The British cosmetics and skin company has partnered with payment processor Wirecard to introduce the Scan Alipay App service at three central London stores – Covent Garden, Oxford Street and Regent Street.
Alipay, which is used by more than 400m Chinese consumers, allows consumers to make simple and secure payments using their mobile phone rather than a bank card.
It differs from Android Pay and Apple Pay in that a customer making a cashless payment with the Alipay App shows the cashier a QR code on their smartphone.
The cashier then enters the amount payable into the Scan Alipay App on a separate device and scans the QR code on the customer’s phone. Payment processing is handled by Wirecard.
The Body Shop launched the Alipay service at the stores on 1 October to coincide with Golden Week, a Chinese national holiday that sees many visitors from the country travel to Europe.
More than 250,000 Chinese tourists visited the UK in 2015 - an increase of 45% on 2014 – and spent a total of $586.22m.
“China’s beauty market is the second biggest in the world. The Body Shop is extremely popular with the global Chinese shopper and accounts for a significant percentage of sales in our major UK stores,” said Simon Cable, UK general manager at The Body Shop.
“We already have Chinese speaking beauty assistants and product translations, so we believe offering the convenience of accepting Alipay will offer a truly holistic experience for the Chinese shopper,” he added.
A chance for Alipay
Jörn Leogrande, executive vice president of mobile services at Wirecard, hopes other British retailers will follow the example set by The Body Shop.
“It’s a great chance for retailers to provide Alipay and to decide afterwards if the leading payment method in China should be integrated in the central till system,” he said.