China’s largest mobile wallet Alipay has started to expand in the UK. The Body Shop, one of Britain’s best-known and biggest cosmetics and skin care companies, will launch the service in three major London stores, Covent Garden, Oxford Street and Regent Street using the new Scan Alipay App provided by Wirecard. The launch takes place on October 1st, parallel to the start of China’s national Golden Week. This date marks a week-long national holiday during which millions of mainlanders set off on vacation and hit the European shopping streets. London is expecting to see thousands of Chinese tourists during this time.
The Chinese tourism market is growing constantly in Europe and offers enormous revenue opportunities for retailers. According to VisitBritain, more than 250,000 Chinese tourists visited the UK in 2015, an increase in 45% from the previous year and spending a total of £586.22m Alipay will offer a convenient and secure payment method for Chinese tourists through a simple mobile payment.
Simon Coble, UK General Manager at The Body Shop said: “China’s beauty market is the second biggest in the world. The Body Shop is extremely popular with the global Chinese Shopper and accounts for a significant percentage of sales in our major UK stores. With over 100,000 Chinese customers in the UK we want to offer a great shopping experience, including simple and secure payment. We already have Chinese speaking Beauty Assistants and product translations, so we believe offering the convenience of accepting Alipay will offer a truly holistic experience for the Chinese shopper – and Golden Week is the perfect time to launch.”
“We are delighted that we’ve partnered with The Body Shop as the first great retail chain to deliver Alipay payments to their customers via the Alipay App,” said Jörn Leogrande, Executive Vice President Mobile Services at Wirecard. ”It’s a great chance for retailers to provide Alipay and to decide afterwards if the leading payment method in China should be integrated in the central till system.”
For retailers, the app offers a simple way to benefit from Alipay payment acceptance: a customer making a cashless payment with their Alipay App simply needs to show the retailer the barcode on their smartphone display. All the retailer is required to do is enter the amount payable into the ‘Scan Alipay’ App on a mobile device and then scan the QR code on the customer’s smartphone. Payment processing and acquiring is handled by Wirecard.