We live in a global world where traveling is possible for every place on the planet.
Since we all different, it’s important to understand how different cultures think. We behave differently, think differently and believe in different things.
Diversity is the key
Just four decades ago, few Chinese citizens traveled abroad. But in the past years, Chinese travelers have become the largest and fastest-growing group of spenders in the world.
“Travel allows me to broaden my horizons while offering me a chance to experience other people’s lifestyles and learn about different cultures.”
“As the standard of living improves and our material needs are met, people will begin to focus on their emotional needs. After all, we only live once, and the world is so big, so we want to meet different people, to see different things and enjoy different lifestyles.” Mrs. Ding, 28, Shanghai Source
How people spend? How do they pay? Well, different cultures behave differently and pay differently. My challenge was to study how Chinese travelers shop abroad and how we can build SafeCharge Point of Sale app tailor-made for their needs.
Global travelers use their smartphones as a wallet for shopping. As a matter of fact, 90% of Chinese mobile payments are processed via WeChat Pay or Alipay. Current market outside China barely support these payment methods, which limit Chinese travelers to buy abroad. My main challenge was to design SafeCharge Point of Sale app and support these new generation payment methods for Chinese travelers when they shop abroad.
First thing first was to understand the Chinese world and their payment culture, which is slightly different from what I know.
According to Outbound Chinese Tourism and Consumption Trends source
Chinese tourists primarily use mobile payments for shopping dining and visits to tourist attractions when traveling overseas.
Shopping is where Chinese tourists use mobile payments the most. 63% of the Chinese respondents said they have used mobile payments for shopping, and 76% hoped that they could use mobile payment for shopping during their overseas travels in the future.
Since travel became an important part of Chinese culture it’s important to build the best possible user experience for them while creating a payment app that will serve their needs abroad.
Shopping is an important part of overseas travel, particularly for Chinese tourists. Chinese tourists often like to visit duty-free shops, department stores, luxury boutiques, and tend to purchase mostly clothing, shoes,
handbags, and other accessories and consumer goods. The amount spent on these goods is often relatively high.
“I feel warm when seeing Alipay and Wechat Pay, things we are familiar with in Chengdu, available overseas. It’s amazing that they offer services overseas.” Ms. Deng, 32, Chengdu Source
“Chinese mobile payments will become more popular. Seeing the logo of Alipay or WeChat Pay and knowing that they are accepted in some stores abroad, we feel very comfortable. I am very proud of Chinese innovation and feel that the world is accepting it.” Ms. Yang, 30, Shanghai Source
While working closely with different stakeholders, my role was to create the best user experience possible for SafeCharge Point of Sale app which integrates WeChat and Alipay payment methods into SafeCharge Point of Sale system.
My main audience were sellers in the retail shops in Europe that can start accepting QR code payments via WeChat or Alipay and provide this solution for Chinese tourists.
The challenge was to create a simple user flow that process payments in an easy way for both sellers and shoppers and meeting expectations from both sides.
Once the app was done we managed to run usability sessions with the relevant users and take notes for improvement. While the flow was easy to understand and the user experience was smooth there was some confusion regarding decimal separator due to culture differences. Some of the countries use a comma and some a point.
For example, the majority of European countries use the decimal comma. Among them are Spain, France, Norway, the Czech Republic, Denmark, and more. However, it’s important to note that the United Kingdom is an exception because they tend to follow the Imperial System, which uses the decimal point.
On the other side different countries in Asia use different decimal separators, sometimes within the same country! The decimal point is generally used in countries such as China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, The Philippines, etc. Some others use the decimal comma, as is the case in Indonesia and Mongolia. Source
So, it’s important to understand the differences between the countries and make sure the end- user is not confused regarding the price due to such differences.
It was a great experience for me to design such an app and learn more about the Chinese market and their payment experience.
Thanks for reading!