Website of the Week: China Southern Airlines – 14/09/06

The website is lively and friendly with bright, multi-cultural thumbnails and visuals. The site is never short of images, especially in the product showcase, where all items are well illustrated

Website of the week: China Southern Airlines

The Moodie Report explores a Chinese language travel retail website for the first time, with the aid of Chinese speaker Yan Liang.
China Southern Airlines is ranked as China’s largest airline with 13 branches in China and 38 offices globally. The carrier recently introduced its largest ever inflight duty free catalogue; the eye-catching new edition is also available online at a specially developed Chinese website at

The company’s mantra is ‘Always cheaper than on the ground’.


China Southern Airlines’ website is dominated by the signature aqua blue of the airline, with different blues used to emphasise the separate sections. The website is lively and friendly with bright, multi-cultural thumbnails and visuals. The site is never short of images, especially in the product showcase, where all items are well illustrated.

Content and usability

The home page features the product category menu at the top: Tobacco, Alcohol, Fragrance, Cosmetics, Accessories and Food. There is strong focus on news including promotions, newly launched products and brand information. An interactive advertisement in Flash animation sits boldly in the centre of the homepage, aimed at attracting the attention of shoppers to visit the shopping page. Clicking on this link opens up the online product showcase.

The website offers a variety of brands and products, many of which are popular among the Chinese. For instance, ten brands of Fragrance are on offer including top brand names like Dior J’Adore (US$66), Bulgari Aqua pour homme (US$44), Chanel Allure (US$76), Lancôme Hypnôse (US$53).

Cosmetics offers about 30 items with leading brand names such as Dior Detective Chic (US$40), Lancôme Blanc Expert (US$66) and Chanel Precision (US$64).

Alcohol comprises premium lines such as Rémy Martin Extra (US$212), Hennessy XO (US$90) and Inniskillin Icewine (US$39).

Click here to see the index
To celebrate the launch of our new Travel Retail Web-Wide Index, each week we put the spotlight on one of the growing array of dedicated travel retail websites or web sections. Click here or on the image to read the index.

The airline also offers a refreshing range of local Chinese products, especially Tobacco brands such as Zhonghua, Peony and Yunyan with prices ranging from US$8 to US$38. This type of destination merchandise adds a welcome sense of place to the site. Other local products sold onboard and online fall under the Accessories category and include items such as silk pyjamas (US$33), a tea cup and saucer set, a spice set and a porcelain jewellery box (US$12).

Food features chocolates from Toblerone (US$18), Starbrook Airlines (US$36) and Goldkenn (US$17).

Shoppers can find a product by using the search engine on the left of the homepage. All items are listed with a brief description, enlargeable thumbnail picture and duty free price in US Dollars.

A pre-order service is available on the website, and passengers can order online in advance by completing a form. Should the desired item not be available, you may request it via a request form. However, this service is only provided for passengers flying out of Guangzhou. If the passenger has any further enquiries about products or the purchasing process, they may contact China Southern Airlines Duty Free by e-mail. The website also offers information on duty free purchasing inflight and online.

What we like:
Special offers and promotions
Pre-order facility
Local products and a sense of place

What we think needs improving/adding:
Provide a multi-lingual option, or at least include English
Make the product request form accessible to all passengers

Visit China Southern Airlines.

*Yan Liang is a Chinese student at the Groupe Escrennes business school in France, majoring in sport, leisure and tourism management.

COMING SOON: The Moodie Report Travel Retail Worldwide Web Awards.

Sponsored by P&G Prestige Products

Which websites offer the best service to consumers? Which are most user-friendly? Which are the most stylish? And which, crucially, offer the greatest incentive to shop?

Every year we will judge, through a combination of industry polling, consumer opinion and specialist judges, who is doing most to wow travellers on the web. International and regional awards.

The main award – Travel Retail Website of the Year – will be unveiled at this year’s ‘Oscars’ of the industry: the Frontier Awards in Cannes. More details coming soon.


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