Walgreens will implement Alipay across 7,000 U.S. locations by April 2019, enabling Chinese consumers visiting the U.S. to use the payments platform. 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, according to a company statement.
In September 2018, Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) made its first move into China’s consumer market by launching a flagship store on Alibaba Group’s dedicated cross-border e-Commerce platform, Tmall Global. The direct-to-consumer channel added to a wholesale and retail pharmacy business that WBA had already been operating in China.
The Alipay collaboration will enable Walgreens to further meet the needs of more than four million Chinese travelers who are in the U.S at any given time. Walgreens will be the largest U.S. drugstore chain to deploy Alipay, providing Alipay users with potential economic savings as credit cards typically have a higher foreign transaction fee.
Major North American retailers such as Sephora and 7-Eleven already have implemented Alipay on a smaller scale, and have experienced major benefits from the platform. Sephora launched the payments platform in 11 Canadian stores in fall 2018, running a joint promotion over the 2018 holiday season. After running the promotion — 10% off all purchases of more than $150 made through the Alipay app — the average transaction value from users that claimed the benefit increased by nearly 90%.
In November 2018, 7-Eleven implemented Alipay and WeChat Pay mobile payment services for Chinese customers traveling in Canada, making it the first convenience store to accept these platforms in the market. Earlier in the year, Guess added the payment option, enabling travelers to use their Alipay Mobile Wallet when making purchases at more than 50 Guess stores across the U.S.
Nearly 60% of retailers saw growth in both foot traffic and revenue after adopting Alipay, according to a recent Nielsen report.These retailers gain the ability to market to Chinese tourists before, during and after their visits through Alipay’s geolocation-based “Discover” function and push notifications within the app. Traveling shoppers can use the app to search for local stores, receive promotional information and make purchasing decisions.