Wechat e-commerce opportunities in China

With a turnover of over 13,4 trillions of yuan in 2014, a growth of 31,4% and over 649 million cybernauts.

The e-commerce market in China has already overtaken the American market and the opportunities are infinite.

Cultural, organizational and strategic differences, China has developed its own manners, far from occidental standards. In the meantime, communication channels, new technologies, and social networks have changed the way of selling and buying.

Since three years, this revolution comes from WeChat, a social network which doesn’t stop booming. It now has more than 697 MAU around the world !!

 

Wechat users

 

Lessons to learn, good habits to dominate and clichés to ignore, … you are about to discover this amazing multi-task tool.

 

WeChat: a way of payment

One of WeChat’s strengths is its multi-task functionality. This allows the app to be very attractive towards various profiles of users.

WeChat is much more than a simple social network. One of its singularity and the key point is being a payment method. You only need to connect your bank account to WeChat to be able to pay your electricity bills, your shopping or even your online purchases by scanning a simple QR code. It is even possible to transfer, very easily, money between users.

Nowadays, this payment method is spreading abroad. Japan has been introducing it lately, such as South Africa has. A revolution is on the move and its knocking of western countries’ door! Therefore, you must be ready to offer this payment method to Chinese people in France.

wechat hongbao

WeChat : an e-commerce platform

WeChat provides an integrated e-commerce platform since 2014 and Chinese users didn’t take long to adopt it. As usual in China, when something is adopted, it is adopted in a huge way. Just on Weidian, the biggest WeChat e-commerce platform, the amount of WeChat e-commerce has reached 29 million within the first quarter.

Regarding WeChat’s way of doing e-commerce, it is not really old-school or direct. Indeed, taking in consideration that Tencent has a partnership with JD.com to counter Tmall (every single link to Tmall is blocked by WeChat!), the strategy can be to redirect WeChat’s traffic to JD.com in order to realize the sale, or even on your own e-commerce website if it’s WeChat and mobile optimized.

Tmall

More debates: What are the top eCommerce platforms in China?

WeChat aka birth of social CRM

In China, email is not the standard. Chat (and now WeChat) is more frequent when it comes to the customer relationship. Adapting the message to a specific scale of users is very important and WeChat has understood it pretty well. For instance, many expats are not able to read Chinese even if they may understand it. Therefore, international brands can approach them through WeChat to increase their reading and commitment rates.

Many customer segmentations are available: gender, age, location (especially with strategies aiming at travelers), active/inactive people, new followers, KOL (key opinion leaders), clients – or not.

KOLs can also be brand ambassadors, such as HanHan for instance. HanHan is very popular among Chinese customers, and they tend to trust whatever he promotes.

 

Capture d’écran 2016-04-01 à 13.37.25

 

In order to remain attractive and give a real competitive benefit, social CRM is something to start from the beginning, especially knowing that WeChat is also used as a customer service (pre-sale or after-sale). It is also a way which will allow improving relationship towards clients, from buying concept to commitment concept.

WeChat: the link between mainland Chinese and abroad Chinese

WeChat strategies are not only good for mainland China. It is also a privileged link between mainland Chinese and Chinese people who are traveling. In Paris, it is always surprising to see brands hiring Chinese salesmen but using western social networks.

Adapting to WeChat is an insurance to keep in touch with your abroad customers, and benefit from a Chinese touch, but also to have your first ambassadors.

If you are not yet settled in China, entertaining this base and keeping in touch will allow you to enable cross-border strategies and increase your installation when you will decide to get on the market.

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