Welcome to the Wechat Empire
China is the most connected country in the world. On average, Chinese users spend 3 hours a day on their smartphone to check their favorite platforms. So it’s no wonder that e-commerce is so successful in China and why Wechat is heading toward this direction.
Chinese consumers no longer have to waste time shopping in overcrowded shops where the music is too loud, the scents are heady and all the products are not available. They all favor online commerce. It is a much more practical and fast solution. You can sit in front of your computer and order everything you need, often staying on the same e-commerce platform. You have more choices, very regularly promotions and the delivery service is fast. What more ?
The giants of e-commerce in China, Tmall and Taobao, JD leave little respite to their competitors who are mostly crushed by the hegemony of Tmall and Taobao. But that was not counting the arrival of Wechat.
THE WECHAT EMPIRE
Wechat is first and foremost an instant messaging application that allows you to communicate with your loved ones or work relationships around the world.
It’s such a fast and convenient application that many companies prefer to use Wechat to communicate over regular emails. In China, no less than 70 messages are sent per day and per person.
The application was able to show insight by adapting its features to user demand.
So today, Wechat is very far from being just an instant messaging platform.
You can now play games, listen to music, watch videos, follow general news, your friends, or brands.
You can also order food, a taxi, a repairman, pay in shop by scanning a QR code.
And of course, the application – seeing the increased online shopping demand – has developed its own e-commerce platform available on the app.
WECHAT: THE NEW E-COMMERCE PLATFORM
More than 200 million users have linked their credit card to their Wechat account.
Users spend on average 500 RMB (€ 64) a month on the Wechat pay platform.
It has become inevitable for any brand wishing to do business in China to be present on Wechat.
Because if current sales are not as high as on Taobao or Tmall, the numbers are rising and Wechat’s resources seem inexhaustible when it comes to challenging competitors.
ONLINE WECHAT SHOP: 3 SOLUTIONS FOR YOU
If you wish to be present on the e-commerce part of Wechat, 3 solutions are available to you.
You can create your mini-site which is directly linked to your Wechat Official Account.
You can customize your interface to make it a bit more like your brand, advertise, promote and sell your products directly through the Wechat app.
Payment is extremely fast and easy for users, which has the advantage of generating a lot of impulse purchases.
It is possible, in 2018, to realize a mini program which is a kind of applications inside WeChat and which will allow to customize its ECommerce
The 3rd method is often favored by luxury brands or fashion.
You do not have a shop on Wechat.
Your official website is connected to the Wechat app.
This allows you to keep your design and management system while enjoying the popularity of Wechat.
If a user clicks on one of your products, he will be redirected to your website.
It will feel like always on the application, it does not change much the operation for the user.
But for you, it’s different.
This allows you to manage your online store more easily.
Your client will be able to browse and pay internally.
You should know that Chinese users are addicted to the application.
It is part of their daily lives, because they open it on average more than 30 times a day.
WECHAT: DOING IT IN A CLICK
Many users think, Wechat is really a very practical application.
The Chinese have a very particular buying process and different from your Western consumers.
The various scandals and the fake industry have weakened the relationship between brands and their consumers.
Chinese consumers no longer trust brands.
Before buying, they spend a lot of time researching the brand and the product to be sure of the quality of their purchase.
Many consumers follow accounts of bloggers or influencers, especially on fashion.
They trust their peers more than brands.
So if one of your bloggers shows you his new purchase made via the platform, you can in one click get the same product.
Speed and customer satisfaction are definitely the watchwords of Wechat.
It is not easy to trade in China.
Between difficult government legislation and the rejection of foreign brands by Tmall and Taobao, Wechat becomes the most practical and effective solution for foreign brands.
On most e-commerce platforms, if you want to sell, your business must necessarily be Chinese.
The procedures to set up his business in China are so complex and time consuming that they have discouraged more than one brand.
Other platforms like Tmall or Taobao allow only brands that already have a certain reputation and make significant sales in China to trade on their platforms.
The majority of foreign brands are rejected by these platforms.
This also explains why Wechat is so popular with both users and brands.
A VERY PRACTICAL APPLICATION FOR BRANDS
With 700 million users, Wechat is the platform that generates the most audience. For brands, it’s a very effective way to reach consumers. Your target is necessarily among Wechat users.
In addition, Wechat provides brands with many features to gain visibility.
For example, the H5 Wechat advertising (HTML 5) allows you to set up an animated and therefore more interactive advertisement to seduce your Chinese target.
Users can interact and participate, which is all the more effective in China.
The app also allows you to manage your campaigns, to see who the users are viewing your page and to do targeted advertising.
Wechat allows you to effectively reach a particular audience, which is not the case for many applications and this explains why Wechat e-commerce and so popular with brands.
Many well-known brands have had their Wechat stores for a long time, such as Tommy Hilfiger, L’Oreal or some well-known brands in China such as Museum of Friendship.
China is a growing market, so it is a country with great potential for brands.
Wechat being the most used channel in China, it must be an integral part of your digital marketing strategy.
WECHAT, A CIRCULAR SYSTEM
I say of Wechat that it is a circular system, because it is finally a rather closed system.
To access content, you must be logged in.
This combination of Brand Accounts and Personal Accounts is a seamless way to route traffic to dedicated stores.
In general, people who visit a brand’s online store do not arrive by chance.
They are here because they have been advised by a loved one or because they have heard about your brand by following the account of an influencer.
In both cases, their arrival is not due to chance and they are often informed consumers and eager to buy a product in your online store.
A practical application, but ultimately not for everyone
Many foreign brands fail to make significant sales on their Wechat stores. Often this is due to poor market knowledge leading to a wrong approach.
We need to implement a more global approach to Wechat and take advantage of all the features of the application.
Some brands prefer to link their Wechat account to their website, but this is not always the right solution.
The main goal on Wechat is to let you know.
To make yourself known, it is necessary to generate traffic and if you are not fully present on Wechat, this notoriety easy to acquire can finally get under your nose.
Another negative point, the procedure to open a Wechat Official Account and then an online store is very long, complex and requires some investment.
While some find the principle formidable, the administrative mountain standing before them has not yet allowed them to take the plunge.
And for foreign companies, it’s still quite complicated.
WECHAT E-COMMERCE: THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING
Wechat e-commerce is still in its infancy.
Brands can open their online store for two years only.
But the numbers speak for themselves, the app is improving, developing every day new features to improve the shopping experience of users and also to make life easier for brands.
The future success of Wechat’s business lies in the ability to connect with offline commerce.
It remains to be seen whether the benefits that brands can derive from the Wechat model are significant enough to cope with the giants of e-commerce.
In the meantime, Wechat remains an indispensable tool to use in your digital marketing strategy.