Bridger-Berkeley says the business, which turns over more than $1 million a year, is predicting the tech will boost sales from tourists by as much as 25 per cent and will save staff time in a busy marketplace where ordering efficiency is key.
“It’s definitely going to, even if just the angle of informing customers [of our offer] before they come down,” he says.
Alipay is launching the offer in Australia in a partnership with travel app maker HarkHark.
ANZ general manager of Alipay, George Lawson, believes app-first ordering is likely to become more mainstream, both for tourists and everyday shoppers.
“It provides so much convenience and it provides business benefits because people are on the mobile all the time. I am firmly of the view that applications like this will push more and more activity onto the mobile,” he says.
Australian businesses on the Alipay platform will be able to access the system, with providers including Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank letting businesses process Alipay payments through their terminals.
Processing fees will depend on each company’s agreement with their bank or financial institution.
China is Australia’s largest inbound tourism market, with 1.4 million travellers spending $11.7 billion here last year, according to Tourism Australia.
Alipay says it has one billion user “wallets” on its platform globally, while 68 per cent of Chinese tourists it surveyed with Nielsen said they would pay via mobile when visiting Australia and New Zealand.
Mobile ordering boom
Touch screen and mobile ordering is nothing new in Australia and there are a range of companies offering digital ordering systems to hospitality businesses.
As mobile-first food delivery services continue to boom, the idea of ordering food without the need for human customer service is also becoming second-nature for Australian consumers.
Australian shoppers are also increasingly keen to pay directly via phones in their daily lives: one in eight now pays for at least one purchase a day via mobile, according to retail management consultancy Neto’s 2018 e-commerce report.
Emma is the small business reporter for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald based in Melbourne.