November 9 2023  |  Inflight Entertainment

Always in motion with RiM

By Rachel Debling

This is a special feature from PAX Tech’s November/December 2023 FTE APEX Asia Expo issue on page 40.

Mir Khan, Head of Onboard Retail North America, Retail inMotion

It was not that long ago that eating and shopping during a flight meant rigid timelines and a lack of options. In an increasingly connected world, airlines are adjusting to provide the same bespoke service that passengers receive at home.

Retail inMotion’s (RiM) proprietary technology allows airlines to transform offerings to meet passengers where they are – on their phones, tablets and laptops.

“The focus continues to be moving toward a custom experience on board,” says Mir Khan, RiM’s Head of Onboard Retail North America. Digitization, Khan notes, is on the rise, and though he says RiM recognizes that the cost to start a digital onboard program can be high, RiM’s systems allow carriers to pick and choose exactly what they want, all while saving money and enhancing the passenger experience.

Takis Fuego, a spicy snack popular with teens, was recently brought on board by a Retail inMotion airline partner

“It’s very much interactive – we aren’t sending passengers a PDF copy of the menu,” explains Khan. “It’s a more indulgent experience. Airlines can upload videos of the product, talk about the company’s carbon footprint, talk about the packaging and how it’s more sustainable. You can give a lot more information than you could in the limited space of a printed menu in the seatback pocket.”

The content can also be sponsored by the same companies whose products are offered. This helps offset some of the costs of the service through advertising dollars that go directly back to the program.

RiM's onboard retail applications work in one of two ways, depending on the needs of the airline. The technology can be sold outright to airlines, meaning it runs and upkeeps its own program, or an airline can opt to have RiM run the program on its behalf. Either way, the reduction in onboard waste is substantial: passengers are encouraged to purchase meals or snacks before the flight so that the airline can better predict exactly how many items it needs to fly.

"Some airlines, especially those in Europe, are getting really creative by selling additional products that are not on board the aircraft,” says Khan. “The airline is not taking on a lot of risk because it’s already paid for.”

One major airline partner is using RiM’s proprietary preorder system–all orders for fresh meals must be placed pre-flight.

The Cuban Mojito by BuzzBox, a recent ready-to-drink addition to RiM’s lineup

“It provides choice and convenience for the passenger at the same time it reduces waste for the airline – they are not putting product on in the hopes of selling it,” explains Khan.

RiM is also stretching into new product territory . Takis’ Fuego range, a spicy snack popular with younger travelers, was recently brought on board by an airline partner.

For passengers who may be more into sipping than spicing, BuzzBox, a recent addition to RiM’s lineup, delivers ready-to-drink cocktails in an eco-friendly package. The product fulfills passengers drink expectations and eases the responsibilities of flight crew to know how to create dozens of different cocktails. For example, authentic Mojitos, Margaritas and Hurricane’s delivered exactly how they’re expected, Khan explains.

Customers are being trained to serve customized options,” says Khan. “With RiM as a partner, airlines can deliver that level of individualization on every flight.

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