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WeChat Mini Programs Create Massive New Digital Marketing Opportunities

2019-06-27 09:57 Thursday


Over the past decade, the e-commerce sector has experienced unprecedented growth in China. During an 11-year period of time beginning in 2005, China moved from having 1 percent of all global e-commerce transactions, to a staggering 42 percent by 2016. That number constitutes a larger e-commerce market than that of the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Japan combined.

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The extreme popularity of digital payments, the evolution of B2B sales avenues, combined with innovative methods of online and offline retail has fueled the expansion of e-commerce. This is evidenced by the success of e-commerce platforms and digital retail outlets such as Alibaba, Taobao, Tmall, JD.com and Pindoudou. The integration of social media with e-commerce is driving a paradigm shift for brand marketing in China. And now, WeChat mini programs are giving retailers a fresh new way to sell products. Embedded within WeChat, mini programs are lightweight apps that can range from ride-hailing and food delivery to livestreaming and shopping.

Since launching in 2017, over 1 million mini programs have popped up on WeChat, with a total of more than 200 million daily active users, according to Tencent. With this massively huge customer base, Wechat mini programs continue to attract more and more brands, stores and retail platforms who are setting up shop on WeChat. With over 85% of marketplace transactions taking place online, and WeChat being the No. 1 social media platform with over 1 billion registered users, it’s no surprise that brands are moving towards the WeChat community to expand their reach.

Unlike online shops on platforms such as Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall where buyers hunt for products and compare pricing from a variety of stores and vendors, WeChat shops are connected specifically to individual brand accounts. This way, brands are given more control over their customer and user experience. At the same time, it does pose some challenges like the need to trigger sales through push marketing techniques such as time-sensitive discounts and consistently refreshing content. Being a closed ecosystem, if WeChat followers lose interest it can be challenging to win those potential customers back again. Therefore, the brands must be mindful in their approaches marketing.

WeChat pay is the exclusive form of payment for WeChat users. Since WeChat is the top social media platform for Chinese with more 1 billion registered users, Chinese consumers are hoping to use Wechat pay with more and more frequency. Tencent profits by collecting small commission fees from each of these millions of transactions. After all, underpinning every transaction on WeChat is WeChat Pay, the app’s digital wallet. Tencent hopes to make WeChat Pay the new normal for shoppers, particularly in offline scenarios like restaurants and brick-and-mortar shops. And it seems to be a good match to daily Chinese life, which could be interpreted as something of a threat for Alipay – the other primary digital payment platform in China and top rival for WeChat Pay.

Interested in the world of digital payments and smart retail? The China Digital Marketing and E-commerce Retail Summit 2019 will provide a platform for policymakers, marketing professionals and representatives of leading brands, e-commerce platforms, technology companies and retailers to share knowledge on the explosive e-commerce sector in China.

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