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GNC steps up online payment options for Chinese customers


A wellness retailer is making is easier for its Chinese shoppers to make online purchases.

By partnering with Alipay, GNC Holdings is enabling all registered users of the payment platform in China to purchase vitamins, supplements, minerals, herbs, sports nutrition, diet, and energy products on its e-commerce site. Besides being a leading online payment provider in China, Alipay has 520 million registered users that access the platform to make online and mobile payments.

The partnership is part of GNC’s ongoing effort to support growing demand among Chinese customers for health and nutritional products sourced from the United States. Besides the country becoming more health conscious, demand is on the upswing since Chinese customers trust the authenticity and quality of U.S.-based merchandise. These two factors are contributing to a growing market among China’s vitamins and dietary-supplements, a segment that is expected to increase to $28.7 billion by 2021, according to Euromonitor International Ltd.

The move is also expected to contribute to GNC’s climbing online transaction growth. Despite these gains however, GNC’s same-store sales (which include slipped 0.9% in domestic company-owned stores for the second quarter ended June 30.

Yet, GNC’s interim CEO, Bob Moran remains bullish on the company’s online efforts.

“For the second quarter in a row, we saw meaningful transaction growth, improvement in our business and increased enrollment in our loyalty programs,” he added. “We believe this business is headed in the right direction, and we remain focused on execution and sales growth.”

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