Aviation is one of the first industries to embrace the concept of eCommerce or online shopping. Indeed, it has long been a competitive disadvantage for big airlines to not offer online ticket sales. Subsequently, this has become industry standard for the best part of two decades. This is an international and innovative sector so perhaps the early embrace of eCommerce technology should not come as a shock. The industry has been ahead in using analytics from customer data to determine ticket prices. Loyalty programs like airmiles and travel points have given airline key insights into customer behavior. This is not something many other industries could boast of ten to fifteen years ago.


Airlines and airports have been adopting a more omnichannel approach to customer service for a longer time. Online check-in and luggage check-in methods have noticeably changed over the past fifteen years. Fortunately, many of these innovations in one way or the other have shown up in eCommerce. 2020 methods like store pickup or curbside delivery in some ways stem from those early innovations. The blending of the digital and physical world have long been normalized in aviation. Even airport designs are leaning into this digital omnichannel approach to travelers and airlines. 

More innovation

The more innovative airlines continue to make big developments in this regard. For instance, Qatar Airways announced a partnership with loyalty commerce company, Points. The partnership provides a broad range of  services to Qatar Airways club members. Subsequently, this would be available in multiple currencies and languages over the next months. Qatar airway will be able to leverage on the Loyalty commerce platform to provide these services to customers. Interestingly, this type of partnership is becoming an industry norm.


Elsewhere, Singapore based Air Asia saw a 118% increase in its eCommerce sales for Q1 of this year. These sales represented flights, promotions, and holiday packages. An interesting result considering the COVID crisis. The AirAsia.com site has been a boom for the company and as travel resumes they are set to capitalize. The company is expecting growth in non-airline business divisions. Particularly, in the lifestyle, eCommerce and media verticals divisions.

eCommerce and aviation are two of the more innovative sectors. Since the inception of eCommerce, the aviation industry has adopted changes in a way few other industries have. Recently, the growing Asian market has taken the lead in this regard. The share growth of the market in the last decade and a half is fueling this. Moreover, there is increased competitiveness and digital strategy among the large Asian airlines. As a result, other global players have made similar investments in digital infrastructure. Indeed, it seems this is a trend that is here to stay.