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World Duty-Free at Birmingham Airport Report


A business improvement plan is aimed towards improving the efficiency of an organisation (Reid & Bojanic 2009). It seeks to target specific functional areas within the entity. Such areas include, among others, marketing, purchasing and supply, and management. It is important to note that the overall performance of an organisation depends on the individual output of each of these functional areas. As such, constant appraising needs to be carried out in order to identify areas of weakness that should be improved upon.

The current paper is written against this backdrop of organisational and business improvement. In this paper, the author will appraise the marketing activities of the World Duty-Free at Birmingham Airport.

Marketing, in this case, will be considered as any form of activity carried out by an organisation with the aim of communicating to customers. The message communicated touches on the value of a brand, product, or services. To this end, recommendations will be made on how the performance of the organisation in question can be improved.

Market Segmentation Strategy by the World Duty-Free in Birmingham Airport

Market segmentation is a strategy adopted by many organisations in today’s global market. It involves subdividing a previously broad target market into several subsets. The subsets may include countries or individuals and businesses with similar needs and preferences. It also entails moving ahead to develop and implement strategies to reach these segments (Kotler & Keller 2006). The strategy provides the company with data needed for the identification and positioning of target customers.

The World Duty-Free in Birmingham Airport has also put in place a number of market segmentation strategies. The approach was especially evident with the unveiling of the newly unified passenger terminals at the airport. The move was aimed at improving security. The organisation came up with a shopping facility for passengers at the airport. The new feature was more luxurious than its predecessor. In addition, it exceeded those found in other leading airports in Europe (Koichi 2014).

During the renovation period, the World Duty-Free in Birmingham Airport was able to restructure its shopping facility to accommodate a more diverse customer base. Today, it stocks a wide variety of luxury products for passengers with the aim of improving their experience during their travel.

After keen market studies, the organisation was able to identify the behaviour of most of the passengers at the airport. Consequently, the organisation came up with six core categories for its products. The categories included beauty products, foods, liquor, souvenirs, luxury items, and tobacco. The items offered in these outlets are of high quality (Kochi 2014). In addition, the prices are lower compared to how they cost outside the airport.

The shopping facility is located on the way to the departure gates. The brands stocked by the organisation suit both domestic and international passengers. The company has achieved this by offering a variety of goods and services for the customers to choose from (Kotler 2012). Customer service assistants are also present at tills and counters to advise clients on the choice of products and services.

The Marketing Mix for the World Duty-Free in Birmingham Airport

The marketing mix of an organisation is a collective term used to refer to the tools used by a marketer. It is crucial when determining a brand or product offered by an organisation. It is often associated with 4Ps in most markets. The four include product, price, promotion, and place (Kotler & Keller 2006). The Ps will be analysed in the context of the World Duty-Free.


The World Duty-Free in Birmingham Airport pays keen attention to the products offered to its customers. Of key importance is the quality of goods and services provided (Koichi 2014). As a means of marketing its wide range of products, the organisation has adopted a new escape concept at the airport. A variety of six major categories of products offered in the shopping facility are stocked. One of the strategies that the firm has adopted in recent times is the stocking of rare luxury products, such as fragrances.

For example, the organisation has in its stores Cuir de Russe. The product is one of the most coveted fragrances in the world today. The shopping facility operated by the organisation also allows customers to test products that are on offer. For example, there is a fragrance profile bar at the World Duty-Free in Birmingham Airport. Here, passengers are guided on the selection of products by customer service assistants. The facility has also stocked a wide variety of beauty brands for customers to select from.

The business is also at the forefront with regards to the adoption of new marketing concepts in the industry. In most airports in the United Kingdom, liquor and tobacco are the most stocked products. The World Duty-Free in Birmingham Airport also distributes the two commodities. However, it also offers a wide range of other products. For example, it was the first airport in the European region to adopt the concept of the Tobacco Display Area (TDA). The move is in line with the regulations put in place by the UK Government.

A wide range of products is offered in this category. They include rolling tobacco, cigarillos, and cigarettes. The products are from various world-class brands. In terms of liquor, the organisation stocks a variety of popular brands. It collaborates with the suppliers of these commodities in order to promote brand awareness (Vladimir 2005). Jewellery is also a common sight at the shopping facility.


The goods sold at the shopping facility are duty-free. As such, they are often lowly priced compared to those that are sold by other organisations. In most cases, the price of products in the facility is 50 per cent that of street value.

The same case applies to the luxury items and beauty products stocked in the facility. Since the shop at Birmingham Airport is part of the World Duty-Free group, the organisation is able to secure discounts from its suppliers as a result of buying on a large scale basis (Gupta & Lehmann 2005). The discounts help the firm to further cut down on the cost of its products.

In a bid to promote sales within its shopping facility, the organisation provides special offers to its customers. Among the most popular of these promotions are the winter sales and Christmas shopping.

During the two periods, passengers at the airport enjoy shopping at considerably reduced prices for selected brands. The marketing strategy often drives up sales volumes during the shopping seasons (Vladimir 2005). They are also in line with major holiday seasons when most of the UK citizens are expected to fly out of the country to tourist destinations across the world.


