WeChat Mini-Programs Open Up New Possibilities for China E-Commerce (pt 2)
In our last article, we discussed the merits of using WeChat mini-programs for e-commerce and some of the challenges brands face with them.
To give a short recap, brands are using mini-programs because
They provide an opportunity to set up an official brand e-commerce store without having to rely on Tmall/JD.com, but also benefit from being able to attract traffic from WeChat’s billion-plus users.
They are more visual, easy to share, and provide more functionality for brands to engage users
WeChat’s social nature makes it easier to share content and promotions, potentially lowering customer acquisition costs and avoiding the need to spend on low-ROI ads
But what’s important is that brands have to incentivize customers to share mini-programs with each other by creating engaging content and promotions. Today, we discuss case studies of how brands are creating highly customized mini-programs to do this.
UGC (User-Generated Content) – YSL Members Club
YSL Beauty’s mini-program incentivizes users to post selfies and tag products in a Little Red Book-like fashion. Users receive points that can be redeemed for discounts, and they can also use those points to purchase items directly within WeChat.
Why This Matters
In China’s crowded retail market, consumers rely on content to help them decide what to buy. But many of the reviews online are fake or overly commercialized. Thus, users struggle to find a place where they can find quality content from peers they trust.
Social commerce platform Little Red Book, which consists primarily of Pinterest-like posts where users can write about their shopping experiences and tag products, was able to scale to >100 million users partly because it started as a content platform first.
In incentivizing users to post content on this mini-program, YSL Beauty is trying to recreate helps create a platform of engaged customers, and WeChat Pay enables them to make purchases when they’re finally ready to, creating a direct link between content and e-commerce.
Social Gifting – Dior
Dior’s gift card mini-program lets users buy and send virtual gift cards to their friends on WeChat; the cards can then be redeemed for goods that are shipped to them. WeChat’s sharing features and WeChat Pay make it so easy that users can do this with just a few taps of the finger.
Why This Matters
Gift-giving is a major tradition in China, and luxury brands have become big beneficiaries. Since WeChat was created for users to share content and experiences with each other, this mini-program takes things one step further in allowing customers to sending virtual gift cards.
From the brand’s perspective, it leads to better customer engagement. The mini-program also allows them to single out certain items for sale and track consumption data for gift-giving purposes.
Personalization – Longchamp
Popular handbag maker Longchamp has created a mini-program that enables customers to customize their own bags. Users can change the colors and features all within WeChat, and have it shipped to their homes in no time. Happy customers can also show off by sharing their customized designs with friends and family.
Why This Matters
Luxury brands have long struggled to recreate the luxury experience online since there are no trained attendants nor plush leather seats to make customers special.
Additionally, many consumers tend to shop online to find discount deals, whereas many luxury brands have been loathe to discount their goods for fear of hurting their brand value and proposition.
Personalization is a service that is typically reserved for VIP customers at offline luxury retail stores. This personalization service helps to enhance the customer experience and make a VIP service accessible to more people.
Online-to-Offline (O2O) – DFS Group
Many Chinese tourists flock to DFS stores in Hong Kong to take advantage of the city’s duty-free status and purchase luxury and cosmetics goods. DFS Group’s mini-program lets customers browse and order goods online BEFORE they get to the store, and they can choose which location to pick up the goods at.
Why This Matters
The travel retail shopping experience can be crowded and chaotic. Oftentimes gray-market daigou sellers line up at stores at the crack of dawn to snap up popular products and visiting Chinese customers are often frustrated when their favorite items are out of stock.
From the retailer’s perspective, it’s also hard to market to and sell to Chinese tourists under such a limited time frame; tourists often have a million items on their to-do list when traveling.
Using WeChat Moments ads and this mini-program to target tourists before they even arrive in Hong Kong is a good reminder. It also lets customers avoid crowded stores and pick up their items in a more efficient manner.