Building sales and boosting visits

Cost-effective export platform
250 products available
Reinvested £1.8 million in marketing
Our shop earned £1.8m in 2016, reinvesting profits in marketing to inspire the world to visit Britain

From improving user journeys to exceeding growth expectations, we’ve continued to develop our retail activity this year.

Evolving our offer to increase sales

Stocking over 250 products, VisitBritain’s global online retail operation is a one-stop shop where visitors can buy products before they travel to Britain. Through the site, customers can purchase (in seven languages) everything from airport transfers to tickets for trains, tours and attractions – all making travel, daytripping and holiday planning easier.

Infographic of VB shop Oyster card offer2015/16 saw continued growth for our shop. We worked closely with our key partner Transport for London (TfL) in the global promotion and distribution of the Visitor Oyster card and the wider network of TfL products to both our trade and consumer clients. In 2015/16 the total sales of the Visitor Oyster card through our channels reached over £21 million, representing a 45% increase on last year. For the fifth year running we’ve exceeded retail targets for revenue, delivering £22 million in revenue (up 19% on last year); contributing a net profit of £1.8 million, all of which has been used to boost our marketing of Britain to potential overseas visitors.

Moving to a new ecommerce platform last year enabled us to improve user journeys and enhance customer experience. We saw an increase in positive feedback and a 20% rise in conversion rates. By closely managing and monitoring our acquisition channels we also improved performance and efficiency, contributing to the shop surpassing its profit target by 10%.

2015/16 saw our retail operation:
  • Increase available products from 200 to 250
  • Introduce new regional products including Brighton Pavillion, Spinnaker Tower and Jacobite Cruises
  • Experience double digit growth for the fifth year running
Brighton Pavillion
Shop product: Brighton Pavilion
VisitBritain Shop website
VisitBritain Shop website
Shop product: Gower Peninsula Tour Wales
Shop product: Gower Peninsula tour Wales

Helping visitors explore the nations and regions

Britain travel shop at visa application centresTo build the value and impact of the shop, we’ve continued to work closely with our suppliers to create compelling special offers and increase business during quieter months. Our export platform offers businesses cost-effective access to consumers around the world, giving a route to market for British travel products.

Building on the visitor’s interest to see more of Britain, demonstrated by the growth in popularity of the BritRail and the National Trust Touring Pass, we developed a new approach to our retail platform for 2015/16. In line with our strategy to encourage everyone who visits to explore further, we nominated 20 ‘hub’ destinations throughout the UK by creating day itineraries based on the products available to buy through the shop. Through these hubs we aim to increase customer engagement, drive up the number of purchases and increase the average order value into 2016/17.

We also continued to maximise our sales partnership with VFS, an organisation that sells British holiday products including attraction and tour tickets at visa application centres in selected markets. VFS extended its reach to 58 locations in 24 countries this year, all featuring a Travel Shop that draws customers’ attention to experiences and activities on offer when they visit Britain. This year we improved VFS efficiency by moving to a new platform, giving access to additional products plus improved back office process. Through this supplier relationship we generated £1.24 million in revenue, a 48% increase on 2014/15. We intend to build on this success into next year, introducing special offers and new launches to increase the product offering and encompass even more UK suppliers.

By closely managing and monitoring our acquisition channels we improved performance and efficiency, contributing to the shop surpassing its profit target by 10%.