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The next step in the onboard retail experience: OBR LITE takes off

Earlier this week, we talked about how our Onboard Retail team has adopted innovative solutions to boost the onboard retail experience.

Retail inMotion has always been a pioneer in its segment, and this unique time has reinforced our commitment to innovation. We have developed and deployed a number of key technologies, which naturally support the minimisation of crew engagement with passengers at all stages throughout the journey, and we’re breaking ground in onboard retail.

As airlines become increasingly interested in exploring the Buy-on-Board solution as an alternative to traditional catering, we at Retail inMotion believe that the onboard retail business will expand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The list of reasons why airlines are accelerating their plans to switch to retail includes cost savings, minimal risk exposure, heightened hygiene requirements and the need for quick implementation.

The ‘new normal’ will require innovative solutions, which is why, in the last few months, we have been actively working on a new approach to onboard retail: OBR LITE, which allows us to implement an Onboard Retail concept within eight to ten weeks with minimum viable products and services.

Retail inMotion’s OBR LITE implementation journey

Our OBR LITE program launched in early June 2020, together with one of LSG Group’s long-term partners. With air travel at a virtual standstill, airlines’ acceptance of Buy-on-Board is growing by the minute; cabin crew are also supportive and eager to get back in the sky. 

The OBR LITE approach allowed for a transition from complimentary to retail with minimal upheaval. The airline opted to use products from the existing supply chain, given as complimentary on pre-pandemic flights. This allowed for zero product losses and continuance of valuable supplier relationships.

Retail inMotion offered recommendations on retail pricing strategies and product range. The technology solution was implemented, following an agreement on the necessary scope and online crew training.

Key takeaways

After the successful go-live of Retail inMotion’s first OBR LITE project, we have identified several takeaways.

  • As with any retail program, careful planning and alignment is key. Agreement on scope is essential, as is airline commitment of resources.
  • Technology testing! We continue to do it.
  • Crew training for confident use of our point of sale solution (vPOS) is still mandatory. Our experience shows that crew is eager to learn, show more flexibility in the post-pandemic climate – even via web-based training.

As we continue to develop our OBR LITE approach, several airlines are already interested in implementing it. Right now, we are in talks with an airline that is already committed to a strict launch date.

Why airlines should opt for OBR LITE

The airline industry is facing significant stress at the moment and will have to transform itself as it comes back from COVID-19. However, we believe that we can help airlines adjust to changes brought on by the realities of the ‘new normal’.

With significantly lower investment in time and finances, lower commitment in terms of fleet size, OBR Lite is ideal for pilot projects, tight time restrictions or phased transition to retail.