An untypical end of year is expected: make sure you are prepared early
With China accounting for $1 out of $5 spent by international visitors to Australia, this billion-dollar market offers huge potential to grow your business. Here are five ways to get them shopping with you.
With the rising number of Chinese visitors hitting Australian shores, local businesses are scrambling to find ways to get them through their doors. And rightly so, because the numbers are impressive. So far, Australian airports registered almost a million visitors from China in 2015, a whopping 22%1 increase compared to 2014.
If you add the fact that shopping is one of the top factors that gives trip satisfaction to Chinese travellers, one can understand the excitement in the retail, tourism and hospitality sector.
Here are five tips to get them shopping:
1. Welcome with a familiar sign
To appreciate how to best interact with Chinese travellers, remember how you felt when strolling through silk shops in Bangkok or visiting carpet traders in Morocco. While there where all these enticing local products on display, you might have hesitated because you were afraid of being taken advantage or you didn’t know how to pay with your credit card.
Now imagine your reaction if one of the local shops would have displayed a sign that said: “Welcome traveller. I accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express”. Creating a trustworthy environment is the first step to attract international customers and telling someone that their card is accepted makes a good start.
Tyro Payments offers its customers the ability to accept the most popular card payment among Chinese shoppers, UnionPay. The number of UnionPay card issued worldwide has exceeded 2.3 billion and growing. If you want to learn more, visit Tyro’s UnionPay page.
2. Remember that not every shopper is the same
Once they are in your shop, show that you care about their business. Ask how you can help, even if you don’t speak their language. Many shoppers have a very precise idea about the products they want and most of them will be able to show you a photo of it on their smartphone.
3. Treat everyone as a local
It does not matter where you come from, the universal values of good business practice never fail to make a good impression on those willing to trade with you. When on holidays, we want to be treated as individuals, not as a generic mass of foreign shoppers. Smiles, patience and goodwill goes a long way even if your language skills are not up to scratch.
4. Sell Australian-made products
Visitors from mainland China have a distinct taste for high-quality and locally made products. So stock items that are uniquely Australian. If you have difficulties, look for European and American-made products which also in high demand.
5. Encourage word of mouth
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools and the rise of social media has multiplied its potential by many factors. So, if you give a shopper that spends big a little gift, like a product sample, there is every chance that their co-travellers, friends and colleagues will learn about your generosity.
A little investment in a piece of merchandise can make a big difference when it comes to excellence in customer service.
More tips to grab tourism gold
Tourism Research Australia has also packaged up some tips, marketing strategies, and a raft of resources specific to SMEs to attract tourists.
They suggest things such as hiring bilingual staff; translating your signage and flyers; understanding the culture better including when they holiday; and “creating a small difference to set yourself apart”.
Of all the tips, that last one may be the easiest to initiate. One of the most immediate and simplest ways to stand out from the crowd (and add to your bottom line) is Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC).
DCC is an easy-to-activate facility available on Tyro terminals which allows SMEs to offer customers a way to pay in more than 130 currencies.
Maybe getting your slice of the tourism pie is easier than you think. Maybe as easy as flicking a switch.
1 Tourism Research Australia 2015