The commercial impact of Chinese tourism on Australian retailers is already jaw-dropping.

This group of shoppers now accounts for over half of the total growth in spending by all international tourists visiting Australia. In 2017 alone, Australia saw a record 1.3 million Chinese visitors drop a record $10 billion – a quarter of our tourism earnings for the entire year.

For retailers hoping to gain favour among this growing group of customers, understanding their preferences is key. Half of these tourists are millennials, aged 15 to 29. This is a growing cohort for whom money is often no object in their pursuit of luxury experiences.

They are also extremely tech savvy and partial to brands that can cater to how they like to spend. Chinese millennials use their devices for everything from shopping for clothes and hailing taxis, to paying street performers.

Offering shopping experiences via the widest range of mobile and social media channels available is a critical step to maximising appeal to the Chinese shopper. But there’s more to it than this.

One platform to win them all

While companies are continuing to segment retailing into online, mobile, social and in-store, the Chinese consumer is more accustomed to moving seamlessly and conveniently across all four channels. Becoming mobile friendly and ensuring this kind of unified experience across markets and sales channels is now imperative for Australian retailers looking to capturing this lucrative opportunity.

By tying multiple platforms together, the unified commerce model is an effective solution to creating the consistent customer experience that Chinese shoppers are familiar with and simplifies the shopping experience.

As one example of unified commerce at work, a customer who shops in store can have their card details tokenised, enabling the customer to be recognised and offered an easy, quick, one-click payment option when shopping with the same retailer online.

The untapped potential is enormous. Recent 451 Research Global Unified Commerce Forecast, commissioned by Adyen, revealed only 25 percent of Australian businesses are currently using social media sites as sales channels. Even fewer (14 percent) offer any form of mobile point-of-sale systems.

Pay your way

As well as offering a seamless and memorable retail experience, investing in providing Chinese consumers with access to the payment methods they desire, when they desire it, is a spend that will pay off in multiples. Recent research from CANCAN revealed sixty-seven percent of Chinese consumers surveyed now use digital wallet services, including Alipay and WeChat Pay, for overseas purchases, believing that it enables them to enjoy a unique blend of both in-store and online shopping experiences.

This presents a massive missed opportunity for Australian retailers. Only 22 percent of Australian retailers surveyed currently offer any form of international payment technologies and 18 percent stated they have no current plans to adopt international payment methods in the foreseeable future.  By accommodating international payments, you are rewarding yourself flexibility to tap into a market who continue to demonstrate a keenness for splurging.

The Chinese consumer is on the rise in Australia like never before. It’s clear that a huge opportunity awaits for those Australian retailers willing to understand and meet their needs.

Michel van Aalten is the Country Manager ANZ of Adyen