IAG Cargo have partnered with cargo.one, an online marketplace for air cargo bookings. We sat down with Moritz Claussen, Founder and Co-CEO of cargo.one, to get his insights into how digital booking better serves our customers, what makes a great user experience, and more.
How does cargo.one work?
Freight forwarders go on cargo.one, enter their search criteria for their shipment, and are presented with offers from our airline partners: different price points, speeds, service levels, and so on. Customers can search, book, amend and track bookings seamlessly, within seconds and in one place.
We’re helping freight forwarders overcome the need to go to different platforms. It’s an all in one consolidated view. Right now, we’re working with over 20 airlines globally, giving a comprehensive view of the market.
Why was cargo.one created? What did you set out to improve in the industry?
Originally, we came from different, digital industries and saw how airfreight was being distributed and bought. Freight forwarders would blind copy several airlines with a request, hoping they’d send back an offer. Different charges included different currencies. The process involved emailing back and forth to book a simple shipment of air cargo. It wasn’t efficient or user friendly. We thought, there must be a more optimal way, similar to how we’ve experienced it on the passenger side.
Is digital adoption by air cargo customers accelerating?
Digital adoption in the industry is unstoppable. In addition to transitioning into a new digital age on the B2B side, the market has moved faster than ever in the past couple of years and months due to the pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war. There’s less visibility into schedules, available capacity, and prices. So having a real-time view on what’s happening is important.
Airlines have also realised that previous processes are not to their advantage – capacity inventory and revenue management should be a central function rather than a function that sits at each airport. A lot of airlines have started to invest into centralised systems, enabling them to steer their offering more efficiently through a digital third-party channel.
Why has it taken air cargo so long to digitalise like other industries?
B2B markets often are slower to adopt tech than B2C ones. However, over the past couple of years, B2B markets have changed a lot. It’s also been a question of focus for many airlines, who were always concentrated on having a shiny passenger product, rather than a cool cargo one, because of the different buyer personas and the perceptions of those personas. Now, frequently B2C customers are also B2B customers, who’ve had great user experiences.
Is user experience integral to persuading freight forwarders they can achieve more with digital?
It’s paramount – understanding what a good user experience looks like is at the core of how we operate. We speak with customers frequently. Before the pandemic, we had a programme called Coworking at cargo.one, where we invited freight forwarders to work directly alongside us for a week. We shadowed them to understand what they do daily and participated in feedback sessions. We plan on bringing this back.
What makes an excellent user experience?
There are three things: the first is having a great user interface and an easy-to-use product that requires few clicks to get where you need. This is undermined if you don’t have enough supply. So, the second is having enough airlines. As a platform, it’s important to have big, relevant carriers online like IAG Cargo. The third is excellent, expert customer service that doesn’t take three days to get back to you, because, unfortunately in air cargo, not everything will always go according to plan.
How does digital booking enable forwarders to better serve their customers?
Oftentimes, shippers get in touch with several freight forwarders to understand the offerings out there. From speaking with forwarders, we learned that the quicker you can return an offer, the more likely you’ll be chosen. Digital bookings make this process a lot faster, helping forwarders win more shipments and give their customers a better, more efficient user experience. Bookings on cargo.one can take as little as 30 seconds.
We’re also enabling a discovery process: while the airline might think one offer is their best, the user might think differently, depending if they’re price driven, quality driven, or deadline driven.
How will your global partnership with IAG Cargo benefit freight forwarders in the long term?
IAG Cargo are one of the largest global carriers – I’m very confident we’ll add a lot of value together. By being on cargo.one, IAG Cargo are now marketing their capacity in a user-friendly way. Freight forwarders have an additional and important offering they didn’t have before. It’s a great setup for our users, who have access to more capacity.
Will cargo.one collaborate with carriers to assess demand for new routes or capacity growth?
We’re seeing a lot of user-generated demand data that airlines may not be able to regenerate themselves. With every search on the platform, we understand what a user is looking for. Most of these searches we’re able to satisfy with an offer. But sometimes there’s a lot more searches for a specific destination or cargo type, for example, than there is an offering.
That is the data we make available compliantly to IAG Cargo. Cargo.one360, our data analysis platform, is accessible to IAG Cargo to help them better understand and assess user and search behaviour, as well as what we should be offering.
Is digital booking becoming a differentiator for airlines?
I think we’re past the point of this being a differentiator. The reality is a lot of larger carriers have taken to digital. Now it’s about the user experience – from the discovery process all the way to delivery – and offer quality, which is, am I presenting the right offer to the right person at the right time? This is the next big thing in digital distribution, and we’re working hard to help our partners like IAG Cargo become even better at that.
How can we better personalise these experiences?
It’s all about data, understanding the customer and their needs well. It’s not so dissimilar from offline processes where Sales teams knew a lot about their customers. We’re not dealing with robots: this is an industry in which understanding users and making meaningful connections plays a big role
How will digitalisation impact future jobs?
Digitalisation is helping to transform jobs. It ensures that teams focus on the most value-adding tasks and give more simple, process-driven tasks to digital. If a customer is sending 15 kilos of general cargo from A to B, they want a quick and easy interface to do it. However, customers will always want and need help and advice for more complex tasks – that’s why real people alongside technology will always be so important. In fact, research shows that personal relationships remain vital, regardless of sales channel.
To find out how IAG Cargo can support your business please visit http://www.iagcargo.com