there are times when one isn’t sure about the size of the bag they have chosen for travelling. easyJet intends to cut down on unexpected baggage queries on arrival.

Making mobile count 

easyJet has made steady progress when it comes to improving upon mobile interactions during various stages of a traveller’s journey. The way the airline manages its mobile app, which has now surpassed 30 million downloads, shows how mobile experience can be enhanced:

1.     Mobile isn’t just about incremental revenue: Airlines like easyJet have shown that the real opportunity lies in aiding customers throughout the booking funnel, be it for the dreaming phase, the booking phase, the day of travel etc. With easyJet allowing passengers to use their mobile app to allay their concerns, it not only simplifies the whole experience, but leaves a positive impact since the airline is leaving an impression of being an ally in this case. Also, revenue generation goes up as users find the app more useful. Travellers booked around 27% of all e-commerce bookings through the airline's mobile platforms last financial year, an increase of 4.5 percentage points over the previous year. The airline mentioned that this can be attributed to functionality and accessibility improving further. Taking notice of a cart abandonment and stepping up the conversion rate via a push notification, email or in-app messaging is important, but shouldn’t be the only focus. (As per the result for FY ending September last year, easyJet shared that ancillary revenue per seat increased by 11.7% to £12.71 (2017: £11.38)).

2.     Visualizing the journey experience on mobile: The blend of mobile design/ UX, capitalizing on intrinsic features plus emerging technology, can help in crafting intuitive experiences. Letting users to scan their bag is an apt example. Airlines know their product/ the travel journey inside out and by alleviating discomfort out of the monotonous tasks, they can benefit in a big way. Rather than leaving travellers look for help on 3rd party digital channels or even exploring things to be done on their own, airlines end up sharing vital information and ensure the ownership of the experience stays with them. According to the airline, 29% of customers used mobile boarding passes last year, up 4.5 percentage points from 2017.

3.     Connecting dots between what travellers are looking for: Late last year the airline introduced a feature on its app that allows users to instantly book flights after they share photographs they come across on Instagram. The tool merges the digital and real world, capturing the spontaneity of easyJet’s customers through an instantaneous image booking system. The feature uses advanced image recognition technology to identify the location and leverages Microsoft Azure APIs to match the photo to the easyJet destination. Once a user shares photos or download them on the easyJet app, then users are suggested the nearest airport. The carrier pre-populates the booking form with details.

4.     Stickiness of the app: Quite often travel e-commerce brands struggle with the stickiness of the app. Being a part of those 7-10 apps that are opened often isn’t easy for travel brands, but with features such as these airlines can give multiple reasons to a passenger to open the app. It is not uncommon to read tips about dos and don’ts when it comes to mobile apps even today. Brands struggle to keep the user experience succinct- struggle with the way they manage permission requests, push notifications etc. On the other hand easyJet has shown that with a virtuous design and apt tools that take care of the journey on the day of travel, passengers would build affiliation with the app. As the app is used frequently, travel brands can make the most of data trail (along with other 1st party data), airlines can strengthen their own ecosystem to truly understand where and why people are planning to travel. Once you have a user-specific data, you can understand the purchase journey and also what to recommend.


How is your mobile app faring? 

Explore the same at this year’s Ancillary Merchandising Conference, scheduled to take place in London, UK (9-11 April, 2019).This year’s theme - Getting your Customer Experience to be First Class!

For more info about Ancillary Merchandising Conference, click here

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