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Alipay: Shopping the mobile way

Article published
5.4.2017 at 06:00
Known as the shortest and smoothest way to travel between Europe and Asia, Helsinki Airport has now introduced a payment system targeted at one of its most significant passenger segments, the Chinese travellers.

As published back in January, Helsinki Airport was one of the first airports in Europe to introduce the Chinese mobile pay platform, Alipay. 

Since the launch of the platform, Helsinki Airport has further strengthened its collective position as a preferred destination for passengers travelling from Europe to Asia, and vice versa. The commercial value of Chinese customers was one of the major deal breakers for retailers operating at Helsinki Airport to implement Alipay.  

When a customer can use a familiar payment method, the decision-making in regards to buying something is made much easier.

“Chinese passengers are a very important passenger group for us from a commercial point of view and the variation in their purchase value is significant. When a customer can use a familiar payment method, the decision-making in regards to buying something is made much easier,” says Milla Suonoja, Commercial Manager, Duty Free and Retail at Finavia, the Finnish Airport Operator.  

Alipay has proven to be very easy to use. The operators at Helsinki Airport who have the service in place have reported that the number of transactions via the platform is increasing monthly. 

 “We have a Helsinki Airport banner in the application itself, which explains our offering at the airport and specifies which stores accept Alipay,” Suonoja continues. 

Finavia is looking to expand the accessibility of Alipay together with its partners, specifically targeting Finnish airports with a volume of Chinese customers.  

“We are working with our partners on this to expand the platform to those airports where the portion of Chinese passengers is growing,” notes Katja Siberg, Vice President, Marketing and Business Development at Finavia.  

Soon, this will also include airports in northern Finland. 

Despite not yet being a trend in Europe, Google’s Android Pay application, launched in 2015, is slowly paving the way for mobile pay in Europe and North America. The American tech giant took mobile payment a step further last year, when it launched a trial of their “Hands Free” app, in which a customer simply needs to declare “I’ll pay with Google” and provide their initials, which the cashier runs through a system and confirms the customers identity.  

It will be intriguing to see how far mobile pay will go in terms of its hands-free aspect. There is no doubt that airports will be some of the first locations to witness and experience this change.  

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