Alipay, the world’s largest online and mobile payment platform, operated by Ant Financial Services Group, today announced that it is entering into a strategic marketing partnership with The Bicester Village Shopping Collection.
Chinese tourists can now use the Alipay mobile wallet app to make purchases in almost 160 boutiques from high-profile brands across all nine destinations in The Bicester Village Shopping Collection in Europe, offering guests travelling to the EU from China a seamless shopping experience. The cashless mobile payment will be accepted in 300 boutiques by June.
Chinese guests can also use Alipay’s effortless payment and lifestyle platform at every stage of their shopping journey, from travelling to the Villages to receiving immediate tax refunds on their purchases. The mobile wallet is the perfect shopping companion, going beyond simply facilitating payments. Geo-location technology and push notifications allow guests to find their favourite boutiques, discover tailored promotions and seek assistance with purchase decisions – not to mention that all Alipay users also receive preferential foreign exchange rates.
The partnership caters to the growing number of Chinese tourists visiting Europe every year. For example, recent figures from Visit Britain show that more than 250,000 Chinese tourists visited the UK in 2016, spending more than £500 million*, while French Tourism Bureau Atout France reports that almost two million Chinese tourists visited the country in 2017.
The Bicester Village Shopping Collection is home to luxury shopping destinations across Europe and China where guests can discover more than 1,300 boutiques from the world’s most revered fashion and lifestyle brands, all offering year-round savings of up to 60%, and sometimes more, on the recommended retail price. As well as playing host to an unrivalled curation of beautifully presented boutiques and pop-ups, the Villages each provide distinctive five-star hospitality services and a calendar of celebrated events for an experience like no other.
“Alipay is building a platform that enables Chinese consumers to seamlessly travel internationally, and our marketing partnership with The Bicester Village Shopping Collection is a huge step towards providing a holistic retail experience across Europe. Chinese visitors will be able to use their Alipay wallet app for their entire experience at the Villages, right through from their travel to shopping and dining on-site,” said Pamela Hsieh, Head of Marketing, EMEA at Alipay.
“The marketing partnership will also empower the retailers found at each of the Villages within The Bicester Village Shopping Collection, who will find it easier to engage with the growing number of high-spending Chinese tourists visiting Europe, by offering them the retail and payment experience they are used to at home,” Pamela Hsieh continued.
“We are continuously looking for new ways to deliver an outstanding guest experience across The Bicester Village Shopping Collection,” said Marcelo Molinari, Global Tourism Director. “We know that an increasing number of our Chinese guests prefer to use their smartphones to make payments and facilitate their shopping experience, which is why we are delighted to be partnering with Alipay and embracing the future of retail.”
Alipay is available for Ecommerce payments and at bricks-and-mortar shops in 18 European countries, while its tax-refund service is supported at airports in 23 European countries.