OPERATIONS

Walgreens makes payment easier for Chinese travelers

BY Dan Berthiaume

Visitors to the U.S. from China will have added incentive to shop at Walgreens while they are here.

Walgreens is collaborating with Chinese digital payment platform Alipay to accept mobile Alipay payments at thousands of Walgreens stores across the U.S. There are more than 4 million Chinese travelers in the U.S. at any given time. Alipay serves more than 1 billion users worldwide, and January 2019 data from Nielsen indicates more than two-thirds of Chinese tourists said they used their smartphones to pay while traveling abroad in 2018. Nielsen data also shows that nearly 60% of retailers who have adopted Alipay saw growth in foot traffic and revenue.

“Walgreens is focused on making shopping more convenient for our customers,” said Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of operations. “This collaboration has particular significance for our Chinese customer population, who now has a new way to experience Walgreens. Not only can they buy our products via our dedicated store on Alibaba’s Tmall Global marketplace, but they will now also be able to shop in the U.S. using Alipay as they would in China. We look forward to the ongoing evolution of our partnership with Alibaba Group.”

Alipay is currently available at 3,000 Walgreens stores, including cities where Alipay users travel the most such as New York City, San Francisco and Las Vegas. By April 2019, Alipay’s availability is set to expand to more than 7,000 Walgreens locations across the U.S. Walgreens will be the largest U.S. drugstore chain to deploy Alipay.

“This is a key strategic partnership for achieving awareness in the U.S., as Walgreens is one of the country’s largest drugstore chains,” said Yulei Wang, GM, Alipay North America. “Alipay’s offline, in-store payment service is offered in more than 40 countries and regions, so we are excited to partner with a company that has been trusted across America since 1901, and is constantly evolving to provide more Chinese consumers a seamless and familiar way to pay,”

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