It’s no secret that a favorite activity for Chinese travelers abroad is shopping for foreign luxury, cosmetics, and CPG brands without the China price markup. They may be heading to brick-and-mortar duty-free stores, but their purchase journey begins online as half of Chinese travelers use the web to look up duty-free shopping ahead of their trips. L2’s new Cross-Border and Travel Retail Insight Report shows key ways brands are leveraging omnichannel approaches to help Chinese travelers more easily find and purchase their products in travel retail locations.

On-site travel retail information. 

Duty-free stores are the most popular type of retail outlet for Chinese travelers, and some brands are facilitating their pre-trip shopping research by prominently displaying information on where items can be purchased abroad on their Chinese-language websites. For example, Japanese beauty brand SK-II features a duty-free section organized by country on the main navigation bar of its Chinese website. Each individual product page features buttons linking to a map of duty-free stores that sell the item in the selected country and the websites of duty-free retailers carrying the product. 

Online product reservation. 

To take chance out of the equation when it comes to duty-free purchases, several travel retailers are allowing Chinese consumers to reserve or purchase items online before their trip to pick up in-store. L’Oreal Travel Retail Asia Pacific has created travel retail sites for individual brands including Urban Decay and Biotherm that allow for online reservation at duty-free stores, with the exact pick-up locations provided on airport maps.

Take advantage of Chinese mobile payment.

While Chinese payment service UnionPay has become widely adopted at travel retail locations globally to cater to Chinese customers, Chinese mobile payment platforms Alipay and WeChat Pay are the next frontier for retailers. As the Alipay mobile app expands beyond its payment function to serve as a one-stop travel guide for Chinese globetrotters, brands are partnering with the app to offer special promotions such as exclusive discounts when they use Alipay to make the purchase.

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