WeChat is without a doubt the app where Chinese people spend most of their time. It has more than 1.2 billion monthly active users, 20 million official accounts, more than 1 million mini-programs, and about 400 million daily active users of mini-programs. In 2020, it has been used by 53% of men and 47% of women. Tencent continues its gradual move into e-commerce notably with its WeChat eCommerce features with new search and marketing features with the aim to help brands reach consumers on its giant messaging app, WeChat.
What is WeChat?
WeChat is a messaging app, which provides text messaging, voice messaging, broadcast (one-to-many) messaging, video calls and conferencing, video games, photograph and video sharing, as well as location sharing.
It is also a social media platform thanks to its WeChat Moment, which allows users to post images, text, and short videos. Users can share and get access to accepted WeChat friend information, creating an intimate and private communicating circle within the user choice of close friends.
If you are not familiar with the WeChat business we invite you to have a look at our Wechat Marketing Guide. In there we introduce you the the must known about the app but also its business and marketing tools for companies.
Wechat Tools you already know: Review the basics
WeChat is an essential means of doing business with China. In fact, it offers companies the opportunity to open official accounts to interact with their followers, a “one-to-one” service by sending direct messages, newsletters, and promotions.
But opening an official WeChat account is not a simple path. In fact, a series of certifications and documents are needed, including the Chinese Business License, and the process is quite long, ranging from 3 to 4 months.
Foreign brands must register to have an official account on WeChat to look legit and trustworthy in the eyes of Chinese consumers. There are three types of accounts. We suggest you subscribe to a service account. The service account appears in the contacts list of the user in blue. It allows you to send four push notifications every month. It is more complete because it offers extra services like the geolocalization of users, the best visibility, e-commerce, and multiple Qr codes.
Let us see together WeChat marketing’s functions.
- WeChat Live Streaming
WeChat users can implement live streaming on their official accounts. These are live shows in which you can tell about the products on sale, and you can interact with users who can make purchases from the video directly with a click. To use this feature, you need to register a Tencent Live account and link it to your WeChat account.
- WeChat Channels
It is a function launched in early 2020, which allows you to publish short videos, similar to those in Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok), which can be viewed by anyone, not just by your followers. This is a way for WeChat to create a more open environment and to allow users to discover more content.
- WeChat Mini-programs
It is one of the main functions of WeChat. They are apps inside the main App (WeChat). They provide services such as e-commerce, task management, gaming, or coupons.
The e-commerce function remains the most used. The difference between a mini-program and a WeChat Store is that the former is an “App within the App”, while the latter is an online store optimized for WeChat. WeChat mini-programs only work within the application, while a web-based WeChat Store can also work on other platforms such as Weibo or Douban.
Mini-program developers have added an option to enable the sharing of mini-programs on WeChat Moments.
- WeChat Wow
It is a feature that helps make your content go viral. If the reader of an article clicks on the Wow button, the article will appear in its Top Stories section and his friends will be able to see it and read the comments to the article. For brands, it is an opportunity to further expand their audience.
- WeChat store
With social media and service functions performed by this platform, Wechat’s core business today is shifting towards e-commerce.
WeChat has become an electronic wallet for users all over the world. WeChat incorporates its own billing system and the e-wallet function, linked to Chinese bank accounts, where users can pay with a one-click payment, this has vastly increased the quality of the users’ experience. This experience can lead to a significant sales conversion rate.
These shops enable users to simply access products through their mobile devices with convenient payment options. When buyers access your WeChat shop that is connected to your WeChat public account, you provide them with an opportunity that integrates your products with this social framework. It allows customers to contact you via WeChat customer service. Communication can be done by either speaking or writing to a WeChat public account.
Your WeChat shop helps you to keep your users constantly informed about the latest promotions and maintain your brand engagement with them.
Opening a WeChat store can be complex if you are from outside of China and it is recommended to use a specialist agency. Here is the process to follow:
- Upload your products: This user-friendly interface makes it easy for users to upload their product information, pictures, and discounts.
- Get your unique QR code: A User is provided with a QR code, which is simply printed and kept in the mobile store, or uploaded to your website. Chinese customers will scan this code to follow you via WeChat.
- Receive orders from your Chinese clients: Chinese clients will continue to order products from your online store with their smartphone, via WeChat.
Wechat New tools you Need to Know about
The enterprise communication app called Wechat Work now has 250 million registered users as more and more brands use the app for customer relationship management (CRM).
WeChat Work allows brands and their associates to manage customer relationships by creating and engaging with their private customer team. At the same time, consumers using Wechat Work are connected to the company’s CRM databases, allowing brands to have a direct connection with customers without the need for a sales representative intermediary. The app also offers digital data analytics tools
CRM is a great tool to communicate with your followers/customers in the place of a newsletter. A well-set Wechat CRM answers automatically any questions your followers may have and welcomes new followers.
You don’t lose time doing it, and it increases your trust level with followers.
- The hashtag feature
After Tencent’s acquisition of Sougou, one of the Chinese search engines, the search feature has been placed within chat windows. In addition to in-app search, WeChat released in mid-November 2020 a hashtag feature, which redirects users either from a chat window or from a Wechat Moment post to the hashtagged topic for more information.
Hashtags can refer also to content in Wechat Channels.
Tencent’s annual report showed that gross merchandise volume, GMV, booked through Wechat mini-programs reached RMB 800 billion in 2019, making WeChat the fourth largest online platform in terms of GMV, following Alibaba, Pinduoduo, and JD.com.
Tencent is a giant in the social and gaming sectors but had difficulties with e-commerce. It had unsuccessful e-commerce partnerships, including Paipai and Yixun, before the company decided to hold equity in JD.com and Pinduoduo.
Besides difficulties, Wechat stores could work as an e-commerce option that provides a different and innovative shopping experience for brands.
Having a store in WeChat is not enough. It is important to work on the brand’s e-reputation and on visibility, especially because in WeChat it is hard to get views.
Wechat is great but prefere on Omni-channel strategy:
- Be present on Baidu with an official website in Chinese;
- Combine a good Seo &Sem strategy to appear among the first results;
- Invest in link building and PR;
- Have an official account on Weibo to increase brand awareness. Weibo is an open social media so it is easier to have a larger community here.
Do you want to sell on WeChat? Contact us, we will help you in all the processes, from opening an official account to developing a WeChat store.
Gentlemen Marketing Agency is a Digital Marketing Agency, an expert in helping foreign companies to establish or strengthen their position in China. We are a growing team of 75 marketers with a passion for China and digital marketing.
Contact us to discuss your project.