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Alipay on educating US consumers with a unified payment experience

TheCurrent Innovators: Souheil Badran with Liz Bacelar
TheCurrent Innovators: Souheil Badran with Liz Bacelar

Chinese payments company Alipay is on a mission to wean US consumers off traditional payment behaviours. Creating an integrated experience is at the center of making that happen, Alipay’s president of the Americas, Souheil Badran, explained to Liz Bacelar on the latest episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast.

“So far the whole US market has been so used to credit cards. And when you look at it from a tech perspective all the apps we use are in their own silos. They’re not connected at all,” says Badran, explaining that the Starbucks app is one of the few examples of an integrated experience based around the consumer’s lifestyle.

In order to achieve seamlessness, Badran hopes to see better collaboration with retail in what he calls the Uber experience – when getting from point A to B, the user no longer has to think about the payment aspect of it.

This everyday ease of use is already being achieved in China, where Alipay’s 520 million users have access to over 60 sub-applications integrated under the payment umbrella, creating a lifestyle ecosystem within the digital wallet that includes the ability to do things like pay peers and order a taxi.

But going beyond payments to create a larger sense of loyalty in this way in the US, means educating the consumers out of their comfort zone of just payments, Badran adds. “[Starting with the consumer], what are they looking for? What would make you go from just using your credit card, and what would attract you back to the app on a regular basis?”

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Badran wants to see Alipay reach the same level of interaction in the US, as it has achieved in Asia. Current users check their digital wallets 15-20 times a day, for instance. He hopes US consumers can get to that point, in the same way they already do with their social media channels. This would include creating experience-led features and promotions based on purchase history and other aggregated data, he notes.

Chinese Alipay consumers are also a big market for US retailers, which Badran has been working hard to evangelize on their value. “Back in 2013 when you talked about China in general, people understood the size, but couldn’t quite grasp the value of it. I have seen a tremendous shift over the last 12 months and hopefully it will continue to grow.” To target these users, Alipay is working with retailers in the US and Europe to ensure payment capabilities and promotions that intensify around peak travel seasons, such as Chinese New Year.

For millennial consumers, Alipay helps quickly build user credibility by leveraging data from previous purchases. This means a merchant that accepts the payment service can have visibility of the user’s track record, says Badran. He uses the example of purchasing at a luxury store, where Alipay can potentially extend the shopper’s credit on the fly – unlike a static credit card limit – depending on data such as previous repayments.

At present, over 150,000 merchants in North America accept Alipay as a form of payment. The future looks bright for the mammoth Asian company as it taps into the digital need for always-on convenience, as well as a demand for platforms that enable personalization and experience.

Catch up with all of our episodes of TheCurrent Innovators here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by TheCurrent, a consultancy transforming how consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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business digital snippets e-commerce product social media Startups technology

What you missed: Alibaba’s Singles’ Day record, ASOS try before you buy, unpaid Zara workers

Alibaba on its Singles' Day success, as posted on Twitter: "#Double11 2017: As of 24:00, total GMV has exceeded RMB168.2 billion - more than USD25.3 billion. Mobile GMV: 90%."
Alibaba on its Singles’ Day success, as posted on Twitter: “#Double11 2017: As of 24:00, total GMV has exceeded RMB168.2 billion – more than USD25.3 billion. Mobile GMV: 90%.”

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech industry news over the past week.


TOP STORIES
  • Alibaba’s Singles’ Day goes global with record $25bn in sales [Bloomberg]
  • How Alibaba makes Singles’ Day appealing to luxury brands [Glossy]
  • Will the power of Singles’ Day ever truly capture the West? [The Drum]
  • Alibaba tests 60 futuristic pop-up stores across China for Singles’ Day [Digiday]
  • ASOS launches try before you buy service [TheIndustry]
  • The real story behind those desperate notes that Zara workers left in clothes [Fast Company]

