Changi to open online shopping to arriving passengers

Changi to open online shopping to arriving passengers
Travellers at Changi Airport will soon be able to shop even before they land.

Travellers arriving at Changi Airport will soon be able to shop even before they land.

Their items will be packed and ready for collection at designated counters by the time they arrive.

Online shopping portal iShopChangi, which is now available only to passengers who are departing, will be extended to arriving passengers by the year end.

Payment will be made online.

This is to make shopping more convenient for travellers and boost retail takings.

Items for sale include cosmetics, perfumes, wines and spirits, Changi Airport Group spokesman Robin Goh told The Straits Times.

Travellers need not pay the 7 per cent goods and services tax as it will be absorbed by retailers.

"To serve customers better, we will also be looking at reducing the order cut-off from 24 hours to 18 hours before flight departure, giving shoppers a longer window to finalise their purchases," Mr Goh said.

Since the launch of iShopChangi in 2013, online sales and website traffic have increased by about 40 per cent, he said.

There are also more products, with about 6,000 items on offer now.

The airport's key perfumes and cosmetics retailer, South Korea's Shilla Duty Free, expects the number of online shoppers to increase.

"While online shopping is still not a big part of our business, we anticipate positive sales growth based on current trends," said a Shilla Duty Free spokesman without disclosing sales figures.

Popular online purchases include skincare brands such as Estee Lauder, SK-II, Clinique, Sulwhasoo and Laneige.

South Korean cosmetics are also very popular with locals and Chinese travellers, she said.

About half of the shoppers on iShopChangi are from Singapore, with the rest from other key markets, including Australia, Indonesia, China and India.

Launching online shopping and other initiatives to boost commercial takings, which help subsidise the cost of providing services to airlines and ground handlers, is an important part of Changi Airport's strategy.

Last year, the total sales from perfumes and cosmetics, as well as liquor and tobacco, hit about $900 million - about half of the airport's total annual receipts from shopping and dining.

Businessman Alan Wong, 56, said of iShopChangi: "It's a good idea to extend the service to arriving passengers.

"I travel quite a bit and when I get back, I prefer to just collect my luggage and leave instead of spending too much time browsing for perfumes and other gifts for my wife.

"Now, she can pick what she wants online and all I have to do when I get back is pick up the items."

This article was first published on May 4, 2015.
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