Heinemann Australia partners with startup SkyBuys on end-to-end retail trial


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FTE Editor Ryan Ghee met with SkyBuys’ Alec Kemmery and Airbus BizLab’s Stephen Burke during a visit to Hamburg in January 2018.

Australian startup SkyBuys and Heinemann Australia have signed an agreement to trial the SkyBuys app and technology platform for duty free shopping. Announced at the Airbus BizLab DemoDay in Hamburg, the SkyBuys-Heinemann Australia project is scheduled to commence in early Q3 2018 at Sydney Airport.

Mobile commerce startup SkyBuys, also a member of the FTE Startup Hub, developed the SkyBuys app for international passengers to shop for duty free at any stage of their journey, including inflight. The app allows passengers to search and purchase duty free inventory in-app from the time they receive their ticket through to the time they arrive at their destination, with fulfilment in-store through duty free shops in airports or downtown.

For the project with Heinemann, during the second half of 2018 passengers arriving and departing from Sydney Airport will be able to use the SkyBuys app to buy goods from Heinemann duty free stores. Geo-fencing technology used by SkyBuys will also ensure passengers are reminded, whilst within the airport precinct, of items they have tagged as being of interest. Additionally, Heinemann and luxury brand managers will be able to use the SkyBuys app to push notifications to passengers alerting them to special offers or to new product lines.

“SkyBuys is excited to be working with one of the world’s leading duty free groups,” Kemmery said. “Heinemann have a significant investment in technology and logistics for travel retail, and were the first duty free company to utilise technology to develop a highly personalised digital offer for customers linked to in-store privileges. We see this to be a logical fit with SkyBuys’ online-to-offline mobile commerce focus, and our ability to offer a revolutionary service to these passengers will extend the world class shopping experience already on offer at Sydney Airport.”

A subsidiary of the global duty free enterprise Gebr. Heinemann, Heinemann Australia represents the group in the Trans-Tasman region, in conjunction with winning the duty free tender at Sydney Airport in 2014. 

Constantin Wiesmann, Managing Director, Heinemann Australia, said that the group is always interested to trial new ideas to meet customer demands and deliver the best possible service in Australia and around the world.

“We have been inspiring shoppers since 1879, and we have learnt that to be successful over time you have to be able to reinvent yourself. Our goal is to remain an engine of innovation in the travel retail market while continually surprising travellers with outstanding offers and ideas. Engaging with new technologies, such as SkyBuys, is an important part of achieving this objective.”

SkyBuys has been in discussions with Heinemann since being selected for the accelerator programme at Airbus BizLab in Hamburg in October 2017, where Alec Kemmery is currently based. Signed in Sydney, the SkyBuys project with Heinemann represents the first live trial with a global concessionaire. Prior to this, SkyBuys developed its beta at Airbus BizLab with the Airbus Shop, allowing the startup to showcase the functionality of the SkyBuys app and to test user experience, payment integration and fulfilment options.

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