September 9 2021  |  Inflight Entertainment

How Singapore Airlines selected the right mix for KrisShop

By Rick Lundstrom

This is a special feature from PAX International's September 2021 WTCE Virtual digital edition, on page 30.

The Singapore Airlines KrisShop on the Thales Avant system

Two years ago, Singapore Airlines rebranded its inflight shopping program with a goal of enhancing the passenger experience through an e-commerce platform that places thousands of products before them on the screen of its KrisWorld inflight entertainment system.

Over the summer, as the airline emerged like others from nearly two years of downturns and pandemic-related woes, the stage has been set for a shopping experience, done with the help of some well-known partners in the cabin services world.

The word “partnership” comes up more than usual in the summertime announcements from the airline. It has selected both Thales Avionics and Panasonic Avionics to join in launching the KrisWorld shopping experience aboard its long-range aircraft. Behind those two suppliers are others joining the effort to make shopping easy, personalized and consumer centric.

The airline is rolling out an e-shopping platform of some form on all of its aircraft types, except the 737NG. For now, shopping is limited to select A350 aircraft, but the experience will be on many more aircraft in the weeks and months to come.

Passengers are now enjoying KrisWorld shopping on selected A350 routes

“We believe that digital technologies will be integral to recovery,” a spokesperson for the airline tells PAX International. “On that front, SIA has been rolling out smart travel features to promote contactless travel, including the introduction of seatback shopping.”

But inflight shopping of the sophisticated variety on Singapore Airlines is more than a way to calm jittery passengers returning to the air. With the technologies, passengers using the e-commerce system offered by the world’s big IFE players lets them choose multiple delivery options. Purchases can be delivered to their homes or collected on connecting or returning flights. A digital onboard shopping experience eliminates weight on the aircraft and the myriad efforts required to support onboard shopping.

Then there is choice. With more than 4,000 products — duty free and duty paid — Singapore Airlines has the largest selection of seatback shopping experiences in the industry.

Thales and Airfree
The first of the announcements happened in early July when Singapore Airlines announced it had selected Thales Avionics and its partner Airfree to supply the e-commerce backbone for the A350 fleet. The first of the aircraft with Airfree e-commerce platform went into service June 28.

Now, passengers use the airline’s graphic user interface (GUI) to browse the selection and complete purchases. Flight attendants have been handling the duties of informing passengers of the options. Cedric Rhoads, Vice President, Product Policy at Thales InFlyt Experience said additional improvements to the systems and ways to make it more automated are being considered.

The company has a solid partner in the French company Airfee. During the process to select the partner, Rhoads told PAX International that Thales was impressed with Airfree’s capabilities.

“They brought a couple of value propositions to us that we thought would be quite beneficial to the market,” says Rhoads. Airfree has platform that can accommodate multiple merchants. With a ready-made solution, and with Airfree holding commercial relationships with major duty-free product suppliers, airline customers stand to gain a significant revenue share.

The other advantage, Rhoads says was that Airfree was capable of allowing airlines to put their “own storefront” on the e-commerce platform. Content can be easily managed through a “single page app” that integrated easily into the Thales Avant system.

Those capabilities are poised to be enhanced further as Thales rolls out its next-generation IFE system called Avant Up. The platform will feature enhanced resolution through its Samsung QLED technology that will deliver picture quality in the 4K high dynamic range. Combine that will the ability to embed video into the KrisShop catalog and Rhoads says passenger will have a “truly immersive experience.”

Panasonic’s Marketplace will be used on Singapore Airlines aircraft with the company’s X-series IFE

Making a Marketplace
The announcements kept coming thought the summer. In early August, Singapore Airlines also became the launch customer for the Marketplace digital e-commerce platform from Panasonic Avionics and integrated into KrisShop as well. The system will be used in all the Singapore Airlines aircraft that use Panasonics X-series inflight entertainment system.

In the announcement of the partnership, Panasonic touted Marketplace’s capabilities for customization that can be brought down to the route and cabin level. Retailer catalogs can be assigned to specific routes and cabins to align with passenger demographics.

“E-commerce is the future of shopping and integrating this feature into our inflight entertainment system is yet another industry first for SIA,” said Yeoh Phee Teik, Senior Vice President Customer Experience, Singapore Airlines.

“Marketplace marks our latest commitment to revolutionizing and revitalizing the inflight experience with our growing portfolio of digital solutions and is an integral part of our efforts to welcome passengers back to the skies,” added Andrew Mohr, Vice President, Digital Solutions at Panasonic.

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