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gategroup announces plans for winter trial of industry-first inflight digital retail platform for air travellers

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For first time, passengers will be able to browse, order and buy inflight retail services from their personal devices. The digital retail platform gets set to commence trial with airline partner easyJet.

ZURICH GLATTBRUGG - gategroup, a leading global provider of airline catering solutions and pre-order / inflight / and post-flight retail services, has announced it will be launching a winter trial of its Epax digital retail solution, with easyJet. This is the latest market-leading innovation from gategroup working in partnership with its long-term analytics partner, Black Swan Data.

The introduction of Epax will offer airline customers an intuitive, convenient, and engaging way to access inflight retail services, allowing them to browse, order and buy from inflight retail ranges, all from their own mobile devices. 

For the first time anywhere in the world, passengers will be able to access a full on-board retail offering in one location from their own personal device, keeping physical contact with equipment or material onboard to a minimum.

Traditionally airlines have only offered seat-back screens for inflight content. Epax is the first platform to deliver access to a full on-board retail offering direct to a passenger’s own device.  The retail experience will be accessible via simple connection to an onboard wireless network through a passenger’s own browser.

Epax will not only make the customer experience more convenient onboard, but also support more relevant choices, using machine learning and data driven innovation to offer a smarter inflight retail experience.  Customers will be presented with more of what they want, based on factors such as flight destination, flight duration and time of day, as well as insights generated by a wealth of inflight retail data.

Furthermore, by removing the need for physical menus and brochures the platform has the potential to remove hundreds of tonnes of paper a year from the cabin, while smarter loading of cabins based on retail data can be anticipated to reduce waste.

Federico Germani, Chief Commercial Officer at gategroup, commented: “We are delighted to be partnering with easyJet to be working on this innovative industry-first solution and to trial a mobile, end to end retail experience in the cabin. At gategroup we are committed to data driven innovation across our retail offerings, providing value not only to the end passenger but also helping our airline partners build superior customer experiences.” 

Robert Carey, Chief Commercial & Customer Officer at easyJet, added: “We are always looking to enhance our customer’s travel experience.  From searching for a flight to making sure they can eat what they want onboard, we are excited to bring this new technology to market as a means to give customers more of what they want and reduce waste across the airline.” 

“We continue to innovate with partners like gategroup and Black Swan Data to ensure that when it is possible for us to welcome more customers back on board, we are matching improved inflight options with our crew who continue to provide a leading standard of safety-focused service and onboard hospitality.”

Steve King, CEO at Black Swan Data, commented: “easyJet are real innovators in onboard experience, so it’s exciting to support gategroup in developing its Epax technology and launching this exciting new platform with Black Swan’s analytics and insights. Epax delivers an improved inflight retail experience for passengers and allows airlines to streamline operations and maximise on-board revenues which is paramount for the industry right now.” 

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