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How WeChat mini programs provide a new way to grow e-Commerce sales

April 27, 2021 | Blogs

WeChat is China’s ultimate global lifestyle super app. According to Statista, in the last quarter of 2020 WeChat had 1.2 billion monthly active users from all age groups, using the app for everything from video calling and social networking to online shopping and mobile payments.

What makes WeChat so popular you might ask? It has to do with their ability to offer their users everything they need without leaving the app. It started in 2014 with the launch of WeChat Pay, the app’s e-wallet, and was followed by the introduction of WeChat mini programs in 2017.

Adding mini programs to the mobile payment component was a game-changer for WeChat, as it enabled them to join the select group of e-Commerce giants in China. In this post, we provide an overview of mini programs and how they provide a new way of growing e-Commerce sales.

1. What are WeChat mini programs?

Like other social media companies, WeChat offers businesses official accounts on its platform and WeChat mini programs function as links to these accounts. 

2. How do they work?

WeChat mini programs are like mini-aps perfectly integrated within the WeChat ecosystem. Mini programs don’t take up memory on smartphones, don’t need to be downloaded, and enable users to access a wide range of applications, services, and content, without leaving WeChat.

3. Advantages of WeChat mini programs:

From a user’ standpoint, the advanced features provided by mini programs are a definite plus. From a brand or retailer’s perspective, mini programs allow them to integrate their offline and online businesses. We Chat mini programs are also a great tool for building an omnichannel presence. For instance, a given retailer’s mini program allows shoppers to buy items online and ship them to the closest physical store for pick-up. Or if there is a product out of stock at one location, customers can scan the product’s QR code, pay for it with their smartphone, and get it delivered at home. Other convenient functionalities include:

  • Group buying: When customers get a discount on products they share with their network;
  • Social Selling: When users of a retailer’s mini program can recommend and sell products to their own WeChat followers;
  • KOL Sales: When Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) or other influencers put product tags in their content that lead users to a page to buy a specific product;
  • Unattended Stores: When stores with no frontline staff or cashiers use mini programs to let customers enter the store, scan the item they want, leave with it, and get their bill through their WeChat account.

The possibilities are endless. For users, it offers an unbeatable customer experience while retailers can target a huge captive audience within the app, develop a one-on-one relationship with customers, build loyalty programs, an access buying pattern and demographic data from the app for free.

4. How mini programs help grow e-Commerce

Mini programs are the reason why WeChat became an e-Commerce leader in China and in now a serious competitor to Alibaba’s TMall and JD.com. When it comes to e-Commerce, the main perk of the WeChat mini programs is the integration with WeChat Pay. This integration makes the purchasing process easier and faster, as users don’t have to log in between different platforms to complete payment.

5. WeChat mini programs numbers:

  • It is estimated that there are over 1 million mini programs currently available on the market in over 200 categories, ranging from e-Commerce, games and entertainment & media, to food, lifestyle, and travel;
  • As of mid-2020, the number the daily active users of WeChat mini programs in China amounted to 440 million;
  • As of December 2020, each WeChat active user used on average 5.6 mini programs;
  • The average time spent per user on a WeChat mini program is close to 70 minutes;
  • In 2020, more than 100 million people purchased in physical stores on WeChat mini programs. 

If you are a business looking to increase its presence in the Chinese consumer market, you can’t ignore WeChat mini programs. Accepting mobile payments is a good first-step but connecting and engaging with your target customers is what will enable your business to get ahead. And with e-Commerce being pushed at the forefront of retail, and the adoption rate of digital payment solutions on the rise in Europe and the U.S., you’re not targeting only Chinese consumers anymore.

Are you ready to get started with WeChat mini programs? OTT Pay can make it happen. As a leading payment provider and authorized partner of WeChat Pay in Canada, we know the platform inside and out and can help your business make the most of WeChat mini programs. Give us a call at (+1) 800-688-9838 or email us at info@ottpay.com to get started.

Other sources: forbes.com, China Internet Watch, QPSOFTWARE, wechatwiki.com.