Global coffee chain Starbucks has gained momentum in China, thanks to WeChat pay, as the digital payment now accounts for 29% of all Starbucks transactions, reports Inside Retail Asia.
Belinda Wong, CEO of Starbucks China, revealed the figure during a recent analysts briefing following the release of the company’s second quarter sales data.
“In its first quarter, WeChat Pay has already reached a remarkable 29% of tender and has elevated the Starbucks experience for both customers and partners through its convenience and fast transaction speed,” said Wong.
Sales for China grew 7% in the first quarter of the year, following a strategic partnership with WeChat parent company Tencent, which was launched last December.
“Partner and customer enthusiasm for the Starbucks brand and the momentum in Starbucks China business have never been greater,” she said.
“We saw growth in all categories and dayparts. Beverage, food and digital innovation are laser-focused on operational excellence, and targeted brand investments are attracting new customers into our stores and bringing existing customers in more often.”
“Following on that success, in February this year, we launched social gifting to unprecedented customer demand, partner excitement and social media interest. In only the first seven weeks after launch, over 1.2 million gifts were sent and over half have been redeemed by recipients in our stores.”
A gifting platform, Say it With Starbucks (用星說), not only encourages everyday simple acts of kindness and connection, it is also bringing new customers into Starbucks stores, said Wong.
“This is a great opportunity to further build new and authentic customer connections. We’re only in the very early stages of social gifting in China and the growth opportunity ahead is enormous.”
Starbucks China opened in five new cities in the second quarter taking its network to 2628 stores across 127 cities.
China is the company’s second biggest and fastest growing international market.