Website of the Week
Duty Free Philippines
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 – Duty Free Philippines

State-owned Duty Free Philippines (DFP) was established by the Department of Tourism, through the Philippine Tourism Authority, on 4 September 1986.

Aiming to provide a shopping environment that showcases “Filipino traits of warmth, grace and hospitality”, DFP has eight outlets throughout the country. It is present in Columbia Complex at its FiestaMall downtown outlet, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Mactan Cebu International Airport, Davao International Airport and the Cebu Waterfront Hotel.


The site’s simple style is anchored by an understated mellow tone in shades of creamy orange against a white background – a marked departure from its striking yellow and deep maroon colour theme in 2006.

There is good use of product images, but their quality is not consistent. There is also a certain level of inconsistency in graphic presentation: certain categories are represented by clip art graphics rather than real photographic thumbnails (e.g. under Sporting Goods and Home & Office).

Content and usability

Grabbing users’ attentions with a burst of flash animation, the website kicks off with two spirited children, DFP bags in hand, striking various eager poses in front of a scrolling image montage of the DFP stores. The duo is quickly joined by their parents as they unite alongside the words “˜Enjoy Pasalubong shopping with the family’ in bold font.

Pasalubong is the Filipino term for gifts brought in by someone coming to the Philippines from out of the country, or even simply coming home from out of town – a perfectly appropriate expression for duty free shopping. The reference to local customs, as well as the use of a Filipino “˜family’ to front the site, adds a distinct Sense of Place.

Below this flash sequence on the home page is a section focused on “˜Promos’. At the time of viewing, passengers get a sports bag free with every purchase of 1.75 litre of Fundador Golden Reserve. The promotional text is highlighted in bright red, while a link below the product images urges users to “˜Click here for more details’.

An ingenious scroll menu alongside this displays the logos of several other brands also holding promotions at DFP, including Cadbury, M&M’s, Jim Beam and Fashion Walk. Clicking any of these logos replaces the Fundador promo display, with a link to more details elsewhere on the site. This nifty little scroll menu allows users to glance through 12 promotions without leaving the home page. The scrolling arrows (up and down) could perhaps be made more prominent to prevent users from missing the useful function.

Just below the “˜Promos’ section on the home page is another list of useful suggestions, this time for wedding gifts. Here we have six proposed product categories: Chocolates, Fragrances, Home Electronics, Jewelry, Champagne and Home Furnishing. Accompanied by image thumbnails, the categories link to the separate product pages.

The site’s product selection is extensive, featuring16 categories (with some branching off into several sub-categories): Summer Fashion, Home & Office, Liquor, Wines, Tobacco, Chocolates, Boutiques, Health & Beauty, Fragrances, Luggages, Watches, Jewelry, Toys, Sporting goods, Electronics and Supermarket.

‘The best things in life are duty free’: The website greets users with a playful pun and a distinct Sense of Place

Summer Fashion holds items ideal for the hot summer months, and comprise comfortable footwear from Crocs (12 items) and Havaianas (nine items), as well as a variety of sunglasses (16 models). Sunglass brands include sportswear lines such as Adidas, classic eyewear manufacturers Rayban and designer labels such as Christian Dior, Salvatore Ferragamo, Prada and Giorgio Armani.

Products are presented neatly in rows, and ten products are displayed on a page. Hovering over a product highlights the white background pink, making for clearer navigation. Prices are stated (assumedly in USD) and some of the products have short descriptions, while others do not. Clicking the product name on the product listing leads users to a page with a larger product image – again, some with descriptions and some without. Navigation through the product showcase is straightforward and fuss-free.

Under Home & Office are three subcategories: Kitchenware (three skus), Tabletop (10) and Bed and Bath (19). While this category carries a variety of items from pots, juicers, crockery to anti-mite pillows and comforter sets, there is nothing strictly for the office here. Price points range from $2.00 for a set of spoons to $219.99 for Jack Lalannes Power Juicer.

The site has separate categories for the Liquor and Wine. Seven types of liquor are found in Liquor: Brandy (seven products), Cognac (eight), Liqueur (17), Rum (ten), Tequila (five), Vodka (12) and Whisky (26).

Wine is further subcategorised into Red Wines, Sparkling Wines and White Wines. The red and white sections are well-stocked, listing 45 and 26 products respectively, while six products are listed under sparkling. There’s a wine to suit a variety of price points, with Gran Tierra Premium 750ml starting at $5.00 to Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2000 750ml at $1,100.00 (under Red Wines). Sparkling Wines range from $13.00 (Asti Martini Spumante) to $175.00 (Dom Perignon Champagne) while White Wines range from $7.00 (Paul Masson Chablis) to $45.00 (Lecel Pouilly Fuisse Vin de Blanc).

Tobacco lists 24 brands, totalling more than 75 skus. The brand line-up includes familiar names such as Marlboro, Lucky Strike, Mild Seven and Winston, as well as newer flavoured cigarette brands such as Peel and DJ Mix.

