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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Collins

Five Things Retailers Can Do To Attract Chinese Shoppers

Chinese shoppers are not messing around. They do their research, they know what they want, and they come with cash in hand. And you shouldn’t mess around either–Chinese shoppers spend an average of $7,200 per person while in the USA. Chinese shoppers are discerning, diverse, and price-sensitive. Here are five tips to help attract and accommodate the new Chinese shopper.

1. Talk The Talk

Chinese Shoppers have high expectations for service–they want a full customer service experience, not just a quick checkout. Hiring Mandarin-speaking staff is crucial to bridging the gap.

The hospitality industry has already proven the benefit of incorporating Mandarin-speaking staff, along with Chinese menus and other process-smoothing language adjustments. In the retail sector, Mandarin remains under-integrated in most western countries. In addition to employing bilingual staff, retailers can reap the benefits of incorporating Chinese language material and signage into their business, including a Chinese website.

2. Provide WIFI

Trust us–just do it. Most Chinese shoppers don’t have the time or resources to get a mobile plan set up for their short-lived trip in a foreign country. Providing free WIFI will not only leave a memorable shopping experience, but will open crucial doors in marketing for retailers. Ninety-three percent of Chinese travelers document their journey on social media. Providing WIFI can give retailers a chance for direct exposure to a Chinese audience on social media.

3. Get Inside Their Phone

Providing free WIFI isn’t merely a kind gesture for weary travelers, but an opportunity for retailers to get connected with their Chinese customers on social media. China is now the world’s biggest smartphone market, and has now topped global charts for both smartphone penetration and social media subscriptions. Chinese smartphone users spend an average of 3.3 hours on their phone everyday.

More importantly, Retailers need to get on Chinese social media and travel platforms. Eighty-seven percent of Chinese travelers do their travel research in Chinese–which means they’re deciding where to shop based on what Chinese language websites tell them.

With the growth of O2O platforms in China, retailers can also use websites such as Shopilist to connect directly to Chinese shoppers while they’re planning their shopping trip.

4. Adopt Chinese Payment Methods

Union Pay is now the world’s most popular bankcard, but is still largely unknown outside of China. People are starting to take notice, and many POS’s are starting to accept Union Pay in an effort to accommodate Chinese travelers.

Seeing that Union Pay accounts for 90% market share of Chinese cardholders, retailers can get massive results by setting up Union Pay. For example, British luxury retailer Harrods registered a 40 percent rise in sales to Chinese tourists, boosted by the installation of UnionPay terminals.

Retailers who really want to maximize profits can integrate Chinese mobile payment systems. Mobile payment in China has already surpassed the western world in popularity and sophistication. Alibaba’s mobile payment platform Alipay sees over 80 million transactions per day. Alipay’s main competitor WeChat Pay onboarded 200 million users overnight during this year’s lunar new year. Major potential!

5. Show Your Local Pride

As Chinese travelers become more experienced, they’re starting to break away from the stereotypical profile of the Chinese tour-group bus-bound tourist. Rather than going straight for the big-name luxury brands like they might in the past, Chinese shoppers are now seeking unique shopping experiences. A recent survey found that “Local Specialties” was the number one category purchased by Chinese shoppers abroad, accounting for 56% of purchases while abroad.

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