With fewer people flying because of the COVID-19 pandemic and those who are traveling through airports concerned for their safety, International Shoppes has updated its ishoppes.com website and expanded its pre-order program to allow for “store-side pickup.”
“This is a good example of how International Shoppes is adapting to the new landscape,” International Shoppes Vice President Matt Greenbaum tells TMI, adding that the changes to the company’s website will better facilitate “store-side pickup,” IS’ take on “curb-side pickup.”
Although International Shoppes first created its pre-order website on ishoppes.com in 2016, the company believes the time is now right to update and enhance this increasingly important part of the business, Jeanine Pollakusky, General Merchandise Manager, International Shoppes tells TMI.
“Pre-order is definitely a growing part of the business that we have been expanding greatly over the past few years. Although we have been involved in pre-order since 2016 the push to go digital has been accelerated with this pandemic. We have had the functionality since then. And over the years we have continued to improve so that we will be a leader in the industry for best in practice with our offerings. But of course this pandemic has accelerated the entire industry to move forward into expanded digital ways to interact with the customers,” says Pollakusky.
“We have expanded the window for ordering. Before the customer could only purchase 3 to 72 hours before their flight. We have reduced that lead time down to only one hour before their flight,” says Pollakusky.
International Shoppes pre-order customers can now purchase products from inside the terminal on their mobile phones.
“The word pre-order implies placing an order before the customer physically comes to the airport. We have slightly shifted that messaging with a call to action for a mobile order, which can convey to the customer that they can purchase pre-order even if they are inside the terminal,” says Pollakusky.
“Let’s say that you are at the airport an hour and a half or two hours before your flight and you see the signage that we have deployed around our terminal about the mobile orders. You can place that order and then go to one of our kiosks that we are marketing as store-side pickup, and pick up your package just as long as it is one hour before your flight.
“Some customers may not want to come into a store and shop right now, they might be afraid. We want to offer this service to them, that they can still purchase their favorite items and pick it up at one of these kiosks safely.”
International Shoppes is communicating these new pre-order initiatives with signage throughout its stores and the terminals as well as through its social media accounts and SEO.
“We need to focus on enhancing our digital offerings to engage and excite the consumer. I think now is the time for us to look at the entire customer’s traveling journey from the inception of wanting to travel to the post-travel journey and see how we can touch that consumer and have these great offerings for them, and convert them into customers,” says Pollakusky.
As part of the digital update, International Shoppes has created special e-boutiques on its website for select brands.
“We are continuing to expand our online portfolio and assortments day by day. We are also parlaying this into creating customized e-boutiques on our website. The e-boutiques are micro-sites on ishoppes.com that comprise a digital shop-in-shop experience where the brands can completely customize the look and feel of their brand page. We have deployed e-boutiques for La Prairie and Johnnie Walker and we are in conversations with a handful of other vendors right now to create these customized spaces.”
At the moment, International Shoppes has stores open at JFK Terminal 1 and is open for one flight at JFK Terminal 5.
“Hours are reduced and we are taking it day by day, week by week as flight travel resumes. We are looking to open our other doors as soon as we can,” says Pollakusky.
“We are utilizing this time to create impactful and digital advancements to offer the traveling public.
As soon as traffic resumes, we will have a heightened and new experience for them. We are pushing our digital initiatives forward.”