James Hudson, Alibaba Group director of corporate affairs and marketing for Australia and New Zealand, says Alibaba is focused on promoting Alipay to Kiwi retailers.
“For us, it’s about enabling [retailers] to accept the payments.”
He says Alipay is not like existing payments platforms in New Zealand, explaining that it incorporates a marketing and discovery element which may help retailers drive tourists into stores to make purchases.
Hudson says for retailers selling to Chinese tourists, it’s about ’02020’ – online to offline to online. Discovery of the retailer can be made online through Alipay’s discovery function, giving the consumer the confidence to find the store physically and purchase offline. They may then go home to China and find the retailer’s store online through Tmall, making further online purchases.
“It’s about creating this closed-loop ecosystem with the customer where they can re-engage.”
Hudson says the Alibaba Ecommerce Expo is a “showcase of the future of retail”, but the technology on show won’t necessarily be appropriate for exact replication across New Zealand: “New Zealand retailers will come up with their own ways of doing things.”
Asked about Chinese tourists’ retail expectations in New Zealand, he says they’re driven by “clean, green quality”. It’s products rather than retail ingenuity that these shoppers are seeking, Hudson says, citing honey, healthcare and dairy as the biggest categories. Fashion and natural cosmetics are also growing fast.
“Chinese visitors are not looking for retail concepts but high-quality products,” Hudson says.
The expo signals further interest from Alibaba Group in building a presence in New Zealand. It comes after the May announcement of a dedicated New Zealand team based in Auckland, led by Zhou with country manager Pier Smulders. The new team will focus on connecting Kiwi brands, retailers and producers to Chinese consumers and inbound visitors.