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How to make your brand matter on WeChat

Tencent’s WeChat, the most popular social media app in China, has over 900 million users and is fast becoming the marketplace of choice for global brands keen to reach Chinese consumers.

One of the most important things a brand can do on WeChat is make the most of its multifaceted functionality. This goes beyond running an official account, to include partnering with influencers on the platform, using data to serve up targeted ads, establishing a WeChat storefront, and finding new and creative ways to reach consumers both online and offline.

WeChat’s brand zone, introduced at the start of this year, allows brands to sell directly to WeChat users even if they aren’t subscribers, by giving customers the ability to search sirectly for the brands they want to see. International brands such as Michael Kors, Montblanc and Gucci have already flocked to this new space, where they are experimenting with different ways of interacting with their customers. For instance, Gucci and Louis Vuitton redirect users to their Chinese ecommerce websites, while Cartier are encouraging direct sales by linking users to their built-in WeChat stores.

“The launch of the brand zone on WeChat is a breakthrough move that greatly strengthens the ability of the app to assist brands’ sales,” says Yiling Pan of Jing Daily. “The arrival of high-end luxury players including Gucci and Louis Vuitton, who have long refrained from working directly with the domestic e-commerce sites like Alibaba and JD.com, further showcases the competitiveness of the retail ecosystem that Tencent has been building.”

The ‘Mini Programme’ sub-applications on WeChat which make ecommerce within the app possible also allow customisation, enabling brands to deliver even greater value. Michael Kors and Longchamp are using Mini Programmes to offer their customers personalised bags. There are currently over 580,000 Mini Programmes, totalling 170 million daily users.

Building on the immediacy of service and communication that WeChat fosters, in the Year of the Dog it is also expected to emerge as a CRM channel, giving brands an effective way to connect their sales staff with new users while also maintaining relationships with existing customers.

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