• Ker Zheng

The Anatomy of an Omni-Channel WeChat Mini-Program

WeChat mini-programs make a lot of sense for retailers looking to integrate their online and offline businesses.


The impetus is that as online e-commerce becomes more competitive and user acquisition costs get higher and higher, retailers and brands start turning to new avenues to acquire users.


Converting offline foot traffic into online loyalty members is one way to do it. Offline retail stores in China have no shortage of foot traffic but face the challenges of retaining customers for the long run. Integrating these stores with online e-commerce changes the ball game.


This is why Alibaba has been investing in New Retail initiatives over the past few years, and has partnered with the likes of department store chain Intime and Taiwanese hypermarket chain RT-Mart on omni-channel retail initiatives.


In this article, we talk about department store chain Tianhong's omni-channel WeChat mini-program.


A Look at Tianhong's WeChat Mini-Program

Tianhong is a Shenzhen-based chain with over 69 stores located across China.


It is known to be more innovative than other traditional retailers and has invested significantly in technology and procuring imported products to boost its appeal amongst younger consumers.


Here's a brief diagram of what its front page looks like:


This omni-channel mini-program is more comprehensive than other ones that we have seen. It is similar to Aldi's mini-program in that it offers three main functions: scan & pay, on-demand delivery, and online shopping.


  1. Scan & Pay: This allows customers to scan items' bar codes in the store and check out with WeChat Pay without having to go to the register

  2. On-Demand Delivery: Customers can order on-demand groceries (within a certain radius) and they'll be delivered within a specified time frame.

  3. Online Shopping: Customers can order other e-commerce products such as imported health supplements, milk powder, cosmetics, etc.


The goal is to use the scan & pay function to convert offline customers into long-term mini-program loyalty members. Then, Tianhong can upsell them on grocery delivery and other e-commerce products for the long run, boosting the lifetime value of the customer.


To add another step to the mix, Tianhong also offers food court with Chinese delicacies to entice more foot traffic. The scan & pay function enables customers to order through the mini-program.


What's more is that the mini-program provides all sorts of different perks for the customer. Customers can pay for parking, access group-buying deals, and also jump to another mini-program to customize and send virtual WeChat gift cards to their friends.


Key Takeaways

  1. WeChat mini-programs are a great tool for building an omnichannel presence. Retailers can leverage offline foot traffic to convert those customers into long-term loyalty members.

  2. Tianhong's mini-program has three core functions: scan & pay, grocery delivery, and e-commerce shopping. It uses the first function to pull in users and the latter two to upsell them on more products

  3. Other perks of the mini-program include paying for parking, group-buying deals, and online WeChat gift card sharing.


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