COFFEE FRANCHISE EMBRACES CHINESE SOCIAL MEDIA
29 August 2018 – Columbus Coffee is using the Chinese WeChat app to reach new customers and offer new payment options. There’s also a WeChat group for its franchisees.
The Columbus Coffee franchise has launched a new social marketing programme on the WeChat platform, which has over 1 billion active daily users according to the BBC. At the same time, it has introduced an internal WeChat group for its franchisees and is rolling out WeChat Pay and AliPay to selected cafés around New Zealand. The initiative is based on the popularity of this payment method internationally and has been launched in preparation for the Year of Tourism 2019.
For the last few years, China has been New Zealand’s fastest-growing visitor market. There were 449,000 Chinese visitor arrivals in the year ended June 2018. and current predictions are for Chinese visitor numbers to more than double from 2017 to 2023, to around 913,000 visitors spending more than $4.3 billion annually.
WeChat has started to gain a stronger presence in the tourism industry in New Zealand with a small number of national retailers also using the app. However, Columbus Coffee is one of the first national hospitality brands to become involved.
Columbus Coffee’s Group Brand & Marketing Manager, Anna Walker, says, ‘We’re excited to be the first national café group in New Zealand to be launching with WeChat and see it as a critical step in supporting a rapidly growing domestic and international visitor customer base, particularly ahead of the Year of Tourism next year.
‘Reliance on traditional methods to reach Chinese audiences ignores the hard facts around the importance of WeChat as a means of engagement and supporting the customer experience. WeChat is the most popular form of social media used by Chinese visitors and migrants to New Zealand, and this is a good way for us to let them know about the Kiwi café experience we offer throughout the country.
‘Use of technology to support the customer experience is a big focus of Columbus Coffee’s business. Our digital Columbus Rewards programme, a finalist in this year’s UK Loyalty Magazine awards, has amassed over 260,000 members, and mobile ordering and pre-pay of beverages launches nationally in the coming months.’
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