WeChat’s new functions in 2019: Mini Programs become sales channels


WeChat’s so-called Mini Programs are applications that customers can access without leaving the platform. This means that users are no longer forced to install new apps separately on their smartphones since they might already be in WeChat.

These integrated mini-applications cover all types of services: online trading, food delivery, government services, etc. Users can also receive tailored suggestions for new Mini Programs based on their current location.

Traditional retail apps become superfluous

Users are able to place orders directly on e-commerce applications, using the WeChat’s integrated payment function WeChat Pay. This renders the retailer’s official app useless since WeChat combines both order and payment. Mini Programs integrated in WeChat are therefore important competitors of the traditional app stores.

Mini Programs already boast almost 170 million daily active users (DAUs) in WeChat. Since 94% of the Chinese population use WeChat daily, there is no better app to make your brand visible. In addition to an official WeChat account, you can now create your Mini Program for WeChat. This has several advantages.

WeChat’s all-in-one solution allows Chinese consumers to share these Mini Programs, promotions or items of interest with friends and family. Discount promotions and products are more appealing when shared as part of a Mini Program rather than as a simple, loose link.

WeChat Mini Program

35% users learn about new Mini Programs because they have been shared by friends or acquaintances. Direct exchange between users reduces the cost of attracting new customers, as brands require less budget for advertising.

Why should retailers and brands should take a closer look at Mini Programs?

IMore and more international brands are launching their e-commerce platforms with mini-programs for the Chinese market. Leading brands such as YSL Beauty, L’Oréal Paris, Dior and Sephora use WeChat Mini Programs to sell directly to Chinese consumers. The following are examples of campaigns for Mini Programs from major brands.

Mini Program WeChat 2

YSL Beauty: For the occasion of Valentine’s Day in 2018 (7th August in China), YSL Beauty launched a Mini Program to purchase and send gifts with personalised gift packaging. To promote the program, the company used WeChat Moments Ads (similar to the Facebook News Feed). The click-through rate was 280% above the industry average and, according to Tencent, YSL Beauty sold its two most expensive gift packages in half a day.

WeChat YSL

Feelunique: British cosmetics brand Feelunique launched a 6 day group buying campaign within its WeChat Mini Program. Customers could benefit from a 37% discount if they persuaded a friend to buy the same product at the same price. After confirming their order, customers were required to provide their friend with a promotional photo so they could scan a QR code to benefit from the discount. 90% of participants were new customers. Therefore this group buying campaign enabled Feelunique to reduce customer acquisition costs, and avoid spending money on advertising.

Mini Programs benefit from the WeChat user base. On the one hand, online shopping with mini programs can increase the use of Wechat Pay and Wechat Moments ads. On the other hand, it could harm Alibaba and its e-commerce platforms in the long run.

Live streaming via Mini Programs

In June 2019, a live streaming function was added to Mini Programs.

The Chinese live streaming industry has grown exponentially in recent years. Live streaming has become an important means of consumption and was quickly accepted as a means to promote products or services online. Currently, major social and e-commerce networks such as Taobao, JD.com and Weibo are at the forefront of the trend

In this specific case, WeChat initiates live streaming shopping via Mini Programs.

Luxury brands and live streaming

This year, L’Oréal Paris transformed the Cannes Film Festival into a shopping destination for Chinese consumers: the festival’s WeChat Mini Program enabled purchases to be made live from the event under the caption “See now, buy now”.

To attract consumers, L’Oréal worked with several Chinese celebrities and influencers who broadcasted the fashion and makeup “moments” live from the Cannes red carpet, enabling fans to comment directly when watching the videos.

Sources: jingdaily.com, marketing-chine.com

Naomi Botting

Field Marketing Specialist

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