Fashion brand Cue Clothing Co. has staked a claim as the first Australian retailer to offer WeChat and Alipay payment services in every one of its standalone store sites, nationwide.
In a statement, Cue said its three fashion brands, including Cue, Veronika Maine and Dion Lee, will be using RoyalPay, a software platform that allows customers using WeChat or Alipay to pay in store using their local currency, such as the Chinese Yuan.
The Cue group operates 126 Cue stores in Australia and New Zealand, as well as 108 Veronika Maine outlets. There are eight standalone Dion Lee stores.
According to its website, RoyalPay acts as an intermediary between buyer and seller by taking the Yuan payment and settling the transaction with the merchant in Australian dollars.
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WeChat and Alipay are both major players in the Chinese market, with WeChat hosting over 900 million daily active users. Alipay is the third-largest payment platform globally, with 500 million users.
Speaking to SmartCompany, Cue information officer Shane Lenton said the retailer’s customers are already embracing the new payment options.
“Since launching last week, we have had a positive response from our customers using these payment options, from a wide range of stores nationally,” says Lenton.
“Our data is already showing that customers using these payment options are spending twice as much than our average transaction value.”
Lenton says the retailer will continue to track how existing and new customers use the technology in store, as well as how the payment options change how much they are willing to spend.
“We will be measuring the success of this technology by the percentage of both new and existing customers choosing this as a payment option, in addition to the increase in new customer acquisitions and an increase in spend from existing customers,” he says.
While Cue Clothing says it is the first retailer to implement the new payment options across its entire network, it appears plenty of other Australian businesses also see value in experimenting with these platforms. Last week, the ABC reported that more than 10,000 Australian shops and restaurants are using the WeChat Pay system and according to the RoyalPay website, Australian retailers including Priceline, Terry White Chemists and IGA have also already joined the platform to process Yuan transactions.
WeChat presents potential to access to Chinese market
According to Dr Gary Mortimer, an associate professor in the business school at Queensland University of Technology, adopting these new payment platforms is just one way Australian businesses, big and small, are attempting to attract the Chinese customer base.
“There are some great opportunities in China for businesses. We’ve seen the growth of daigou businesses getting into the Chinese market,” he says.
“Certainly with JD.com launching last year in Australia, [it] indicates there is a healthy appetite for Australian brands in the Chinese market. This looks like Cue is making headways by adopting these types of payment platforms.”
However, Mortimer says security will be front of mind for any shoppers interested in using the new options. He believes Cue will have to show customers the platforms have been integrated with security in mind.
“It’ll be vital [that] as [Cue] integrates these platforms into these websites that there’s enough security so consumers can feel confident that their platforms are secure,” he tells SmartCompany.
Mortimer says businesses are starting to facilitate digital payments and transactions through wearable technology and even through social media, as well as through the introduction of Apple Pay and other alternatives to cash and credit card payments.
However, Cue’s existing customer base may not align with the kinds of customer willing to use WeChat or Alipay, meaning the company could be chasing a brand new demographic.
“I suspect the demographic using these types of payment plans would be younger, Gen Y consumers. I don’t think that’s the core customer of Cue,” he says.
“This is more about getting their product into the Chinese market using social media rather than facilitating extra sales.”
*This article was updated on Thursday, March 15 to include comments from Cue.