STORES Magazine - May/June 2017 - 19
times, they welcome the help and are looking
We're also attempting to figure out where the
Chinese traveler is going, as in which restaurants
and experiences attract them. Alipay is partnering
with companies such as Verifone and First Data
to get introductions to merchants that typically
attract Chinese tourists. We know appealing to
the Chinese consumer is more about experience.
How did you determine that?
We conducted a study of Chinese tourists in
Las Vegas and learned, among other things, that
18 percent of them felt it was important to have
a payment method that they felt comfortable
using while traveling in the U.S. They were
uncomfortable with surprise charges, conversion
rates and foreign transaction fees upon return
to China. Instead of traveling with currency
and having to deal with exchange rates, Chinese
tourists can pay with their mobile device.
For retailers, it makes the transaction simple
because they don't need to find a way to
communicate with the tourist who may not speak
Is there a typical Alipay user?
Alipay doesn't profile individual users. Rather,
we look to profile usage and behavior. For
example, high-end shoppers versus lower end
shoppers, white linen restaurant customers versus
quick-service restaurant customers. We can then
try to serve those categories of travelers with
appropriate offers pre-trip.
But it's noteworthy that both the local retailer
and the Chinese tourist share a language barrier.
We're attempting to bridge the gap by giving
Chinese tourists everything they need to enjoy their
travel and shopping experience in North America
through a simple, familiar app. For retailers,
Alipay simplifies the payment experience while also
attracting more customers to their establishments.
How does a retailer prepare to accept Alipay?
Retailers can use a decal, or if the store is more
upscale, there is a plaque to announce that Alipay
is accepted from Chinese tourists. However,
Alipay has an initiative to target tourists before
they leave, while they're on vacation and then to
follow up with them upon their return.
Before tourists leave, Alipay will send offers
and information about their destination and
suggested places to visit - and spend! During the
trip, Alipay will encourage use of the "Discovery
Platform" to drive traffic to stores and encourage
spending. And post-trip, an effort is made to
keep the consumer and the store connected to
encourage loyalty for future trips.
What is the "Discovery Platform"?
It's similar to Yelp. Chinese consumers can
search for places and experiences and the app will
direct them to nearby locations. These tourists
are poised to spend, so driving traffic of tourists
looking to shop is a huge benefit to U.S. retailers.
Alipay is transforming payment processing, which
has historically been a cost center, to a revenue
Janet Groeber has covered all aspects of the retail industry for
more than 20 years. Her reporting has appeared in AdWeek
and DDI Magazine, among others.
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