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THREE WAYS TO WIN SHOPPERS DURING CHINESE NEW YEAR (AND BEYOND)

shoppers

By Myles Dawson, Managing Director, Adyen UK

For us in the West, New Year feels like a distant memory. But, while we’re in the midst of ‘Dry Veganuary’, celebrations in China are just about to kick off.

It’s a peak travel season with a growing number of tourists coming to the UK. In fact, flight arrivals from China between September and November were 23% higher than the same period last year.  And, these visitors are willing to spend. From January to March 2018, visitors spent a record £123 million in the UK, on average £1,680 per visit – almost three times the market average.

That’s a huge opportunity for retailers who are looking for ways to push up profits and increase in-store footfall. But amazingly, our research reveals that only 43% of retail and hospitality businesses believe that Chinese consumers in the UK are an important target audience – evidence that some retailers are missing a trick.

If you are interested in tapping into this opportunity, it’s important to understand how to effectively target Chinese consumers. Back in the day, it was easy; you simply had to partner with tour operators for busloads of Chinese tourists to be delivered to your door. But these days, Chinese travellers are more independent and more discerning. They make their own travel arrangements and rely on recommendations from friends, family, and social media.

shoppers

Myles Dawson

The key to successfully targeting Chinese shoppers in the UK can be broken down into three parts:

1. Entice shoppers through social media

Months before visiting the UK, Chinese consumers begin their research on brands. So communication must begin well in advance of departure. And, to get it right, you’ll need to understand your audience, their journey, and the platforms they’re using.

We all know about Millennials and Gen X. But in China, demographics are much more granular. You’ve got Post-80s (those early initiators of Chinese consumerism); Post-90s (luxury enthusiasts); Post-95s (social media shoppers); and Post-00s (less impressed by mainstream brands). These demographics are active on different social media platforms, from WeChat to Weibo to QQ. So, each segment needs a tailored strategy targeted via different channels.

This might sound complicated, but it’s worth the effort; up to 70% of China’s younger consumers prefer to buy products through social media channels. And don’t forget the all-powerful social media influencers or Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs). They have millions of followers and can make and break a brand with their reviews. They also have fantastic customer insights and can be an invaluable asset.

2. Excite shoppers with great in-store experiences

Chinese shoppers have travelled a long way and are looking for products that will stand out back home. Bespoke items are popular as are limited editions. And in this selfie age, a branded backdrop in your store can be a sure-fire way of making it onto people’s newsfeeds.

Mobile is also an important consideration. China remains the global leader in mobile payments, accounting for 60% of the worldwide user base. And the use of QR codes to make purchases is universal; codes can be found on everything from vending machines, to print and outdoor media, in-store items, and menus. Consumers can even use their smartphones to virtually queue for busy restaurants. eMarketer predicts that by 2021, 79.3% of smartphone users in China will be scanning, swiping, and tapping to make a payment.

All this helps to streamline the purchase process. Chinese shoppers in the UK expect the same convenience, which leads us neatly on to the Golden Triangle of Chinese payment methods.

Alipay

With over one billion users and counting, Alipay is the leading payments and lifestyle platform for Chinese shoppers in Europe. It also offers a range of free marketing tools. For example, you can send push notifications to all Alipay users within 200 meters of your store.

UnionPay

The world’s largest card scheme, UnionPay covers almost 80% of the payment share in China and is popular for making high-value purchases.

WeChat Pay

The social platform WeChat is so ingrained into the lives of its users that someone who loses their smartphone in China is likely to say: ‘I’ve lost my WeChat.’ It’s also an advertising channel where retailers can display brand information and communicate with shoppers. It’s committed to expanding its footprint across Europe and we’re seeing some interesting developments as it ramps up competition in the region.

It’s good to give the Chinese consumer the choice to pay with their preferred payment method at any given time, so it’s best to offer all three.

3. Engage with shoppers long after the sale

If you know when and how to target your customers, you’ll continue selling to them when they return home. A good place to start is Ctrip. It’s an online travel agency-come-social platform where returning tourists can write reviews and share experiences. Ctrip’s latest program, Trip Moments, encourages tourists to upload photos and videos from both inside and outside stores. Ctrip then links the photos to your official store page. Other popular review platforms are Dianping, (Chinese TripAdvisor), Zhihu (Chinese Quora), and Mafengwo (online travel agency).

And of course, timing is everything. Chinese New Year is a great opportunity to boost your marketing efforts. But it doesn’t stop there. There are more than 80 calendar events you could potentially campaign around, meaning the opportunity for attracting, engaging with, and selling to Chinese shoppers is year-long.

Business

STOP THE CONFUSION: HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR BUSINESS MAY BE INSURED AGAINST COVID-19

COVID-19

By Alex Balcombe, Partner at Harris Balcombe

 

The last few weeks has seen businesses in hospitality, tourism, retail, leisure and more forced to close their doors following the Government’s orders that they should close to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

While this is expected to flatten the curve and reduce the number of coronavirus cases, it will of course have an impact on businesses and employees alike.  For small businesses especially, there are many concerns about how they can claim on their insurance to weigh the fall of this impact.

 

Mixed Messaging

In response to calls to help struggling businesses, the Government has informed the public that companies who are facing turmoil will be able to claim on their business interruption insurance during this difficult time. For most, this is wrong.

Alex Balcombe

The insurance industry has also been extremely vocal that there is no cover for any coronavirus-hit businesses during this tough financial period. This isn’t strictly true either.

How can businesses see through the mixed messaging and best secure their future and their livelihoods and reduce money worries? It’s an extremely stressful time for many companies, and confusion over whether or not they can be covered can only cause more unnecessary stress.

