Lawson, one of the largest convenience store operators in Japan, accepts Alipay at all outlets. This tie-up gives Lawson an advertising boost on Alipay and access to data on Chinese tourists’ shopping preferences.
First mover advantage with Alipay partnership
Lawson has become the first convenience store chain to accept Alipay at all its outlets. With this partnership, Chinese users in Japan who open the mobile app will see the Lawson logo. It will have a click-through button for a map to the nearest outlet and Chinese New Year promotion coupons in this period.
Lawson is the first convenience store to have demographic data on Chinese tourists and their shopping preferences with Alipay. Previously, only duty-free retailers have access to this kind of information as tourists fill up details about their shopping to claim a tax rebate. With this data, Lawson can tailor their products and marketing activities to target Chinese tourists. This is in line with Lawson's strategy to focus more on their consumers.
Alipay, the payment solution offered by ecommerce giant Alibaba, entered Japan in late 2015, and has been supported at some department stores and selected convenience stores. It has over 400 million users and handles more than 50% of all online transactions in China. With this app, payments are settled instantly through bank accounts of shoppers when cashiers scan bar codes on shoppers’ smart phones. Alipay’s tie-up with Lawson is likely triggered by a shift in Chinese tourists’ shopping pattern from big-ticket items like electronics and jewellery to lifestyle and everyday items.