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7 Insights: Air Traveler E-Commerce Behavior

In the first installment of our Influencing Shopper Conversion Series, we discussed how fashion shoppers can be segmented into groups that exhibit predictable behavior. While these trends can be segmented across industries, it’s beneficial to dive into the complexities of consumer behavior in different industries. In our “Airline Insight Booklet” (linked at the bottom of this blog) we focus our attention on ways to tailor your e-commerce experience for shoppers looking to book flights. 

Gathering the Facts

In order to determine these insights, we analyzed over 10 million shopping sessions with one of our airline partners, who just happens to be a multinational giant in the air travel industry. 

How to Make This Work for YouHKE Graphic 3 Smaller 3

To implement this knowledge, start by taking a look at your site analytics to ensure that your user data aligns with the behaviors outlined below. Next, examine your website’s existing personalization strategies to determine if you’re tailoring your approaches to your varying demographics. Chances are, there’s room for improvement in a few of your customer segments.  

7 Useful Air Traveler Insights:

1. On-site messages may hinder CX if they’re too large or screen-invasive.

It’s easy to assume that a more prominent on-screen message will be more effective at converting customers, but this usually isn’t the case. In A/B testing, we utilized two different sizes of on-site messages. The smaller ones were 25% more effective at driving conversion. This is because larger messages may annoy customers to the point of quickly closing the message before taking the time to read it. 

2. Urgency messages are more effective for flights that are several weeks away from departure.

Last-minute fliers already have an inherent sense of urgency, so messaging that speaks to this isn’t as necessary. However, our research shows that customers booking air travel several weeks in advance can be persuaded to feel a sense of urgency with the right messaging. In fact, we found that creating a “Selling Fast” urgency message was 30% more effective for flights over eight weeks from departure.

3. On-site messaging is more efficient with mobile customers, despite the majority of flights being booked on a desktop.

Although more than half of user sessions occur on mobile, air travelers are more likely to complete their purchase on a desktop device. In order to increase mobile conversions, your marketing team should provide online motivators like campaigns that specifically target mobile users. 

4. Air travelers are most likely to purchase their seat in the morning — specifically around 10am. 

While many visitors browse for flights late at night, as shown in the chart below, the morning hours see a significant increase in conversion. Often, by the time they wake up, they’ve made a decision and are arriving on-site with strong purchase intent. It’s also important to note that many visitors during this time are business fliers, so creating messaging that focuses on increasing the revenue per seat will work to your advantage. This could include messaging that encourages  additional products and seat upgrades.

5. Weekday shoppers have a slightly lower baseline conversion rate, but are more likely to be influenced by on-site messages. 

On weekdays, most consumer level customers are busy at work. However, business travelers are often browsing for flight options. While getting a good deal holds some value to this audience, saving time on booking and finalizing their purchase is what matters most — especially when they’re convinced that a specific flight is the right fit for them. 

6. iOS users have a higher conversion rate and revenue per seat, but Android users are the prime audience for on-site messages.

An important distinction between iOS and Android users is that the former prefers simplicity and time-efficiency, while those with Android devices enjoy having more options to choose from, which explains why they’re three times more likely to be swayed into making a purchase from on-site messaging. Due to the higher conversion rates, dedicating a portion of your marketing to focus on Android users will be worthwhile in the end.

7. New visitors are more influenced by on-site messages than returning buyers.

Our research shows that new visitors are twice as likely to be influenced by a personalized, on-site message than returning buyers. Make the most of this insight by implementing a welcome message or special offer that shows these customers you value them.

Final Thoughts

Although it’s tempting to capitalize on every customer insight immediately, the best approach is always slow and steady. Start by focusing on one or two shopper segments and analyzing the results in detail. Once you gather enough data on their shopping behaviors, you can adjust where necessary and increase your reach to additional audiences.

If you happen to be more experienced with on-site personalization and want to dive deeper, you can create a matrix that takes several of these factors into account and determines the best message for them. For example, you could have a message that specifically addresses Android users on a weekday. A compelling message for this group would:

  • Offer an additional option (due to their desire for customizability), and
  • Increase their level of comfort (since weekday shoppers are more likely to be business fliers interested in having a pleasurable experience).

Whatever level you’re at, use these seven insights as a guide to create various segmented messages for your audiences. Remember, start by choosing one or two groups that you want to target and work to create a personalized experience for those that fit the criteria. Then, watch as your conversion rates increase, and repeat it all again. 

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