Chinese tourist shoppers are set to spend $3 billion in Australia this year but the country’s retailers aren’t dedicating adequate resources to wooing them, according to new research from consultancy Cross Border Management.
While Australian retailers do put on special events for Chinese New Year, they are largely missing out on other key shopping seasons for Chinese travelers, namely the July and August period and Christmas.
“Unfortunately, this flood of Chinese money garners little attention from Australian retailers,” wrote researchers CT Johnson and Wu Shuya. They said the country’s store managers lament that they don’t understand what Chinese tourists want and they don’t know how to reach out to them to grab their attention.
“Because competition is so low, the few Australian businesses that do address Chinese tourist shoppers are likely to derive significant sales volumes from them,” they said.
Cross Border stressed that addressing Chinese shoppers’ needs can be surprisingly easy and relatively inexpensive. It mainly comes down to Chinese-language resources and the presence of fellow Chinese shoppers, the researchers said. Retailers and tourist-oriented businesses should provide signage in Chinese and Chinese-speaking staff. They should also ramp up their output of information about themselves in Chinese, both online and via social media, they said.
Retailers should consider setting up a Chinese-language web site as well as Weibo and WeChat accounts to channel their message to consumers. They might also develop a Chinese phone app or partner with a Chinese tourist web site, they suggested.
“The number-one thing Chinese tourists want from Australian retailers is Chinese-language signage; the number-one thing they want from Australian restaurants is a menu that shows them pictures of the dishes. These are needs that can be met for a few hundred dollars,” the researchers wrote.