Brands Should Love WeChat as Much as Chinese Consumers


If 500-600 million people a month are using WeChat, how can brands use it to reach consumers and tap into e-commerce?

A study published by QQ Tech indicates that only 18.9% of users follow a company and 5.9% of users follow a brand. While that number may seem low, its implications are substantial. Moreover, those who do follow brands are more likely to engage with the content.

Modern communication technology creates amazing opportunities for brands to communicate with their customers in new ways, increase e-commerce and facilitate two-way communications which is invaluable in creating brand loyalty. As brands are beginning to understand the various platforms and consumer behaviors, they are finding more opportunities to reach out to consumers.

Consumers may not initially use WeChat with the intent of buying a product but they do use WeChat to collect product information and read their peers’ reviews. This allows brands to target their products to consumers in a more relevant way.

WeChat’s APIs allows consumers and businesses to sell products directly from an account. Examples of successful e-commerce on WeChat include several micro-businesses that are popping up on the app such as Artic Me. Artic Me uses the WeChat platform to post photos about Norwegian products and allows Chinese consumers to order and pay for the products.

McDonald’s is testing mobile ordering and payment within WeChat that allows consumers to cut the queue. McDonalds is also offering WeChat coupons for consumers who follow their account and take part in a promotional game or share information. KFC has gone one step further by allowing WeChatters to order their food to be delivered based on their GPS location.

Businesses can now integrate their loyalty program within WeChat’s loyalty program, WeFortuneCat. This makes it easier and more intuitive for consumers to participate in loyalty programs, thus increasing affinity with the brand and repeat purchases.

One of the biggest challenges for brands is simply being found on WeChat. An article on Marketing China suggests that brands use QR codes on their products in order to easily connect consumers to their account and give consumers incentives to do so by offering discounts etc.

Since the platform is inherently social in nature, other consumers can see their friends’ interactions with brands, coupons, loyalty programs, etc. With unique and relevant content, there is a strong potential for brands to capitalize on “viral” opportunities. WeChat itself launched a successful viral campaign within its own app. Coca-Cola encouraged consumers to “take a break” and interact with fun content at 3:15 PM every day in exchange for a coupon.

These kind of opportunities will only grow as brands identify unique ways to reach and market to their consumers.

About Author

Not yet an 'old China hand', Sam Elliott is a British man who is passionately curious about the Middle Kingdom. He's a recent transplant to LA and has made it his mission to spread the word about great Chinese brands. When he's not working, he loves to keep active, eat vegan and learn study Chinese.

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