Website of the week: SYD Airport Tax & Duty Free – 10/07/08

Website of the Week
SYD Airport Tax & Duty
Content (0-4):
Pricing (0-2):
Navigation (0-4):
Style/Design (0-4):
Supplementary information (0-2):
Overall incentive to shop (0-4):
Total (0-20):
Scoring system explained – click here

Website of the week – SYD Airport Tax & Duty Free

AUSTRALIA. The SYD Airport Tax & Duty Free website ( is the online arm of the duty free store at Sydney Airport operated by leading airport retailer The Nuance Group. SYD Airport Tax & Duty Free is the new look and name that replaced the former Downtown Duty Free brand at Sydney Airport in February last year. The SYD Airport Tax & Duty Free website shows the ambition of both retailer and airport to tap into the potential of the web to deliver services and shopping experiences that are more effective and extensive.

We recently reviewed Sydney Airport’s new shopping website which showcased the airport’s retailers and allowed travellers to plan their airport shopping from the comfort of their homes. This week, we take a look at the complementary pre-order website of The Nuance Group Australia’s SYD Tax & Duty Free store.


The SYD Airport Tax & Duty Free home page is characterised by its trademark colours of rich golden yellow and striking black. The overall vibe of the page is contemporary and upbeat.

The horizontal navigation panel at the top of the page links to the following sections: Home, Great Deals, Duty Free Shopping, Travel Info, Members and Contact Us.

At the centre of the page is a banner that features the store’s current promotions in animated slideshow format with attention-grabbing bold fonts, pictures and blinking “˜Click Here’ buttons.

Right below the slideshow banner is a section showcasing individual products. A product picture, description preview and price are featured. A “˜More Info’ link to the product details page and a “˜Buy Now’ link are provided as well.

To the right of the product showcase box is a grid of six items. Clicking on any of the items replaces the product showcase. This enables the customer to view up to six items without leaving the home page. Refreshing the home page will prompt a different set of six bargain items. The usage of images and interactivity as well as the choice of words like “˜Huge Savings!’ and “˜Great Bargains’ are ingenious ways to attract the visitor’s attention and entice them with the offers.

The vertical panel on the left holds the search function and a menu to the various product categories. Current promotions are emphasized once again in the form of 3 mini banners below the product category menu that alternates randomly each time the page is refreshed.

Although there are many things going on and the page is colourful and graphic-laden, it does not overwhelm; the various sections and links are clearly segregated and neatly arranged.

Modern and upbeat: the website is characterised by SYD’s trademark colours of golden yellow and striking black.


There are eight product categories namely Liquor, Fragrance, Cosmetics, Technology, Tobacco, Watches, Sunglasses and Snacks & Confectionery.

By clicking on a product category on the left panel, a drop down menu with sub-categories will appear below it. Customers will also be brought to the main page for that product category. Similar to the homepage, the main product page has a product showcase box with product picture, description preview and price. Six other products from the same category in smaller boxes are featured below the main showcase. Refreshing the page will display a new set of six products. On top of that, a banner on the right features the current promotion for that particular product category.

For example, for the liquor category, the main product showcased is the Grants Family Reserve Scotch 1125ml priced at A$24.29 with a savings of A$2.70. On the right of the showcase box is a banner titled “˜Liquor Promo’ telling customers “˜any 2 for A$59. Purchase any 2 participating bottles for only A$59.’ Featured below are six other liquor products.

On the left panel menu, there are six sub-categories for the liquor category: Spirits – Bestsellers, Whiskies and Cognacs, Other Spirits, Wine, Champagne and Ports & Sherry. Clicking on each sub-category will bring customers to the product listings.

The products are listed in a neat three by three grid of nine products per page, with the product name, price and the options to view more information or to add to cart available for each item. We like the very useful tool the site has provided to sort the items by price, name or brand. This tailors the browsing process to the customers’ preferences and makes browsing easier.

SYD Tax & Duty Free has a very wide variety and extensive range of items on offer across all categories, with a relatively neat and detailed sub-categorising system. An example is the technology category which is further sorted into Technology -New, Digital Cameras, Digital Video Cameras, Media Storage Cards, Portable Audio & Entertainment, Technology Accessories and Minor Electrical.

The Snacks & Confectionery category is sorted into five sub-categories, namely Gifting, Destination, Kids, Snacking and Health.

Some categories have “˜New’ or “˜Bestsellers’ product sub-categories as well, providing more focused browsing options for customers.

We like the nod towards gifting through travel retail oriented Fragrance – Gift Packs and Destination and Gifting for Snacks & Confectionery.

It should be noted that quite a number of products are not accompanied by pictures. Instead, the text “˜image coming soon’ or the brand logo is found in place of the product picture. Tobacco is one category where none of the items have accompanying pictures. It’s one of the few areas where presentation could be improved.

A special menu just for members


The retailer demonstrates its dedication to customers in the design of its website – in the form of a few features and options that tailors the shopping experience to suit the customers’ needs.

