While FlySafair has launched a new responsive web site, the airline says that they won’t be developing a mobile app until it believes this will add true value to the consumer and their business.
“We are a low cost airline, which means that everything we do has to add value to the business. Until an idea comes where the development of an app will provide unique value to our consumer and business, there’s no point in duplicating our efforts and overheads,” says Kirby Gordon, vice-president: sales and distribution at FlySafair.
The airline recently opted for a responsive site, which adapts to fit the device the site is being accessed from, rather than a separate mobile platform or application. FlySafair explains that maintaining one site as opposed to two separate desktop and mobile sites is a bid to keep costs down. These savings will continue to be passed on to passengers through affordable air fares.
According to a recent Ipsos survey, 50% of online shoppers in South Africa who own a mobile or feature phone have used it to shop online, while an additional 21% expect to do so in future.
“South Africa’s m-commerce market has grown significantly over the past year – from 23,1% in 2013 to 46,5% in 2014 – so it was crucial that we were able to provide a better solution on mobile,” Gordon explains. “Mobile already accounts for a third of FlySafair’s traffic and desktop over half.
“Since launching the new responsive site, mobile conversion rates have doubled while desktop conversion rates have increased by more than 150%. Based on our traffic patterns, this supports the trend of online shoppers researching products on their mobiles and then switching to desktop to make the purchase, and there is a demand for this type of functionality among our customers.”
The airline has also just moved their reservations system from a server-based solution to a cloud-based solution. Explaining what this means, Gordon says that there will be no real difference for the consumer other than a slightly faster site speed. The benefit really comes in the volume of concurrent web traffic the site can handle. “We want to make sure that our site will cope with the next R1 sale we do,” he adds.
“We would love an app but our philosophy is that an app should provide additional benefits to the customer over and above what they get when they visit the desktop or mobile sites, otherwise it’s just a glorified booking tool that costs money to maintain. We also did not want to exclude the feature phone market, which makes up more than 50% of the South African mobile space. But once we figure out how an app can make our flights even cheaper or improve the travel experience for customers, we’ll definitely consider it,” says Gordon.