Managing the Delhi Duty Free Shops, Delhi Duty Free Services Pvt. Ltd is a single largest duty free retail operator in India operating out of T3, Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi. With something for every one, the duty free shop houses a vast range of liquor, tobacco, wines, teas, chocolates, some souvenirs, snacks, perfumes, make-up, jeans and lingerie and accessories. It has an exclusive Victoria’s Secret store, the only one in India. And then there are constant schemes and discount offers. But what makes it a preferred place to shop, Abhijit Das, Head of Marketing, DDF, tells in a candid chat. Excerpts:
How would you define DDFS for the traveller?
This is an excellent airport which is world class, so passengers are spending more quality time at airport, thus more dwell time to shop.
- World class international duty free shop in India, the sheer size of shop also matters. Even after five years of launch DDFS is the largest duty free store in India.
- Delhi Duty Free has the best prices in the region on many products. The region includes top airports people travel to: Singapore, Heathrow-London, Dubai, Bangkok, Amsterdam, Abu Dhabi.
- Widest range of Single Malts, extensive never seen range of perfume and cosmetics, amazing assortment of confectionery brands, top fashion brands.
- Many ‘first launches’ of India happen at DDFS, thus the customer get things first at DDFS
- Extensive world class promotions: Win a BMW every month, gold, trips to Switzerland, free bags. This has bought DDFS brand image at par with Dubai and Singapore which were known for interesting promotions. In fact Delhi Duty free is one of the most awarded duty free for social media followings, promotions, car promotions, innovative marketing campaigns.
- Extensive staff training with global focus and trainers are from across the world.
- 24/7 customer care
- Chinese and Japanese interpreters/speaking staff
- Best, most friendly, hassle free refund and exchange policy
- Website free pre-order service. Free shop and collect service
Motto: Provide the best range, at best price with world class service
What is the differentiator between Delhi Duty Free and other duty free shops in airports abroad?
The sense of place, India is the key differentiator. It’s achieved through friendly service standards. The pricing benefit vis a vis many international operators is the key functional benefit for customer.
What is the special discount that a traveller gets at DDF? What is the USP that compels a shopper to buy?
Shoppers save at least 20% as compared to downtown market. Also, in many cases shoppers save over 10% as compared to international operators. Gifts with purchase are key benefits shoppers get which is generally not easily available in other shops. Our USP is global brands at best prices.
How many brands are you housing and what is the space in terms of area you occupy at the airport? Can it be compared to the area with any other duty free shop across the airports?
DDFS is the largest in India, its approx 55,000sqft. It’s comparable to any large regional duty free operator–Bangkok, Dubai, Changi. We may be smaller in terms to sq ft space but looking from point of view that we are just five years old and they are over two decades old and still the kind of business we do makes us a level player.
Is there a provision that the guest can pay and the product is kept for him to pick up on return?
Yes we have highly acclaimed ‘Shop & Collect’ service which is free. Shop at departure (pay as well) and collect at arrivals. We are soon launching reverse shop and collect: shop at arrivals, collect at departure for expats and NRIs.
How often do you have discount schemes and special offers? Why do you need these when the airport is like an enclosed space where people have no choice but to buy?
We have offers on top brands 24/7, 365 days. Shopping should be enjoyable, an entertainment, fulfilling, it can’t be forced selling or buying, like we used to have ‘pre- paid’ cabs couple of years back. Now with app-based services, we know what difference it makes though basic service is still same ‘pick up and drop’.
What criteria does a vendor need to meet to place his products at DDFS?
Global production standards, unique products, logistics facility at par with top brands,
current clientele list, how innovative they are, management structure, quality standards and checks.
How often do you have quality checks and training for the staff?
Each staff undergoes at least 45 days of training in a year. Quality checks are part of daily schedule by retail staff and independent quality control team.
Who is your shopper?
It’s an international airport and only international travelers can avail shopping allowance. It’s not open for domestic. Arrivals account for 65% business and Departure 35%. Arrival has mainly Indian shoppers whereas at departure Indians account for only 45%, thus more and more foreign nationals are buying from us while going out of country. This is the biggest testimony.
Overall top customers are from India, UAE, London, Kathmandu, USA, China, Japan. The Chinese and Japanese are top high-end product buyers. Chinese top the list.
DDFS has special make-over for women at the Mac counter. And a long list of perfumes. Do see the women’s corner at this slide show.