Google enters airport retail through tie up with startup Airbuy

MUMBAI: Google is making a global entry into airport retail through a tie-up with an e-commerce start-up that will provide services in six Indian airports.

Under the tie-up, Google’s digital wallet platform Google Pay will onboard the startup Airbuy’s Spot platform as a micro app on which passengers can order from F&B outlets and book lounges at the select airports.

The setup works like any other ‘only food’ delivery marketplace. Passengers get a list of airport F&B outlets and their menus to choose from on the app. Payments will be done via Google Pay. They get an alert when their order is ready and pick it up from the outlet. They can also book their time in airport lounges as they wait for their flights. The six airports include Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Goa and Nagpur, said Ellen Choi, product head at Airbuy. Delhi will be included soon.

“The Google-Airbuy tie-up covers 30 F&B outlets and 3 lounges all operated by Travel Food Services. It will, in the next 12 months, also get into other partnerships to enable online shopping retail outlets in domestic terminals and duty free outlets in international terminals,” said Jasjit Makol, one of Airbuy’s founders. He added that the app will subsequently include delivery options as well as steps to check the passengers’ identity proof and boarding pass when it opens up the market place for airport duty free products.

Google-Airbuy plans to roll out the product globally. After India, it plans to launch in South East Asian markets starting with Singapore.

“Airbuy provides order-ahead services for travellers at airports and serves as a queue-busting facility when people are short on time and prefer to collect their order in the shortest possible time. Yes, it is the first-of-its-kind implementation on Google Pay,” Pulkit Trivedi, director – strategic partnerships, Google Pay, told ET.

Makol said the product was relevant with the contactless experience that more and more travellers would want at airports in the new normal after the Covid-19 pandemic.

GPay’s 70-80 million monthly active users will have access to Airbuy when they plan their travels. The geofenced app will feature more prominently on GPay’s “Businesses” section as a passenger reaches close to the airport. The android version will be launched this week while the iOS version of the app will be launched in December 2020.

Airbuy was incorporated in 2019 by a group of classmates at the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“It started as energetic discussions on how data could be used in the travel and travel retail space,” said Makol, adding it was incorporated in 2019. The company currently has 10 employees.

Airbuy’s discussions with Google started earlier this year and took five months to be finalised.

Google enters airport retail through tie up with startup Airbuy Google enters airport retail through tie up with startup Airbuy Reviewed by TechCO on 11/20/2020 Rating: 5

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