Manchester Uni helps Selfridges translate to Chinese tourists

THE Exchange Square branch of Selfridges in Manchester is working with the University of Manchester to help its staff better understand the customs of its Chinese tourists.

The university’s Confucius Institute has worked with the luxury department store to create a bespoke programme to familiarise Selfridges floor staff with some of the key shopping habits and customs of an increasing number of Chinese shoppers at the store.

Staff are learning basic language elements, including how to greet customers in Mandarin and ask them if they need help. They are also learning about elements of Chinese culture, to help give them some context for understanding different consumer behaviours.

Jane Sharrocks, general manager of Selfridges, said: “We attract a broad range of shoppers and in particular we have noticed an increasing number of Chinese visitors to the store – many of whom are students based in and around Manchester or tourists. 

“We want to ensure they have the best possible shopping experience with us so we are reaching out to them by speaking to them in their own language and respecting their cultural traditions around shopping. 

“We are so fortunate to have such experts based here in Manchester in the form of the team at the Confucius Institute. The training undertaken so far has enabled us to deliver an enhanced customer experience for our Chinese friends.”  

The Confucius Institute works within communities to increase awareness and understanding of contemporary Chinese culture.

Karen Wang, deputy director of the Confucius Institute, said: “We are delighted to be working with Selfridges, one of Manchester’s most prominent high street retailers, in promoting a greater understanding of Chinese culture and behaviour in a way that will improve the day-to-day experiences of both Selfridges staff and Chinese shoppers. We hope more businesses will follow suit as China and Chinese consumers offer new business opportunities to the UK.”

Training was delivered by Chinese language tutor Lucy Wang from the Institute and lecturers from Manchester Business School.  Gary Davies, director of the reputation, brand and competitiveness research group and Katherine Chang, assistant professor in marketing with a special interest in luxury brands and Chinese consumer behaviour, created the course.

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