Car hire giant Avis has seen mobile ancillary sales leap by 63% after a focusing on optimising experience on handheld devices.
Neil Morgan, head of digital optimisation at Avis, told a ContentSquare ‘Travel Tribes’ breakfast event this week said the result validates the risks it has taken to drive conversions on mobile.
Emerging mobile technology presents a risk for car hire firms as it will eventually lead to vehicles being picked up and dropped off without any need for human intervention.
Traditionally it is during this engagement when car rental firms upsell high margin ancillaries, so Avis is looking at how it can sell more of these upfront on mobile.
Morgan said part of the answer to this is to segment bookings so that customers are being offered the most relevant ancillaries based on what is known about them and their circumstances.
Avis drives 92% of its revenue from just four products, and yet its mobile app and site had been trying to sell all of its products at the same time on a much smaller screen than its desktop website.
“We are in the middle of a test right now where we are streamlining the ancillaries we offer on mobile based on variables we see through ContentSquare,” Morgan said.
He added the firm has identified significant opportunity on mobile at the bottom of the funnel and it had been focussing its efforts in the area.
“If you can increase conversion at the bottom of the funnel, it’s money in the bank,” he said.
In particular Avis has sought to reduce friction at the payment stage and has tested not asking for payment at the checkout stage in the German market.
Morgan said this saw a 27% increase in check out conversion on mobile, much higher than the 8% the business case was based on.
“We are going through the process of evaluating bookings to see how many customers showed up and how many did not and how many cancelled,” he said.
“We will offset that increase in conversions against the risk and hopefully this is a model we can roll out.”
Morgan said making the mobile buying experience friction-free was top of the agenda at Avis which benchmarks itself against hotel booking app Hotel Tonight.
He said the firm had been “horrified” by the amount of clicks it had expected customers to go through to complete a purchase, particularly those who are already logged in.
Hotel Tonight famously offers a three clicks and a swipe user experience.
Now, logged in Avis customers only need their CVC security code on their payment card and this has seen a 4% conversion uplift for logged in customers.
Avis sees logged-in customers as a “massive opportunity” as it typically achieves a 25% conversion rate among them and it is looking at how it can drive logged in behaviour.
Morgan said it was vital that firms understand each part of the customer’s navigation whether on desktop or mobile and the value of the content they produce.
“Create content in places that drive value for consumers and also from a search engine optimisation perspective,” he said.
“Concentrate efforts in driving traffic volume and less time creating stuff that looks good in the homepage.”
Morgan said the results of usability testing should be combined with website analytics so firms can focus on the functional areas of their digital assets where people come to complete a task.
“Build experiences that meet the needs of your customers not the internal needs of your business,” he said.