The organisation carries out a number of promotions as part of its marketing strategy (Koichi 2003). One of the most popular of these activities is Whisky-fest promotion. It is an annual event that sees customers save up to 40 per cent on a selected variety of whiskies. Such events are aimed at promoting sales.

They also go a long way towards enhancing impulse buying. Intense advertising is carried out during product promotion. Often, fliers are used to highlight the goods that are on offer. Besides whiskies, the organisation also offers promotions on a variety of other products, such as cosmetics, fragrances, handbags, toys, and watches.

In many occasions, the firm has been quoted in social media, especially in its Facebook page, stating that it offers products at low prices. The prices, as earlier indicated, are up to 50 per cent lower than those offered outside the airport. The marketing strategy often encourages customers to shop within Duty-Free stores at reasonable prices. Through sales promotions, the organisation’s public relations are improved. As such, it wins the confidence of the public.

The organisation also sponsors a number of charitable events. They include the Promise Dreams and others. To this end, it holds walks and offers donations. Such activities act as marketing strategies. They create more awareness of the organisation to the world population (Solis 2011). The firm is also engaged in lauder advertising at all corners of the airport to engage its customers.


The store in Birmingham Airport has adopted a floor layout structure similar to that observed in other shopping facilities owned by the World Duty-Free group. As a result, persons who are used to air travel can easily locate various stores and products with relative ease. The walk-through concept also allows the organisation to showcase its products to the passengers as they head to their departure gates. As a result, customers do not have to put in extra effort to view the wide variety of products on offer at the shopping facility (Solis 2011).

The walk-through concept is also convenient for customers who do not wish to shop at the time. Through the lauder advertisement campaigns carried out by the organisation in the airport corridors, passengers are turned into potential purchasers.

Most of the stores are enclosed with transparent glasses that enable customers to view merchandise from the outside as they head towards the departure gates. A wide variety of taglines are displayed at screens along the walkways. They include ‘every woman can be beautiful’. As such, customers are able to locate the stores of their choice (Koichi 2003).

Recommendations for Business Improvement at the World Duty-Free in Birmingham Airport

As observed in the findings provided in the fore-discussed sections of the paper, it is evident that the World Duty-Free in Birmingham Airport mainly stocks products meant for affluent passengers. The reason behind this is that the organisation retails some of the most luxurious brands in the world.

As a result, its commodities are not affordable to most of the customers from the low social status (Warner 2010). Most of these persons often tend to walk straight past the side stores, heading to the departure gates. They do not make any purchases. To address this issue, the organisation should stock goods that can be afforded even by the low and middle-income persons. Consequently, sales will be enhanced (Pophal, 2014).

The organisation should also invest more in advertising as one of its marketing strategies. Advertising, in this case, should be done in social media and on the company’s website (Pophal 2014). It is evident that there is not much information available to the world concerning the organisation.

Through intense advertising on online forums, potential customers will be aware of the wide range of goods available at the shopping facility. As such, passengers using the airport will have a better understanding of what to get. Travellers can also opt to use the airport just to have an experience of the World Duty-Free stores thanks to online advertising.


The World Duty-Free in Birmingham Airport is a shopping facility that provides both domestic and foreign passengers with a wide variety of products and services. With the renovation of the passenger terminals in mid-2011, the facility was also improved. Today, the business stocks some of the world’s most luxurious brands. To promote its sales volumes, the organisation has been forced to engage in a lot of marketing activities.

The firm has achieved this through 2 major strategies. The approaches include market segmentation and marketing mix. Components of the marketing mix within the organisation include product, price, promotion, and place. Collectively, they are commonly referred to as the 4Ps. The marketing strategies adopted by the firm are relatively effective. However, improvements can be made through online marketing and stocking of more affordable brands.


Gupta, S & Lehmann, D 2005, Managing customers as investments: the strategic value of customers in the long run, Wharton School Publishing, New Jersey.

Koichi, S 2003, Symbiotic marketing strategy, 4th edn, Souseisha Book Company, Tokyo.

Koichi, S 2014, Advertising theory and strategies, 18th edn, Souseisha Book Company, Tokyo.

Kotler, P & Keller, K 2006, Marketing and management, Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Kotler, P 2012, Marketing management, Pearson Education, London.

Pophal, L 2014, The everything guide to customer engagement: connect with customers to build trust, foster loyalty, and grow a successful business, F. W. Media, Cincinnati.

Reid, R & Bojanic, D 2009, Hospitality marketing management, 5th edn, John Wiley and Sons, London.

Solis, B 2011, Engage!: the complete guide for brands and businesses to build, cultivate, and measure success in the new web, John Wiley & Sons, London.

Vladimir, Z 2005, Control systems design: a new framework. Springer, London.

Warner, A 2010, Strategic analysis and choice: a structured approach, Business Expert Press, New York.


Appendix 1: Product promotions at the World Duty Free in Birmingham Airport during the Winter Sales Offer.

Product promotions at the World Duty Free in Birmingham Airport during the Winter Sales Offer
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