Does WeChat Pay open Chinese tourists’ revenue for overseas brands?
WeChat, the popular messaging app developed by Tencent, has announced that its payment platform is now open to companies outside of China. This comes as a refreshing announcement for brands and local shops targeting Chinese tourists abroad.
In today’s scenario, China heavily relies on WeChat Payments in everyday life: to shop, pay for cabs or even while transferring money to friends, using only their mobile device. A survey by Tencent in August 2015 revealed that 68.8 per cent of Chinese people use their mobile devices offline for payments.
With this development, customers can take this one step forward and use WeChat for their payments all over the world!
Asian countries still remain are the most popular destination choice for Chinese tourists, with Thailand being the most popular destination followed by Hong Kong and South Korea. Chinese also ranks as being one of the highest average spenders among other nationalities, which make them an attractive target for businesses like shopping centers, hotels, restaurants and private transport services abroad.
However, payment methods have always been a real challenge for Chinese tourists. This results in them carrying significant amounts of cash in hand which makes it susceptible to theft.
Today, thanks to WeChat, a solution readily exists on every mobile phone device in China that answers this very challenge.
Chinese travelers can now make secure payments in more than 20 currencies, using their local account in Chinese Yuans, similar to their payments back home. This allows merchants to enjoy transparent and seamless transactions that greatly improve the experience for Chinese tourists, owing to their familiarity with this platform. Tourists no longer have to opt for local currency exchange and tackle long check-out queues.
Furthermore, to be able to execute the payment, the customer will be prompted to follow the brand or shop account on WeChat. This opens a unique opportunity for vendors to establish a connection with the customer by marketing their products, services and content even after the tourists are back home. This will greatly strengthen the customer’s brand recall and affirms the chance that the userwill choose to shop with same vendor again, in the future.
As Chinese travelers often purchase many products for their friends and family back home, a branded WeChat account will facilitate easy sharing of available products and prices. Customers can also instantly receive money from friends back home for these payments.
There are two available payment modes that can be established by shops, hotels or brands: In-shop Payment or Online Payment. Customers can now discover more about these brands and subscribe to their services directly on WeChat Pay website.
This calls for an urgent requirement for brands to develop an overall expertise of the WeChat platform. Brands must also understand the purchasing behavior of the Chinese people and their use of the app. Marketers with better knowledge of this platform can open the gates to an increase in potential buyers and see a much larger conversion rate, against their competitors.
This also makes it essential for brands to invest in genuine marketing efforts with content published in Chinese on their accounts. Specific campaigns may also be developed that encourage sharing amongst their target audience that favors group travelling.
It is now up to brands to successfully use this opportunity and keep a close eye on the WeChat landscape to develop effective marketing strategies to leverage their business.
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