Since it’s a new disease, most businesses will not be covered for business interruption due to COVID-19. In fact, the vast majority of policies do not cover anything related to COVID-19.

That said –  don’t rule out the idea that you may be covered. There is a chance that you will be covered against COVID-19, but not know it. This is a very small chance, but your current cover may already protect your business against the consequences of coronavirus, and the nationwide response to it –  though those with this cover are unlikely to realise it.

 

How Could I Be Covered?

Not everyone has business interruption insurance, as it’s not a legal requirement. It is entirely up to the policy holder to weigh up the benefits of having it, and their ability to trade should a disaster happen.

To be considered for cover for COVID-19, there are two types of policy extensions to your business interruption cover that can potentially cover you for this situation:

Infectious Disease Extension 

Many policies expressly state which diseases fall within the realm of being an infectious or notifiable disease. If this is the case, your policy will not provide cover. As it is a new disease, these policies will not have included COVID-19.

Other infectious disease extension policies will define the disease with reference to the actions of the government. Since the UK Government has named COVID-19 as a notifiable disease throughout the UK, it is possible that your business may fall into this definition, thus meaning you may be able to make a claim.

However, again, it’s not always that simple. Many policies require the disease to have been on your premises, while others specify a radius from your premises in order to qualify.

 

Denial of Access Extension (non-damage)

Denial of Access Extension (non-damage) policies may cover you if you’re prevented from accessing your property. This could be due to an event, or by the actions of a competent authority, which could cause your business interruption cover to engage.

If covered by this clause, there are often very subtle differences in wording in your policy. This could depend on the insurer or policy. You may well be covered, but it will depend on your particular circumstances, and the specific policy wording.

 

What now?

It’s clear that the Government needs to do more in ensuring there is clear messaging for businesses, and to help the insurance market look after policy holders. This is an unprecedented situation, and with many people looking to claim on their insurance, we’re already seeing major delays which could have a domino impact.

People throughout the world are understandably facing all kinds of worries because of the current pandemic. Our ways of living have changed, and many business owners will not have experienced a situation like this in their life times. If you own a business and are unsure about whether you can claim for business interruption, or are confused about ambiguous wording, get in touch with a loss assessor.

These claims are not simple, but loss assessors will be experts in business interruption insurance, and will specialise in large and complex claims. They will be able to help and guide you along the way, check your wording and work on your behalf to make sure you get everything you are entitled to.

 

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Business

HARNESSING ANALYTICS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST FRAUD

ANALYTICS

By Anna Lykourina, EMEA Fraud Analytics Expert at SAS

 

In the past, the fight against fraud has been a bit hit-and-miss. It has relied on auditors to identify patterns of behaviour that just didn’t quite fit. They often only detected problems months after the event. And then organisations had to claw back stolen funds through legal processes.

In a world where transactions happen in under a second, however, this is no longer acceptable. We need to be able to detect fraud immediately, if not before it happens. Customers want safe and protected data that is not vulnerable to identity theft through company systems. But they still want to be able to pay online and in seconds. The stakes are high, but fortunately new tools and techniques in fraud analytics are enabling companies to stay ahead of fraud.

 

Trusting machines to do the work

Machines are much better than humans at processing large data sets. They are able to examine large numbers of transactions and recognise thousands of fraud patterns instead of the few captured by creating rules. On the other hand, fraudsters have become adept at finding loopholes. Whatever rules you set, it is likely that they will be able to get ahead of them. But what if your system was able to think for itself, at least to a certain extent?

New approaches to fraud prevention combine rules-based systems with machine learning and artificial intelligence-based fraud detection systems. These hybrid systems are able to detect and recognise thousands of fraud patterns and learn from the data. Automated analytical-based fraud detection systems can reveal novel fraud patterns and identify organised crime more consistently, efficiently and quickly. This makes them a good investment for businesses across a wide range of sectors, including public sector, insurance, banking, and even healthcare or telecommunications.

How, though, can you harness analytics as a tool in your fight against fraud?

 

Identifying needs and solutions

The first step is to identify which options you need. Probably the best way to do this is through a series of company-wide workshops with the fraud analytics experts to determine what analytics you need, which data to include and techniques to use, and what results to report. They can also identify the ideal combination of rules-based and AI/ML approaches to detect fraud as early as possible.

Companies looking towards advanced analytics for fraud detection will need to make a number of decisions. They will need to optimise existing scenario threshold tuning, explore big data, develop and interpret machine learning models for fraud, discover relevant information in text data, and prioritise and auto-route alerts. There may be industry-specific decisions to make, too, such as automating damage analysis through image recognition in the insurance sector. By automating these areas, companies can both significantly reduce human effort – reducing costs – and improve their fraud detection and prevention.

 

Benefits of an analytical approach to fraud detection and prevention

Companies that are already using an analytical approach for fraud prevention have reported several important benefits. First, the quality of referrals for further investigation is better. Investigators also have a much clearer idea of why the referral has been made, which improves the efficiency of investigation. Analytics also improves investigation efficiency by reducing the number of both false positives (that is, alerts that turn out not to be fraud) and false negatives (failure to spot actual frauds). This improves customer experience and reduces risk to the company.

Analytics makes it possible to uncover complex or organised fraud that rules-based systems would miss. Companies can group together customers and accounts with similar behaviors, and then set risk-based thresholds appropriate for each scenario.

There are several sector-specific benefits too. For example, insurance firms can identify fraudulent claims faster to prevent improper payments from going out. Claims investigation is likely to be more consistent because claims are scored through technology, algorithms and analytics, rather than by people. Finally, it becomes possible to shorten the claims process through automated damage analysis. It is no wonder that organizations across a wide range of sectors are placing analytics at the heart of their anti-fraud strategy.

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