Australian exporters looking for new market opportunities should look to China, where a vast population with increasing disposable income is already well-disposed towards Australian goods.
In fact, China is already Australia’s number one export market. With the impending trade war between China and the US likely to affect Australian exporters, now is the time to build and cement relationships with Chinese customers.
One of the ways Australian businesses can do this is to embrace the payment technologies preferred in the Chinese marketplace and across Asia. This includes contactless payment methods and so-called eWallets, which lets consumers pay for goods without employing a traditional bank solution.
One such solution is WeChat Pay. WeChat is China’s most popular social platform and WeChat Pay is its built-in payment platform. WeChat currently has one billion users, 20 million official accounts, and one million merchants who support WeChat Pay in their stores.?
These numbers are only set to grow as WeChat goes from accounting for most payment transactions in China to expanding rapidly into Asia and other international markets. It was described as one of the world’s most powerful apps by Forbes. It has even been touted as a potential competitor to Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.
Making smarter decisions on what products to export
A key benefit for exporters of embracing WeChat Pay goes beyond simply letting customers pay for goods using their preferred method. Using purpose-built solutions that leverage WeChat, Australian exporters can leverage the vast amounts of data created and collected by WeChat.
For example, users rely on WeChat to connect through social messaging, make payments, access government services, and search for products and services from retailers and brands.
Exporters can analyse this information to extract insights that can let them make smarter decisions around what products to export to China and when.
Importantly, this broad range of data sources, coupled with advanced data insight, can provide exporters with a clear view of not just their customers but also their competitors. This information can deliver a more comprehensive picture of how exporters can compete more effectively, whether that’s through pricing initiatives, discounts, loyalty programs, managing product volumes more strategically, or some other method.
Highly competitive marketplace
The value of this can’t be overstated as Australian exporters continue to operate in a highly competitive marketplace. Access to the right data, along with the capability to analyse that data effectively, can be the difference between taking the market by storm or failing to gain a foothold, especially for new entrants.
Australian exporters can also leverage the WeChat marketing ecosystem to promote their products to Chinese consumers, advertise in targeted sections of WeChat and even target consumers based on their location.
Recently, Austrade launched a new digital platform designed to support Australian businesses engaging with China. The program was housed within WeChat, and provides a dedicated marketing channel for exporters who are already operating in China or looking to break into the market.
This commitment to the WeChat platform by the Australian government illustrates its vital importance to the future of exporters’ business in China.
Improving sales and increasing profit
Australian businesses can use WeChat to not only provide Chinese tourists with their preferred payment platform via WeChat Pay, but also to continue to do business with those same people once they’ve returned to China. The customer can join the business’s loyalty program and continue to buy from that business even though they’re no longer in Australia.
Australian exporters making room for advanced and non-traditional payment forms need to recognise their unique position in the market, and the ways different eWallet technologies can improve sales and increase profit.
Working with a knowledgeable technology partner in this space can help exporters make the most of new payment technologies, deliver exceptional customer experiences, and operate on the cutting edge of consumer demand.
Gary Cohen is chief executive officer, Invigor Group, a leading data analytics, insights and loyalty company