Website of the week: Bahrain Duty Free - 08/01/09
Source: ©The Moodie Report
By The Moodie Report Newsroom
Website of the week – Bahrain Duty Free
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Established in 1990, Bahrain Duty Free operates duty free shops at the Arrivals and Departure areas of Bahrain International Airport as well as the inflight duty free service on board Bahrain Air flights. This week, we take a look at the retailer’s recently revamped website to see what is in store.
Bahrain Duty Free’s new-look website has a minimalistic design, featuring a clean white slate as the background. There are no messy divider lines or overwhelming colours. The colour theme of red and muted grey from the previous website design is retained.
The navigation panel and various sections are laid out neatly without cluttering the homepage. A flashing link to the current season’s promotion at the top of the page captures the visitor’s attention.
We also like the ‘Virtual Tour’ video embedded on the homepage which brings visitors on a virtual and visual tour of the retailer’s facilities. The video, which can be played and paused at any time, engages visitors and adds life to the homepage without being distracting.
CONTENT AND USABILITY
The navigation panel on the homepage features the following sections: Home, About Us, Raffles, Online Shopping, Latest News, Season Promotions, Careers, Contact Us and Advertise with us.
Clicking on ‘Online Shopping’ will lead to a page displaying the various product categories. The product categories are displayed in a visual format – four products with details and images are shown per category with a link to ‘More Products’.
There are a total of eight product categories namely Fragrances, Watches, Toys, Electronics, Food, Cigarettes & Tobacco, Liquor and Photography. Other common duty free categories such as beauty and make-up, jewellery and accessories are not offered.
For each category, clicking on ‘More Products’ will display the full product listing, in a tidy four by seven grid format per page. Each cell of the grid features one product with product name, product image, price in Bahrain Dinars and US Dollars and a ‘Add to cart’ button.
Bahrain Duty Free’s new website has a minimalistic design, with a clean background and a red and grey colour theme
Bahrain Duty Free’s website has one of the most extensive online product listings we have seen. Each category lists many pages of products, with the total number of pages and products stated at the bottom of the page, along with an option to jump to the page number desired. For example, the Fragrances category lists a massive 176 pages and 4,919 products in total, the Food category lists a total of 77 pages and 2,145 products and the Cigarettes & Tobacco category lists a total of 46 pages and 1,287 products.
However, we noticed that the thumbnail-sized product images cannot be clicked on for an enlarged, close-up view and not every item is accompanied by a product image. All items on the first page are accompanied by images but the following pages will display the words ‘No image’ in place of where the image should be. Due to the limited space in each cell and the lack of detailed product descriptions, the labelling of products can be a bit vague at times – the brand name is sometimes omitted or shortened.
Not all the products listed are available for purchase either. A good number of products listed on the site are labelled as ‘Out of stock’. The total figures for pages and products are therefore not an accurate indication of the actual number of products available for purchase.
We also think that browsing could be made easier if products were listed by brand name or in alphabetical order.
Given the number of pages and products listed, the search tool provided at the top of the product pages is extremely useful and makes it much more convenient for customers to locate items. Customers can search for products by brand name or key words.
Products are displayed in a tidy grid format with thumbnail-sized images, product name, prices and 'Add to cart' option
We like the various features and functions available on the website that make for a pleasant visit experience.
A ‘Currency Converter’ link – which links to currency converter website XE.com and opens it in a separate window – is provided at the top of the product categories page. This allows the customers to use the currency converter site at the same time while browsing through the product pages.
The website also has a convenient shopping cart feature which makes the shopping procedure straightforward and organised. The shopping cart link is always displayed at the top right of the product pages for ease of access; customers can review the neatly listed items in their cart, modify it or proceed to checkout at any time.
Customers are also encouraged to register online for an account with Bahrain Duty Free for a faster checkout and to receive e-mail updates and offers.
The section ‘Season Promotions’ provides details on the latest offers and promotions in store to attract and entice shoppers.
The ‘Raffles’ section features the retailer’s well-known raffle draws, which create excitement and entertainment for customers. Interested parties can easily purchase raffle tickets online with a click of the mouse.
We like that the retailer values its customers’ opinions and makes the effort to understand customers’ needs better. A visitor survey is featured at the bottom of the homepage, asking visitors to rate Bahrain Duty Free’s new-look website. Three options – 'more flexible', 'lack information' and 'better than before' – are given. Visitors can conveniently submit their choice online by selecting the corresponding radio button beside the option and clicking the ‘Vote’ button. They can also click on the ‘Comments’ link below the options to leave feedback.
Clockwise from top left: shopping cart, seasonal promotions, customer survey and raffle draws
Information provision on the website is generally well-rounded and comprehensive.
The ‘About Us’ section provides information on the company’s background including the company profile, vision and mission, organisation chart, awards and financial results.
‘Latest News’ keeps customers informed with the latest updates from Bahrain Duty Free.
‘Contact us’ provides a comprehensive listing of useful contact details from customer service hotlines to direct telephone lines of management staff.
The ‘Useful Links’ section found at the bottom of the website provides a list of potentially useful links to websites such as Bahrain International Airport, Bahrain Air, Bahrain Airport Services and Aer Rianta International Middle East.
‘Allowances & LAGs’ covers important traveller information on duty free allowances and LAGs regulations.
‘About Bahrain’ covers general fact and information about the Kingdom of Bahrain.
We feel it would enhance the site if details and FAQs regarding purchasing and delivery of items were provided as well.
The overall navigation of the site is straightforward and easy. The navigation panel is fixed at the top at all times allowing visitors to jump to another section or return to the homepage at any time.
One issue is that while you browse the product listing pages, there is no direct access to other categories. Instead, you have to click on the ‘Online Shopping’ link on the navigation panel to return to the product categories page before accessing another category. A small issue but a potential irritant for new users.
Bahrain Duty Free’s new-look website demonstrates how a minimalistic but pleasant design goes a long way to showcasing the retailer’s offer and making navigation easy. The product selection is impressive but there is still room for improvement for the product presentation and organisation. The retailer however scores well on other aspects of the site, with an online ordering service and a myriad of useful features such as the search tool, currency converter, shopping cart, account registration, customer survey/feedback and comprehensive information provision as well as visual elements and retail promotions.
What we like:
o Pleasant, neat and uncluttered design and layout
o Pre-order/online shopping service
o Extensive product selection
o Comprehensive information provision
o Customer survey and feedback
o Search tool and currency converter
What needs adding/improving:
o Lack of product images and descriptions
o Close-up view of product images
o Better organisation of product listings
o Information on purchasing and delivery procedures
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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