Mobile Commerce

Virgin America Goes One-Click Payments

Virgin America Inc. intends to expand its digital footprint and create a “frictionless” transaction model based in part on Amazon’s signature one-click service, using digital payment tech and analytics, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday (May 22).

Dean Cookson, Virgin America’s chief technology officer, told The Journal that the airline will eventually move into one-click shopping, which would enable customers who often book the same flight (in terms of destination and time) to complete reservations via mobile device or the Virgin website.

Another executive, Stuart Dinnis, who leads the Virgin America loyalty program, said Visa Checkout, which debuted on Virgin America in February, offers one example of a backend platform that foster transactions on a one-click basis. Through that loyalty setup, Virgin America patrons who register cards with Checkout do not have to enter the same financial data over and over again with each new transaction. Visa Checkout, while no longer new to Virgin America, recently added merchants such as Williams-Sonoma, Dunkin’ Donuts and Fandango to its platform, and it aims to be available in 16 markets by the end of the year.

And the perks Visa Checkout provides for Virgin America are evident.

“A fewer number of clicks will increase the booking rate,” Dinnis told The Journal. Though data analytics have not yet been deployed, Dinnis noted that users are skewing younger and using mobile devices to complete transactions – and they tend to spend relatively more than other demographics per transaction.

But analytics will likely be a key focus in the future for the company as it seeks to learn more about what consumers want in terms of in-seat purchasing and other features, Dinnis continued.

“We’re nimble now and we want to improve,” he added. The Journal noted that the airline looks toward customer service and satisfaction as key differentiators in the airline industry. The company rewards employees for high marks in customer satisfaction, with 3 percent bonuses tied in part to on-time performance and aircraft operations and safety.

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