In a few weeks, Chinese tourists visiting Italy will be able to easily purchase their goods both online and in-store through the dedicated app on their smartphones.
Chinese consumers use WeChat for payment purposes and made more than 1 million transactions per minute in 2017. Merchants can have either a dedicated POS or add WeChat Pay to the till systems, while customers will only need a smartphone and a WeChat account connected to their bank account to pay via the scan of a QR code. The code will open the digital wallet in the app and enable the transaction in Chinese currency. A click and a verification code are all that is needed to execute the transaction, the merchant will receive the amount in euros.
With more than 980 million monthly active users and a market penetration of 93% in the largest cities, WeChat is not only a social media, but also a multi-service platform to surf on the internet, purchase goods and pay online.
The service aims at reaching all retailers, from the luxury, fashion and design industries, which account for 60% of Chinese purchases, to hospitality and entertainment (restaurants, hotels, museums, theme parks), all looking for a very easy and friendly way for Chinese customers to pay their goods.
According to data released by Istat-Confturismo, last year Italy registered 3.79 million Chinese visitors, an increase of more than 5% compared to the previous year. Tourism is expected to grow in 2018, which has been named “Year of the EU-China Tourism”. Over 20.8 million Chinese tourists are estimated to visit Europe every year over the next five years (Source: China Tourism Academy).
Chinese consumers using WeChat Pay are mainly millennials, digital savvy, with a high income and sophisticated taste. They spend more than 3.5 hours online every day, buy fashion and luxury goods while traveling abroad and prefer mobile payments. In China, e-commerce account for more than the 20% of the total retail sales and e-payments exceeded $ 5.5 billion in 2016 (Source: iResearch).
Fausto Caprini, CEO of Digital Retex comments: “For the very first time, WeChat Pay will be available in Italy to purchase goods in store. This app is the preferred in-store method of payment by Chinese shoppers. Retailers who quickly adapt to the Chinese consumer purchasing and payment habits will be able to win over the competition through the creation of a long-lasting relationship between their own brand and the shopper.”
Ludovic des Garets, DOCOMO Digital Global head of sales and e-Commerce states: “We are proud that WeChat Pay will be available in Italy and across the main European destinations thanks to the agreement between DOCOMO Digital and Digital Retex. Merchants will be able to use a single payment solution that will boost sales and satisfy at the same time the needs of Chinese tourists, who will use their favourite and quick method of payment to purchase goods. Through the agreememt with WeChat Pay, DOCOMO Digital becomes the ideal partner for merchants for the end-to-end management of digital payments via a bespoke service, which assures Chinese consumer the same customer experience they have in their country”.