18 brands come up under Chocolates, one of the most giftable categories around. DFP doesn’t disappoint here, as it lists more than 200 skus for passengers to choose from. The top three best-stocked brands are M&M’s (27), Cadbury (21) and Hershey’s (21). Those going for top of the line can find gourmet brands such as Lindt and Godiva, while mass market brands include Nestlé and Van Houten.

The Boutiques section puts a “˜face’ to the fashion and apparel brands under DFP, as it contains retail pictures of the stand-alone boutiques as well as sample images of their merchandise. Images are large and clear, and are even accompanied by a short description of the brands, which include menswear labels such as Dunhill, sportswear Lacoste and Adidas, and cosmetics brands Chanel and Shu Uemura. This section would be even more helpful if it could include contact numbers and store locations.

In Healthy & Beauty users can find another useful subcategory for the summer months – Summer Wellness – which stocks nine products for fun at the beach, such as sunscreen lotion, aloe vera gel, toning body gel and body scrub. The other subcategory under Health & Beauty is Cosmetics, which holds 19 products from various beauty brands including Christian Dior, Clinique, Elizabath Arden, Estée Lauder and Lancôme. Fans of Shu Uemura can find here the celebrated Eyelash Curler ($35.00) and Cleansing Oil ($71.00).

While the links on the top navigation panel provide useful information, there seems to be a problem with the drop down menu: Hovering over each link drops the menu askew towards the left of the page

Fragrances are separated into men’s fragrances (“˜Pour Homme’) and women’s fragrances (“˜Pour Femme’). Both are almost equally well-stocked, with 42 and 49 products respectively. Brands are listed in alphabetical order, making it easier for users to seek their desired brand. Prices in the men’s section peak at $89.00 (Bulgari Blu Notte Pour Homme 75ml EDP), with the lowest at $29.00 (Davidoff Cool Water Deep Summer Fizz EDT 100ml). Women’s fragrances range from $32 (Armani Summer Mania Femme) to $93.00 (Bvlgari Femme Voile de Jasmin).

16 models are found under Luggages, from brands such as Delsey, Longchamp, Kipling, Samsonite (the Samsonite SBL 1800 Spinner tops the price list at $620.00), UCB Benetton and Victorinox. Under Watches are half the number of brands – eight – including classic Swiss watchmakers Tag Heuer, Swatch, Baume & Mercier and Omega, as well as designer brands Christian Dior and Hermès. Prices start at $48.00 for a Swatch watch and go up to $6914.00 for the Omega Speedmaster Reduced for ladies, set with diamonds and red leather strap.

Jewelry is grouped further into Costume Jewelry and Fine Jewelry, numbering 11 items each. Hot Diamonds dominates the Costume Jewelry segment with six skus ranging from bracelets to earrings. The Tateossian Sterling Silver & Fiber Optic Pendant is going for a discounted price of $175.00 (from $250.00). Prices in Fine Jewelry start at $190.00 for an 18k white gold butterfly pendant from Keleo and peak at $3,050.00 for a Keleo bracelet in 18k white gold set with a 2.53 ct diamond.

Children, sports buffs and technology junkies will have a field day as the Toys, Sporting Goods and Electronics categories cover broad product ranges.

More than 40 toys can be found in six sub-categories – Activity Toys, Bikes/Ride-ons, Dolls/Stuff toys, Educational toys, Toy cars and Video games – while sporting gear for at least eight types of sports are available. Electronics (136 items in 10 subcategories) cover more than the usual digital cameras and music players, and instead extend to more home-based products such as air-conditioners (19 models alone), car stereos, gas cookers, digital theatre systems, refrigerators, television sets, washing machines – and more.

The DFP Supermarket lists an extensive 49 types of groceries and 63 types of toiletries, complete with product images and price.

The product search tool, rooted throughout the site, helps users to navigate through the vast product showcase.

Also rooted throughout the site is the top navigation panel listing several links: Home, Shopping Guide, Loyalty Programs, Bidding and About Us. While these links provide useful and comprehensive information, there seems to be a problem with the drop down menu. For example, hovering over the “˜About Us’ link drops down a menu with four further links (Store location, Employment, Contact Us and Philippine Tourism) under the “˜Loyalty Programs’ link. Hovering over each link drops the menu askew towards the left of the page.

General Overview

In terms of the range of products available for viewing online, DFP is tough to beat. While the retailer does not offer an online shopping option, it makes good use of the web to present what’s available in its stores – a good alternative for time-pressed travellers who need to make a shopping list. There is good use of space (the scrolling menu function for Promos on the home page) and images, although the latter could be made more consistent in terms of quality. A Sense of Place is apparent on the home page with the use of local terms and models.

What we like:
• Large product catalogue
• Sense of Place
• Gift suggestions
• Emphasis on promotions and special offers

What needs adding/improving:
• Better quality images
• Navigation display on top panel
• Ability to shop online

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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