Hong Kong-based luxury products travel retailer DFS Group and Chinese conglomerate Alibaba Group affiliate Ant Group have announced a global strategic cooperation to enhance payments and marketing digitalization across DFS’ network of retail and online stores.

As consumer habits shift towards digital lifestyles, DFS will leverage Alipay+ to offer an end-to-end digital experience, engaging with its customers pre, during and post shopping, across 36 stores in 15 markets, and 12 online shops in 4 markets, the duo said in a statement on Wednesday.

The partnership will see DFS and Ant collaborating on deploying marketing cooperation – increasing visibility of DFS directly within Alipay and Alipay+ partner wallets’ apps and mutually offering more targeted, personalized and relevant rewards for shoppers, including exclusive offers.

Both parties will also integrate Alipay+ as a payment option, allowing cross-border payment acceptance from mobile wallets – enabling travellers from Chinese mainland, Hong Kong SAR, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea and Thailand to simply pay using their home mobile wallet, enjoying greater convenience, security and better foreign exchange rates.

Via Alipay+, DFS will be able to accept cross-border payments from Alipay (Chinese mainland), AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR), Touch ‘n Go eWallet (Malaysia), Kakao Pay (South Korea) and TrueMoney (Thailand).

The duo will also drive online-to-offline experience. It is noted that DFS has launched Alipay+ D-Store within the Alipay app to allow Chinese tourists to shop from DFS at any time, including to reserve their favorite products and collecting them in-store or having them delivered.

Alipay+ D-Store is a digital store solution that provides a suite of toolkits to digitalize merchants’ business, operation and marketing.

DFS and Ant will also offer exclusive #moneycannotbuy experiences as DFS and Alipay are developing innovative membership privileges such as tier-matching, premier foreign exchange rate and projects that provide exclusive in-store experience.

Both parties will also improve post-shopping experience by improving the tax refund experience in DFS stores, so tourists are able to enjoy more convenient and efficient tax refund services.

Tourists can also follow DFS mini-program in Alipay to receive most updated news and benefits anytime at anywhere.

“This alliance with Ant Group is not just about numbers and statistics, it’s about creating a seamless and exceptional experience for travellers and shoppers,” said Long Chiu, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing and Digital Ventures, DFS Group.

According to him, the firm’s commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction will be elevated to new heights through this collaboration.

“With Ant’s expertise and our passion for innovation and providing unforgettable services, there is no doubt that we will achieve remarkable success together,” he added.

Since DFS’ and Ant Group’s partnership in 2014, their cooperation has transformed from Alipay acceptance in Hong Kong SAR, to payment and digital marketing innovation all over the world.

It is noted that in the first half of 2023, spending by Alipay users increase 3 times at DFS stores, compared to the year before.

“We are excited to strengthen our partnership with DFS, evolving to now incorporating more mobile wallets, marketing capabilities and D-Store online-offline integration via Alipay+,” said Dr Cherry Huang, General Manager of Alipay+ Offline Merchant Services, Ant Group.

According to her, DFS is a favorite retail destination amongst tourist right at the beginning and end of their trip, and it believes this partnership will sweeten travellers’ experience.

As travel resumes, she said the firm aims to help more brands cater to these new digital-first habits and drive continued visibility and growth for them.

According to the statement, the expanded partnership comes as global travel resumes.

It said consumers today have greater expectations of digital experiences, driven by the strong adoption of mobile wallets, that will shape travel and retail experience, making it vital for brands to adapt to these new needs.

Through the end of 2023, DFS and Alipay+ will jointly launch the Summer Campaign, the National Day Holiday campaign and also the Christmas and New Year Campaign, that will offer an enhance digital experience to shoppers.

Alipay+ is a suite of global cross-border digital payments and marketing solutions designed to enable businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses, to process a wide range of mobile payment methods and reach 1 billion regional and global consumers, through one-time integration and simple technical adaption.

In addition to payments, Alipay+ also provides a suite of marketing solutions to help merchants reach and engage with consumers.

Established in 1960, DFS a luxury travel retailer under LVMH, offering its customers a curated selection of exceptional products from over 750 of the most desired brands.

Its network consists of 56 stores located in 14 major global airports and 23 downtown Galleria locations on four continents, as well as affiliate and resort locations.

The firm has offices in Australia, Cambodia, China, France, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Macau, New Zealand, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United States of America and Vietnam.

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