Chinavia Toolkit

General Advice for Retailers

Photo: Magnus Larsen Ravn

Read about preferred payment methods, gifts, Chinese zodiac signs and much more, which may be useful information for retailers. 

  • Accept UnionPay, which is the most widely used credit card in China.
  • If possible, accept AliPay and/or WeChat Pay. These are the two biggest Chinese mobile payment systems, which are the preferred methods of payment for most Chinese travelers. 
  • One of the main reasons for many Chinese to go on shopping sprees in Europe is the possibility of tax refunds for their purchases. Make sure that you are a member of a tax refund scheme, as this will allow your Chinese guests, as well as other non-EU residents, to save up to 19%.
  • The Chinese are not typically familiar with Scandinavian brands. Make sure that you tell the story of the brand while emphasizing heritage or high level of craftsmanship of the brand.
  • Offer small, free gifts with each purchase. This will ensure that the customers feel appreciated, and the gifts can be as small as a pen or a key ring with your logo. Small gifts can also be used as sales incentives, for instance by promising the customer a gift, e.g. for each purchase exceeding 400 kroner. 
  • Gifts are an important part of Chinese culture and it is not rare to see Chinese customers purchase several identical items. These are usually presents for friends or business relations. Therefore, prepare an exponential discounting scheme for these types of sales. Read more about how the Chinese indicate price reductions in our article Price reductions and learn more about Chinese gift culture in our China-ready course
  • Chinese holidays propose a great occasion for store discounts and increasing sales. One of the biggest celebrations of the year is Chinese New Year, where we enter a year of one of 12 Chinese zodiacs. If you carry products that relate to the current or coming year’s zodiac, make sure to highlight the product to your Chinese customers. 
  • If possible, provide a resting area for your Chinese customers. They have likely been on sightseeing tours or shopping all day and a quick rest will make them feel welcome. A short rest will also give them time to become familiar with your products and current discounts.
  • Avoid unnecessary jokes when communicating with your Chinese customers. Irony and sarcasm could easily be misunderstood as a lack of respect for the customer.
  • If you experience difficulties communicating with your Chinese customers, please make sure that you see our list of app suggestions, which includes a translation app. 
  • Many Chinese, particularly the older generation, may not be familiar with English or other foreign languages. Try to pick up a few polite phrases, making them feel comfortable as well as showing respect. Click here for a list of tutorial videos.
  • Some Chinese customers may try to interrupt you while serving another customer. To overcome this intercultural pickle, acknowledge their presence in your store and let them know that you, or a colleague, will attend to them shortly. Serving multiple customers simultaneously is customary in Chinese stores and should not be considered rude but rather as a necessity in a country with 1,4 billion people.
  • Finally, consider a cultural training course for your employees. This will help them gain insights into the expectations of the Chinese customers in sales situations, increase cultural understanding and thereby lower possible frustrations. Read more about our China-ready course here