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food / travel

Air France Launches SMS System To Reduce Passenger Stress

Instant messaging will notify Air France customers in real-time of every twist in their itinerary, from delays to sudden cancellations to the whereabout of your luggage.

(Junc Tions)
(Junc Tions)

Air France-KLM passengers can now get travel updates and book flights on their mobile phones thanks to a new service.

PARIS - No need to camp out in front of the departure board to monitor delays; no more last minute sprints to the departure gate, and no more endless waits at the baggage carrousel. From now on, passengers on Air France and its Dutch partner KLM will be notified in advance by SMS of all possible changes to flight schedules.

The airline companies, which merged back in 2004 to form the Air France-KLM Group, have decided to make full use of cell phone technology to improve their customers' travel experiences. Their ambition is to lead the way in this field, and if possible to avoid the chaos prompted by last winter's heavy snow.

Air France Connect, the first of these services to be rolled out, alerts passengers by SMS instant message or email of any flight delay or cancellation, up to 14 days before the scheduled departure. It will also inform passengers of last-minute gate changes, or what Air France euphemistically refers to as a "deferred baggage delivery."

The service, which was launched discreetly in February as part of a test phase, has already sent out some 620,000 alerts in eight different languages. The service is available to all passengers as long as they give an email address and cell phone number when booking a flight, explains Air France-KLM Group's marketing manager Christian Herzog.

The second component of Air France's "e-mobile" offering is connected to travel preparation. From now on, passengers will be able to book a flight, manage their "Flying Blue" loyalty accounts, or select a seat, using their smart phone. Passengers will even be able to modify their reservations or get a ticket reimbursed. "It's exclusive to Air France," says Herzog, and it puts passengers in control of arrangements that used to be restricted to travel agents.

Read the original article in French

photo - Junc Tions

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Livestream Shopping Is Huge In China — Will It Fly Elsewhere?

Streaming video channels of people shopping has been booming in China, and is beginning to win over customers abroad as a cheap and cheerful way of selling products to millions of consumers glued to the screen.

A A female volunteer promotes spring tea products via on-line live streaming on a pretty mountain surrounded by tea plants.

In Beijing, selling spring tea products via on-line live streaming.

Xinhua / ZUMA
Gwendolyn Ledger

SANTIAGO — TikTok, owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, has spent more than $500 million to break into online retailing. The app, best known for its short, comical videos, launched TikTok Shop in August, aiming to sell Chinese products in the U.S. and compete with other Chinese firms like Shein and Temu.

Tik Tok Shop will have three sections, including a live or livestream shopping channel, allowing users to buy while watching influencers promote a product.

This choice was strategic: in the past year, live shopping has become a significant trend in online retailing both in the U.S. and Latin America. While still an evolving technology, in principle, it promises good returns and lower costs.

Chilean Carlos O'Rian Herrera, co-founder of Fira Onlive, an online sales consultancy, told América Economía that live shopping has a much higher catchment rate than standard website retailing. If traditional e-commerce has a rate of one or two purchases per 100 visits to your site, live shopping can hike the ratio to 19%.

Live shopping has thrived in China and the recent purchases of shopping platforms in some Latin American countries suggests firms are taking an interest. In the United States, live shopping generated some $20 billion in sales revenues in 2022, according to consultants McKinsey. This constituted 2% of all online sales, but the firm believes the ratio may become 20% by 2026.

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