You’ve heard of WeChat and of the Chinese mobile payment systems, WeChat Pay and Alipay. But here’s the part that makes us sit up: by combining both with Payment Marketing, brands can grow awareness within the Chinese market, engage with them, and increase acquisitions by converting customers on the spot within the WeChat ecosystem. That’s powerful.
Imagine checking out your Facebook feed and seeing paids ads and posts by brands. If you tap on an ad, you’ll be redirected to an external webpage, go through a couple more pages, and then input your payment details. If you don’t change your mind in the process. Imagine instead tapping on the post or ad and paying on the spot, cutting out the extra steps between piquing a customer’s initial interest and converting them. That’s powerful.
The first step: accepting WeChat Pay and Alipay
The affluent Chinese-Canadian population prefers mobile payments. Paying through WeChat Pay and Alipay is the norm for immigrants, tourists, and international students from Mainland China. Trends and habits from across the Pacific aren’t hindered by geographical boundaries. In China, a consumer can order lunch, pay the dogsitter, and give money to the busker at the metro station all through WeChat. The burgeoning Chinese diaspora bring both their large spending power and their payment preferences when they come to North America.
Accepting mobile payments is just the first step of Payment Marketing, a first step many international brands have taken. For example, airlines are quick adopters of techniques that help them capture the enormous spending power of Chinese travelers. In 2017, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines became the first non-Chinese airline to accept WeChat Pay. Finnair followed suit three months later. Then Air France, and then Air Canada. Now, luxury retailers that cater to the affluent Chinese traveler can’t sign up for WeChat Pay and Alipay fast enough. That includes auto dealers, casinos in Las Vegas, even Bubba Gump Shrimp on San Francisco’s Pier 39 and some parking providers. The question is not whether you should accept mobile payments; it’s how quickly you can get those systems set up. Over 90% of Chinese tourists prefer mobile payments and 40% indicate the payment methods accepted influence their purchasing decisions.
WeChat Pay and Alipay as marketing tools
These payment systems are not just transactional channels; they are powerful marketing tools every brand that targets the Asian market needs to be aware of.
On WeChat, similar to Facebook, brands can publish posts and purchase ads that appear on a user’s feed. With Payment Marketing, brands can take the next, important step of converting the consumer by linking that post to an internal ecommerce page (a WeChat ‘mini program’ where customers can tap to purchase. Funds are taken from the customer’s WeChat wallet, connected to either the customer’s credit card or Chinese bank account. The process is short: see, tap, buy.
WeChat Pay and Alipay also offer other features that grow awareness and drive acquisition. Alipay offers a ‘Discover’ feature similar to Yelp’s that helps the consumer discover retailers around them that accept Alipay. Accepting mobile payments doesn’t just facilitate purchases; it grows your market and helps you access consumers who may not have been aware of you. On WeChat Pay, brands can create ads that appear on the payment confirmation page when a consumer purchases an item. Payment Marketing helps brands create a direct link between awareness and acquisition of the Chinese consumer. CMO’s, take note.