Friday, 15 November 2013

Delhi Duty Free Shops - Selling An Experience

     There was a time when air travellers lingered on with their friends and family till the last call for security check even if it meant awkward silences, last minute instructions or plain simple small talk. Things have changed now. And we only have to thank the Irish for introducing us to the invigorating as also the languorous like the warmth of a McGuiness, whiskies; literary masters like W B Yeats, Samuel Becket, G B Shaw, Oscar Wilde ; the submarines, tractors. Add to the list DFS- Duty Free Shops at airports and seaports.

     It was Brendan O'Regan in 1950 who ushered in the glitter of the duty free shops at Shannon airport, on the secured side of the airport arguing that since passengers  are out bound to other countries, there was no point in levying taxes on the products that were not coming into the country. What started off as a common sense business proposition trying to tap a niche market for retail soon changed the international travel scene not to speak of the multi million market it created.

                                                     ( Courtesy Google Images)

    Now air travellers while chalking out their itinerary do keep the DFS area at international airports in mind. The long empty hours between flights no longer exist. Instead they have transformed into shopping sprees and window shopping. But most importantly, they have turned into experiences. In my limited sojourns abroad, I've found our very own Delhi Duty Free Shops at T3, the single largest in India, to be swanky and well laid out. Some of the stores were selling not just products off the shelves but also heightening the experience of embarking on a trip abroad especially for those on a holiday. A few of these stores were very aesthetically done up giving a glimpse of our heritage.
                                       

 Cosmetics, electronics, fashion, alcohol, handicrafts have their retail outlets at the Delhi DFS. With the increase in Indians holidaying abroad, it is the fancy beginning to a much anticipated trip. For the foreign tourists the DFS at T3 is a boon to pick gifts and memorabilia, be it handcrafted stoles, fine cotton garments, hand painted folk wall art or indulge in a last minute spa experience.

                                           
    The DFS at Heathrow and Munich, among the few that I've transited through failed to impress me. The well publicized Dubai Duty Free has caught onto everyone's imagination with it's innumerable counters of famous brands, duty free shopping festivals and the most crowd puller - the supposedly competitively priced gold and other jewellery counters. I would caution the passengers in transit to research a bit before they embark on a shopping spree. There were hordes of passengers converging from almost every part of the world as the flights homed in offloading more of them. Some strolled from one counter to the other while the others flitted in and out looking for specifics as boarding calls were announced.
                                     

   On our way to Munich, we spent much of our time browsing the stores at the Delhi DFS. Ambling through the fragrant aisles of the perfume stores sniffing and 'breaking' the aromas with coffee beans, I felt like Alice in the Wonderland of an upscale mall just as Dubai's DFS brought back images of Ali Baba and his coveted cave. The products positioned at brightly lit niches to seduce and lure the customers into shelling out a few of those crisp notes. The alcohol and the cosmetics, especially the perfumes, do offer good bargains. These are the stores that passengers visit looking for a good bargain on some world class brands.

  An anecdote once narrated by a close friend comes to mind. A group of defence officers on their way from Tel Aviv to New Delhi  hurried through the DFS area  at Dubai. By the time they reached the designated exit the team leader realised two officers were missing from the group. As the last call for boarding was made, the duo dashed their way through with gleaming eyes and sheepish grins. They had succumbed to the lure of the free sampling at the counters. Quickly swigging the free samples on the offers, they managed to reach the departure points quite dramatically with the clanging bottles in sealed packs clutched dearly in their hands just as the gate was closing.

   There is no denying that  DFS has changed the way we travel international now. It begins with making that beeline for the security check at airports for the experience to begin as quickly as possible.
 

  

14 comments:

  1. I have been to DFS in Bangalore Airport and they certainly provide us the way to kill times.. :)

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  2. Dubai duty free shopping is indeed a great place to kill time.

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  3. I am a total DFS lover, with my frequent business trips, i manage to do all the shopping in airport, what i miss out on regular days!!

    Now even the MAC, M&S and TBS sales people recognize me immediately at Delhi Duty Free!!


    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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  4. Harsha,DFS have certainly filled the gap where time used to hang heavily on our hands. I appreciate your initiative with visitneindia.

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  5. Indrani, It sure is. It's fun to wratch all that blitz and spend your time.

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  6. myunfinishedlife, I can understand the shopping frenzy that takes over completely at times. Thanks a lot for stopping by.

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  7. Interesting history of duty-free shops, Ilakshee! nearly skipped this post since shopping is my least fav activity. Glad I did not.

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  8. And Suresh, I am glad so glad you did not skip this post because your words are invaluable. :)

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  9. I dont travel much..but recently went on a vacation. Loved the dubai duty free shops. Whether we are going to buy something is a totslly different issue :) but I see people shopping last minute abd stuffing things into hand baggage snd suit cases. And if you forget to buy something for a loved one on your trip...there is always duty free shopping. :) nice post..enjoyed it :)

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  10. Thanks Preethi! Enjoyed watching the people the most actually!

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  11. Helps when you have to pick something for folks back home and never had time during your stay in a country . Oh yes, I feel like Alice in Wonderland too when I am in there

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  12. Yes, Jaishree. Actually it makes sense to shop at DFS and keep yourself free to explore the place.

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