Members’ account

The website urges customers who often travel internationally to sign up as a member for free, to enjoy an “˜enhanced duty free shopping experience’. As a member, customers can view the history of their purchases and receive information on special promotions and discounts. Upon logging in with a username and password, the website displays an extra menu on the left panel for members with access to the following: Member Homepage, My Account Details, Qantas Frequent Flyer Claims, Change Password and Log Out.

These short-cuts and information storage that are specific to each customer is especially useful and time-saving for frequent travellers.

To shop or to browse?

The dedicated retailer goes a step further before the customer accesses the products on offer by asking the question: “Looking to shop or just to browse?” Customers are prompted to click on the “˜Shop Now’ button or the “˜Just Browsing’ button, before being brought to the product pages.

By selecting the “˜Shop Now’ button and providing their flight details, the website will only display products that are available for the customer’s specified journey or collection point. Furthermore, the website uses the information provided to inform customers of the possible duty free restrictions and allowances specific to their destination.

This is a very thoughtful and useful service provided by the site which makes every customer feel special and taken care of.

When “˜Just browsing’ is selected, customers are brought directly to the product pages. The product selection displayed here is all-inclusive but customers are reminded that not all items are available for all flights or collection points. This is good for customers who are not looking specifically to purchase but would like to browse the store offer.


It is apparent that the website places great emphasis on offers and promotions. As described earlier, besides having an animated banner slideshow featuring promotions as the centrepiece, there are also alternating mini banners on the left panel announcing current promotions.

As mentioned, individual product category pages displays banners announcing promotions within that product category as well.

When customers hover the cursor over the “˜Great Deals’ section on the top navigation panel, a drop-down menu provides links to detailed promotion pages that drive home the point – shopping at SYD Tax & Duty Free is a great bargain. The drop-down menu includes the following pages: Earn Qantas Triple Points, Longines – Exclusive Price, Sony – Tax Free Value, Compare Our Prices for BIG SAVINGS!, New Apple iPOD Range and Travel Agent: A$2000 Shopping Spree.

Confident that they are giving customers the best deals, the store invites customers to compare prices for selected items with key major domestic retailers. SYD Tax & Duty Free assures customers of savings “˜up to 50% with some of the hottest offers in liquor, technology, fragrance and skin care.’

With promotions for Qantas Frequent Flyers to earn triple the usual Frequent Flyer points as well as exclusive travel retail prices for Longines luxury timepieces and Sony electronics, the website provides customers with endless incentives to shop.

Arriving in Sydney: a journey-specific duty free restrictions reminder is displayed

Departing Sydney for Hong Kong: Duty free allowance pop-up customised to shopper’s destination


What we also like about the website is the helpful and comprehensive information it provides that travellers will feel thankful for.

The “˜Duty Free Shopping’ section on the navigation panel provides extensive duty free related information that customers might need to know. The drop-down menu includes the Qantas Frequent Flyer Claim Form, New Allowance Laws into Australia, Allowances on Departure from Australia, Allowances on Return to Australia, Why Buy Duty Free, Carry-on Luggage Restrictions (LAGs), FAQs and Ready For Collection.

Duty free allowance information for Australia and 21 other countries as well as the important restrictions on carry-on luggage (LAGs) are provided. The FAQs cover a good range too; from duty free products to ordering, payment and collection processes.

“˜Ready For Collection’ explains the pre-order and collection service provided, promoting it as both money and time-saving.

Detailed terms and conditions for usage of the website are also available.

To accommodate the extensive information provided, the font size is small and the information pages can get a little wordy. This can perhaps be adjusted so that visitors can read with ease.


Navigation: The navigation for the website is generally smooth and easy. The navigation panel on top and the left panel search tool and menu for products is accessible at all times. Also for shoppers’ convenience, the “˜More Info’ and “˜Add to Cart’ buttons are available beside all products.

Search tool: The search function is dual-faceted. Customers can either search products or search duty free information. This further highlights the site’s provision of extensive duty free shopping information.

Site map: This is a time-saving and useful summary of the site’s layout and sections at a glance. The site summary is divided into two sections, one for “˜Shopping Categories’ and the other for “˜Information’.

Language options: Three other language options besides English – Korean, Japanese and Chinese – are available at the top right corner of the website.


Overall, SYD Tax & Duty Free performs well with its wide range of products and enticing promotional strategy. The welcoming appearance and upbeat vibe, coupled with the various dedicated and customised features, would definitely encourage return visits from travellers.

What we like:
• Contemporary, upbeat layout
• Incentives to shop with promotions and special offers
• Dedicated and customised features
• Extensive duty free information
• Ability to pre-order

What needs adding/improving:
• Provision of images for all products
• Bigger and clearer font for information pages
• Currency converter

Website of the week scoring system explained:
Content: How wide is the range of items on offer? Are there good quality photos and product descriptions?
Pricing: Are product prices listed? For all products?
Navigation: How easy is the site to use?
Style/Design: How does the site look?
Supplementary information: 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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