What is WeChat Mini-Program?
WeChat Mini-Program (below WeChat MP) is a category of executable applications within the WeChat operating environment that users can run directly from WeChat without additional installation or download. Its interface is a drop-down menu integrated into the main WeChat UI, making WeChat MP easily accessible, eventually becoming a new bridge between consumers and service providers.
There are over 60 different ways of accessing a WeChat MP, among which sharing over social media is the most prevalent, accounting for 66.3% of all access. As of June 2020, WeChat MP has approx. 3.2 million users and 410 million DAUs. Users spend on average 18 minutes per day on WeChat MP (ALDZS.com, July 2020). Among all types of WeChat MP, e-commerce applications account for the largest portion, registering at 22%. (ALDZS.com, July 2020).
Recently, WeChat MP launched its push-feed subscription function. This service typically includes notifications for delivery, promotions, coupons, and other similar items. After subscription, the promoted messages will feed directly into the users’ notification lists, significantly strengthening the interaction between consumers and service providers.
WeChat MP cases - Cartier
For example, on China Daily, Cartier reported that its newly launched WeChat MP enabled the brand to have increased interaction with its customers, especially after COVID-19 when Cartier sought to establish a robust rebound in the Chinese market.
WeChat MP cases - Healthcare Revolution
WeChat MP allows users to book appointments, pay bills, check medical histories, purchase over-the-counter medicines, and consult doctors all online. Users no longer need to spend a grudgingly long time standing in a physical line at the hospital; increasing hospitals’ efficiency significantly at the same time.
WeChat Channel and Livestream
What are WeChat Channel and Livestream?
WeChat Channel is a creative platform integrated within WeChat that allows users to share videos and photos. Users can upload contents remotely via mobile devices and share them on WeChat moments as well as chat rooms. Recently, WeChat Channel added a new livestream function as well as its new virtual currency, the “WeChat Coin,” which can be used for purchases on the livestream.
Cases – WeChat Channel
Selling properties via WeChat Channel livestream is becoming a remarkable phenomenon in China. Country Garden Group(碧桂园), a leading real estate developer in China, offered its products over a livestream session. 275 properties were sold within seconds, and the livestream generated more than 160 million hits at its peak. Over 1 million viewers gathered for the stream with the help of traffic directing tools from the WeChat ecosystem: including Channels, Search, and Official Account. The session generated approx. 14.3 billion RMB of sales and a total of 17,827 properties were sold, setting a precedent in the real estate industry.
WeChat Channel and Competitors Comparisons
Compared with Douyin and Weibo, WeChat Channel and livestream are somewhat more “private”. Its algorithms place more emphasis on “friends”, meaning that the user’s WeChat friends’ preferences, shares and likes will affect his/her video suggestion feed. In the beginning, when WeChat Channel was first initiated, a selection of content links used to be generated for the user and they had to pick the ones that interested them. However, Douyin, the most successful short-video platform in China, uses a completely different approach, where videos are recommended to its users automatically via an AI algorithm which continuously tracks the user’s behavior and recommends content based on said information. Recently, WeChat Channel has begun to switch over to the Douyin format. Its new UI is split into three different sections, allowing users to access different videos under the same category by swiping vertically and videos of different categories by swiping horizontally.
WeChat Channel Dilemma
For the content part, WeChat Channel lacks guidance for content creators. It does not offer any incentives to content creators such as advertising revenue share, resulting in less user retention. Although WeChat Channel still has an enormous user base owing to WeChat’s 1.7 billion users, its future user retention prospects may not be promising.
In contrast with WeChat’s private traffic genes, WeChat Channel aims to establish a more public platform where users can interact with strangers. However, Douyin, Bilibili, Weibo are already established in this market. For WeChat Channel to secure a slice of this pie, it would need vast amounts of work in its content seeding.
Recently, a newly developed MP called WeChat Channel/Livestream Promotion, allows users to customize their promotional content based on exposure, target consumers, channel, time, and index. Once decided on the above criteria, the MP will simultaneously calculate promotional fees; every process is standardized, digitized and convenient.
What is WeCom?
WeCom or WeChat Work is a company-level product. It is an independent and convenient workforce communication tool. WeCom targets big organizations such as governments and large-scale companies. WeCom aims to help with human resources management, especially under the background of COVID-19 when remote work became popular.
