Saturday, 13 August 2016

The original online Duty Free shopping portal upgrades messages and affiliates.

The original online portal for Duty Free shopping, Duty Free on arrival ®, was first conceived in 2008. Before then, there was no independent shopping guide that provided a one-stop-shop for global stores. The database of airline and airport stores was later upgraded to include land and sea based outlets in 2009 and launched online in the current format giving travelers access to stores by land, sea or air.

Original Duty Free on arrival journey plan 2009
The concept was devised because global shoppers were moving online, forced on them by airline online check-in and reservation, they were starting to plan all their travel in advance and so wanted the additional convenience to search before they traveled and to check before they fly. 

So when all the destinations and travel modes were included, a journey could be joined up and Duty Free shops could be found for every eventuality, whether it was travel on a cruise, ferry, airline through an airport or just crossing the border by bus.

Duty Free shopping has always been a huge business, but since the introduction of many security rules, travelers were confused as to what they could buy, where and what they were allowed to carry with them on their trip. Duty Free on arrival match the Customs allowances to the journey giving consumers an instant opportunity to understand the (often) confusing rules related to their shopping plans.

2008 Design: Duty Free Allowances by Territory with
graphics showing the rules
The original test site in 2008 was pretty unsophisticated, but the visual concept remains the same to this day, with the use of clear graphics to highlight the various rules and regulations that inhibit shopping. 

Countries like Singapore were refusing to accept the import of items like duty free cigarettes and other countries were refusing or confiscating alcohol, due to new security rules.

Some people had found themselves buying cigarettes or liquors in one airport, but then finding their purchases confiscated at their airport of arrival. Travel forums like Trip Advisor were full of comments about confiscation and the confusion related to the many duty free rules and regulations.

Duty Free on arrival was designed to try and assist shoppers, in advance of their journey, so that such difficulties could be avoided wherever possible. The concept is valid, because not only is the pre-travel search for airport, airline or cruise shopping increasing, but numerous "copycat" websites have since appeared online, claiming originality and first-use.

The Founder of Duty Free on Arrival Ivor Smith said "there is nothing wrong with fair competition, but on the internet there is a distinct lack of it because many sites claim originality, copy concepts or content and search engines rarely police these claims. The browsing public are not stupid and if they have a genuine interest in a niche, they will work out who was the instigator and make up their own mind as to what is useful for them, or not. That said, such claims of originality just demean those who are me-too products, but pretending to be leaders in the market".

Some have tried to join-up the journey, others tried to scrape prices and offer a duty free price comparison facility. In reality, we believe that both options are complex and unworkable, due to the many rules which complicate the issue.

Simply, travelers want to know what they can buy at their destination or en-route and what they can save, or not, making their own research and comparison in the process. And this is what we do!

Each destination, airport or airline page, now includes many direct affiliate retailers, placed by google personalised ads.

airport arrival shopping
2016 Duty Free Retailers now affiliate through Google Adsense

Now, in 2016, the Travel Retailers who operate the stores around the world have also started to move online with their offer. (As per the image above). Aelia* are one of the world's largest Duty Free retailers, operating airport duty free in France, The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand and are now heavily investing in online advertising, primarily through google ads. Other's like Dubai Duty Free have launched a bold online duty free pre-order site, for use on arrival or departure at the airport. DFS, better known as Duty Free Shoppers "T Galleria" are heavily promoting their Downtown Stores in Asia and WDF (World Duty Free) have also added pre-order for Britain, but not yet for their core market of the Spanish airports. No doubt this will arrive soon.

Whilst all these developments are advancing, DFOA had the small issue of updating the advice for all British airports, because the United Kingdom through their "Brexit" process, will soon leave the European Union. This adds still more confusion, because when and if Britain actually leaves the EU, all the duty free shopping allowances, Customs limits and exemptions could change overnight.

So, the online e-commerce market is moving apace for those on the move and if you want to search the world for those potential tax free bargains... 

Check before you fly at The world's first online portal for travelling shoppers.

* Interesting to note how one Aelia promotional ad offers 10% discount, whilst the other offers 20%

The dutyfreeonarrival ® airline and airport shopping guide was founded in 2009 and launched to help travellers understand the complex rules related to Duty Free or Tax Free shopping. The site can also be used to check world airport or airline IATA or ICAO codes. The airlines are listed by the country where their headquarters are located, but your Duty Free Allowances will apply to your point of arrival, not to your point of departure. This is the original Duty Free website for airports, it is independent of all retailers and does not feature any preferred retailers. Our service is impartial.

The original joined-up search for Duty Free. established 2008.

The first Duty Free shopping search 2008/9

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