Website of the Week: Duty Free Stores Australia – 22/05/08
Source: ©The Moodie Report
By Yvonne Chia
Website of the Week: Duty Free Stores Australia
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Duty Free Stores Australia operates at Gold Coast and Adelaide airports. The company also operates across the Tasman in a number of New Zealand airports, trading as Duty Free Stores New Zealand.
Adelaide Airport has three duty free stores in its departures and arrivals lounges and a landside store in the main airport terminal which also cater to domestic customers. The Gold Coast Airport has two duty free shops in its departures and arrivals lounges.
The Duty Free Stores Australia website (www.dutyfreestores.com.au)
allows passengers to pre-order duty free goods and collect them at either airports’ duty free collection points – both arrivals and departures. In its words, ‘Pre-Order your duty free now and save time at the airport’.
The design and signposting of the website is simple and clean-cut, with a neat layout. It has a navigation panel at the top and links to seven product categories on the left, namely alcohol, cameras, electronics, fragrance, make-up, skin care and tobacco, as well as a link to special offers.
Customers can also access the seven product categories and a range of special offers via pictorial links located in the middle of the homepage – product images that are representative of the various categories in a neat two by four grid. For example, the iPod Nano for the electronics category and (curiously) a smoker’s pipe for tobacco.
These images liven up the generally muted feel of the site, which is dominated by colours such as pale pink for the background and the retailer’s logo colours of olive-brown and greyish-blue for the navigation panel and sidebars.
With the low-key colours and simple layout as well as the absence of animation or interactivity, there is a general traditional and fuss-free vibe about the website, rather than a contemporary or attention-grabbing one. The emphasis is on a straightforward product and pricing showcase as well as a user-friendly pre-order facility.
Content and usability
The navigation panel at the top consists of seven tabs: Home, Stores and Opening Hours, Frequent Buyer Club, Allowances, FAQ, Newsletter and Contact Us.
Useful and practical information on duty free allowances, answers to common queries and detailed instructions on how to purchase from the website are provided under ‘Allowances’ and ‘FAQ’.
Although comprehensive in content, the user guide and FAQs are wordy and fonts are small and faintly coloured, which requires patience to read. While the ‘Who can buy duty free goods?’ question in FAQs fails to mention limitations on duty free purchases for outbound passengers who later transit internationally, this key restraint is covered by a large red icon announcing “Yes, it’s still ok to take your duty free onto the plane” which spells out the current restraints.
Contact details of the various stores are clearly stated and customers have the option to pre-order over the phone. The retailer also welcomes product queries from potential customers and offers a call centre which is open seven days a week from 5.30 am to 10.30 pm.
A selection of over 10,000 products is offered in the stores though the website only showcases the top-selling lines, so customers are encouraged to check on product availability in the stores. The retailer even offers to help, if possible, to order products that it does not normally carry.
A banner image in the middle of the homepage beckons customers to ‘Click here to join our Frequent Buyer Club and save even more on your duty free purchases’.
Membership is free and customers can enjoy a -10% discount on already low duty free prices.
With the low-key colours and simple layout as well as the absence of animation or interactivity, there is a general traditional and fuss-free vibe about the website, rather than a contemporary or attention-grabbing one
The eight product categories are further categorised into sub-categories.
The ‘Alcohol’ category, for example, is divided into two sectors: ‘Spirits’ and ‘Wines’. There are eleven further categories under ‘Spirits’ such as Brandy, Cognac and Gin, and six further segments under ‘Wines’ such as Champagne, Red Wine and White Wine. There is an impressive total of 264 items under ‘Alcohol’ alone.
The items are listed in alphabetical order with the Australian Dollar price stated in red and the New Zealand Dollar price in black. Customers can click on the ‘Add to cart’ button beside the items and proceed to check out where they will be directed to submit their personal, flight, and credit card details.
Although the items are neatly listed in alphabetical order, the item names do not click through to a description of the items nor are there accompanying pictures.
There is a ‘Details’ button for some items but clicking on that does not provide any more information than what was listed in the previous page – only the item name and price. The website therefore will be most useful for customers who already have in mind what they want to purchase or have already done their own product research beforehand.
For ‘Fragrances’, the brands are divided into alphabetical categories with each category listing the items under that particular brand. The fragrances are sorted alphabetically under each brand as well and not by gender.
Women’s fragrances are labelled ‘(W)’ and men’s fragrances ‘(M)’ and features an extensive range of 72 brands and a whopping total of 464 items.
Similar to ‘Fragrances’, brands under ‘Make Up’ are sorted into 20 alphabetical categories. For an individual product, for example the L’Oréal Colour Riche lipstick (A$15.00/NZ$18.55), the different colours are listed as individual items rather than as one product with the choice of colours being stated in the product description.
This highlights again the orientation of the site towards customers who already know what they want to purchase.
‘Skincare’ is sorted into 13 brands and ‘Tobacco’ is sorted into three categories namely Cigarettes, Cigars and Loose tobacco. The ‘Specials’ category currently comprises items from the ‘Alcohol’ category at discounted prices.
Although the items are neatly listed in alphabetical order, the item names do not click through to a description of the items nor are there accompanying pictures for any of the items.
The site has that all-important duty free buying tool, a currency converter, with an impressive selection of 14 other currencies besides the Australian Dollar.
The site also has a useful search function at the top of each page which enables customers to search by product name. Below the search field is a ‘member’ field where Frequent Buyer Club members can enter their membership numbers and the site will display the member discounted prices – a nice touch.
Overall, the Duty Free Stores Australia website is a practical and straight-forward facility with an extensive product range geared towards customers who know what they want. The pre-order service is simple and extensive.
The tone of the site is consistently helpful and customers will find that they are frequently encouraged to contact the retailer. When Duty Free Stores Australia assures us, “Our knowledgeable customer service staffs are here to answer any questions you may have”, one tends to believe them.
It’s a good site but there is room for improvement. More visuals would help, as would greater product information. But we like this solid, extensive online offer.
What we like:
- Currency converter with 14 other currencies
- Fuss-free layout
- Frequent buyer discounts
- Extensive variety of items
- Detailed pricing
What needs adding/improving:
- Product pictures and description
- A more contemporary and stylish design
- Bigger and clearer fonts
- More visual advertising
Website of the week scoring system explained:
How wide is the range of items on offer? Are there good quality photos and product descriptions?
Are product prices listed? For all products?
How easy is the site to use?
How does the site look?
On allowances, currencies, after-sales service, useful tips and so on.
Overall incentive to shop:
This includes tone, promotions, offers, competitions and, importantly, pre-order.
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