WeCom is efficient as it has a seamless connection with WeChat, which has 1.23 billion MAUs worldwide as of Q4 2020. WeCom users can easily communicate with existing users of WeChat even if they haven’t downloaded WeCom. Since it is mostly used for the working environment, WeCom has a higher ceiling for the number of contacts compared with WeChat. MP, Cloud Drive, WeChat Pay, and email boxes are also embedded in the WeCom ecosystem. Many MPs are also tailored for company organizations, such as OA system, punch-in function, daily or monthly reports. Users can schedule a meeting, complete a to-do list, reimburse the fees and apply for leaves.
Cases – WeCom
Baiguoyuan(百果园) uses WeCom to free its managers from data exporting and importing. The Mini-Program about daily fruit storage will pop up every day at a scheduled time on managers’ phones.
Past: Managers need to contact data collectors to extract data. Communication cost is high, data is outdated
Now: MP daily storage list will pop up on the managers’ phone. Managers can get in time data and adjust strategies agilely
Past: Individual emails, fragmented data collection.
Now: MP vote, simultaneous data collection. Users can complete it on mobiles
WeChat + WeCom has proven to be a powerful private traffic generator for the brand. As the founder of China-based marketing automation platform JING digital, Aaron Chang said, WeCom is extremely powerful in three aspects in the e-commerce field.
Firstly, it can reassign conversations to build one-on-one relationships between the sales team and customers.
Secondly, WeCom realized content sharing with various account segments. Marketers can add clients to different group chat to provide personalized engagement and expose targeted content. The higher response rates are observed in group chats than in official channels.
The third was intercompany marketing. Business partners can access each other’s organizational structures and contact lists, which allows them to do marketing directly to decision-makers. With these outstanding properties, WeCom becomes a super strong weapon in private traffic e-commerce.
WeChat‘s decentralization is restructuring retailing e-commerce, bringing new opportunities for the retails.
WeChat Official Account
What is WeChat Official Account?
WeChat Official Account is a WeChat account applied on WeChat public platform, which can send messages to its subscribers. Messages can be in the form of text, picture, audio, and/or video.
WeChat Official Account can be categorized into service accounts and subscription accounts. Service accounts can send four messages per month. Subscription accounts can send one message per day. Subscription accounts focus more on frequency, but their notifications do not pop up in the users’ message inbox. They are subcategorized in a single folder with other subscription accounts. In contrast, service accounts’ messages can be sent straight to the users’ message inbox, which is on the same level as the users’ private chats. Moreover, service accounts can connect WeChat pay and more online shopping stores seamlessly.
Communication helper integrated into WeChat Service Account
Customers can start a chat within the service account to ask specific questions. In this case, the service account can pre-set automatic replies to increase efficiency and when more support is needed, provide options to communicate with live customer support representatives. Business advisors can also flip a one-on-one private chat with selected customers outside the service account to offer targeted promotions.
This vastly improves the customized service provided by the service account. This tool is focused on customized service, retention, and VIP operation. Example shows retained customers increase 36%; customer reply increases over 200%, the click rate of communication-sent MP is five times of that sent by the official account.
Moreover, the advisors’ team behind the WeChat Service Account can add labels to consumers, including their interests, preferred colors, targeted styles, etc. When advisors try to start a private chat to do precise promotions, these labels are super helpful.
WeChat Small Store
What is the WeChat Small Store?
WeChat Small Store is another essential jigsaw in the WeChat e-commerce ecosystem. WeChat Small Store is a unique Mini-Program, allowing both individuals and organizations to start their own small stores on the program. According to Tencent Digital Ecosystem Summit, WeChat will continue to develop more functions to help WeChat Small Store to integrate into the e-commerce system, it will provide more marketing and CRM functions, continuously lower tool usage threshold, develop more patterns for various industries to satisfy both online and offline business needs. With respect to increasing consumers and revenue, WeChat promises to activate the channel between all WeChat tools, including Mini-program, WeCom, WeChat Channel and live streams, and offer little barriers to advertisement tools.
Interactions: WeChat E-commerce Empire
We can already see the closed cycle of the e-commerce environment on WeChat, where you can first get content seeding on the WeChat Channel by “like” of your friends. If you are interested, you can be redirected to the WeChat Small Store or Livestream sales session by clicking the embedded entry. Then you can make your order and pay within WeChat and use WeChat pay. WeChat is the first and only one to complete this e-commerce closed cycle without using the Alibaba ecosystem.
On May 18th, 2021, International Museum’s Day, the Van Gogh Museum launched its WeChat Channel and Mini-Program with unique AI-powered features that combine technology and art. On the evening of May 10th (Beijing time), the Van Gogh Museum became the first overseas cultural institution to live stream a virtual museum tour on its official WeChat Channels account. Moreover, as Van Gogh Museum activates its WeChat Pay channel, a complete e-commerce ecosystem is created for its Chinese customers.
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