BUSINESS
  • Inside LVMH’s executive reshuffle [BoF]
  • Burberry operating profit jumps 24% in half, boosted by new Coty deal [WWD]
  • Yoox Net-a-Porter Q3 sales jump 17.7% [Fashion United]
  • To reach consumers, Richemont’s new leaders need to embrace digital [BoF]
  • Laying out fashion’s new supply chain vision [CFDA]
  • One of fashion’s most prominent investors is someone you may never have heard of [TheFashionLaw]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • ASOS launches virtual Gift Assistant on Facebook [TheIndustry]
  • Why Maybelline is winning at social media [Glossy]

MARKETING
  • The new marker of luxury is feel-good marketing [QZ]
  • For Nike, augmented reality is the perfect way to sell hyped sneakers [Engadget]
  • Gwen Stefani fronts Westfield’s Christmas campaign [Fashion Network]
  • Cue the reindeer: Kohl’s, Nordstrom launch holiday campaigns [MediaPost]
  • Fruit of the Loom goes totally 80s with comical freeze frame ads for sweatpants [AdWeek]
  • Fashion wakes up to podcasts [BoF]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • The Alibaba warehouse where fake goods go to die [Sixthtone]
  • You can now rent Ann Taylor clothes for a monthly fee [Today]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Amazon’s app now lets you place items inside your home using AR [The Verge]
  • Apple said to be working on AR headset aimed for potential 2020 ship date [TechCrunch]
  • Zalando to open new tech hub in Lisbon [TheIndustry]

PRODUCT
  • Is mass customisation the future of footwear? [WSJ]
  • These 10 brands are killing it on the fabric innovation front [HighSnobiety]
  • Ford just made a trucker hat that uses technology to save truckers’ lives [Fast Company]

START-UPS
  • Glossier, Stitch Fix among most disruptive companies [RetailDive]
Categories
business data digital snippets e-commerce film social media Startups sustainability technology

What you missed: Amazon’s big data ambitions and on-demand textiles, Facebook’s VR, a sustainability deep dive

Amazon's Echo Look
Amazon’s Echo Look

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech industry news over the past fortnight.


TOP STORIES
  • Amazon’s big data fuelled fashion ambitions [TechCrunch]
  • Amazon wins patent for on-demand textile manufacturing [Retail Dive]
  • Facebook launches VR project Facebook Spaces [The Drum]
  • Tech tackles the fitting room [Racked]

BUSINESS
  • LVMH takes control of Christian Dior in $13 billion deal [BoF]
  • Hermès joins trend of accelerating luxury sales growth [Business Insider]
  • Kit and Ace shutters all stores worldwide, except in native Canada [Retail Dive]
  • Retail workers fight to get a cut in the era of e-commerce [Racked]
  • Debenhams unveils its turnaround strategy [The Industry]

SUSTAINABILITY
  • How to cut carbon emissions as e-commerce soars [Bain & Co]
  • Are fashion’s recycling schemes as effective as they seem? [The Fashion Law]
  • Is deadstock the future of sustainable fashion? [Fashionista]
  • The myth of closed-loop manufacturing [Glossy]
  • How much has actually changed 4 years on from the Rana Plaza collapse? [Refinery29]
  • Why is fashion still sleeping on all-natural dyes? [Fashionista]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • How brands are finally cashing in on social with shoppable Instagram Stories and Snapchat ads [AdWeek]
  • Why does the term ‘influencer’ feel so gross? [Man Repeller]
  • Rue21, mode-ai launch virtual stylist with Facebook Messenger group feature [Retail Dive]

MARKETING
  • The state of data strategy in fashion and retail [Glossy]
  • Do podcasts make you wanna shop? [Racked]
  • John Lewis unveils experiential National Treasures summer campaign [The Industry]
  • Mytheresa.com teams with Miu Miu on capsule, fashion film [WWD]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Macy’s and the survival of retailing [Bloomberg]
  • Why retailers are trying on showrooms [Retail Dive]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Amazon builds team for autonomous vehicle technology [AutoNews]
  • Burt’s Nature showcases the Burt of Burt’s Bees in VR [The Drum]
  • Estée Lauder’s augmented reality efforts focus on Europe [L2]

START-UPS
  • Walmart’s tech incubator hires co-founder of Rent the Runway [Bloomberg]