WeChat is the biggest super-app in the world, with 1.26 billion monthly active users. It’s the go-to social platform for every person and business in China, as it’s an app used by basically the whole Chinese Internet population. Therefore, being present on the platform is something that any company wanting to succeed in this competitive market can’t omit.

WeChat is a social network with multiple features that can help your company succeed in the Chinese market. Among these tools, one of the most profitable ones is WeChat mini-programs that allows brands to create their own e-commerce Wechat stores within the platform.

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Although WeChat mini-programs are a feature of the platform, you will need special tools to create your WeChat Store. The choice of tools is huge, with new players popping up on the Chinese market constantly. But the most frequently used ones for a WeChat shop set up are Weidian and Youzan.

Both of these tools offer different functionality, customization, and pricing; but which one is right for your brand’s Wechat shop? This blog post will explore the differences between these two platforms so that you can make an informed decision when it comes time to choose.

A short introduction to the WeChat ecosystem

WeChat, being the most popular messaging app in the world, creates an amazing opportunity for domestic and foreign brands to engage with existing followers and acquire followers, allowing users to get to know the brand and its product without leaving the app.

WeChat business model relies on providing a lot of tools that are of great use for all marketing and influencer campaigns, such as; WeChat Official Accounts, WeChat Payments with the possibility of cross-border payments in a foreign currency, Wechat Stores on the WeChat mini-program platform, WeChat ads, WeChat games, Wechat Wallet with multiple services to select from, such as ordering a taxi and other e-commerce services. With such a big selection of features, it’s very easy to drive traffic from one tool to another, increasing the conversion rate on your Wechat account.

WeChat App features

What are WeChat Stores?

One of the many features available within the app is WeChat Stores, which are WeChat shops that are built into WeChat mini-programs. WeChat Stores are online stores that are hosted on the WeChat mini-program platform. They allow businesses to sell products and services directly to users of the WeChat app.

WeChat Stores offer a number of advantages for businesses, including the ability to reach a large audience of potential customers as well as a specific target group that matches their products. They also drive traffic to the company’s website and WeChat Official Account, making the brand extremely visible in Mainland China. Additionally, WeChat Stores can be customized to match a company’s brand identity.

Today there are more than 70 million mini-programs and they have an audience of more than 450 million monthly viewers. More than 95% of e-commerce brands own WeChat Store and provide e-commerce services to WeChat customers within the platform.

WHAT IS WECHAT DATA

Why open a Wechat Store?

Although many foreign brands would think that having a WeChat Official Account is enough for their marketing strategy on the platform, any official account, either a service account or subscription account, won’t let you start selling products there. For this purpose, you need to have a WeChat shop built on WeChat mini program platform.

An easy and convenient way to attract WeChat users

There are multiple benefits of having a WeChat Store for your brand. WeChat Shop integrates perfectly into the WeChat ecosystem and offers a seamless experience to users. And you need to remember, that there are 1.26 billion users on the platform! They are easier to attract within the platform, as it’s more convenient and intuitive to check a Wechat shop than going on a separate website or other social media platform.

When it comes to convenience, as a WeChat Store is an integral part of Wechat, it allows Chinese consumers to do a fast one-click log-in customer authentication, saving their time and energy.

Integrate your Wechat Official Account and other features with your Wechat Store

It is also a very shareable tool, as you can share your product pages on all the other WeChat places, like WeChat Moments, your WeChat Official Account, and other WeChat Official Accounts (useful if you have more than one brand), WeChat Channels, and in private messages or groups. This feature is very important when it comes to an influencer campaign, as your KOL can easily share the link or QR code to your store with the audience on the platform. It also helps to drive traffic in between all the available WeChat tools.

WeChat Pay Payment method for faster purchases

The other major benefit of selling on Wechat is the access to Wechat pay which has become one of the most common ways of paying in China. Online payment in China made up 86% of all transactions in the country. The WeChat payment method also allows cross-border payment options.

Ways to develop a WeChat Store

When it comes to developing a WeChat Store, there are a lot of 3rd party providers in China that take care of the whole process, just like Shopify or Magento that business owners use in the West. It is impossible to build the store on your own, as there is no special tool to do this on Wechat. To have a WeChat Store connected to your WeChat Official Account, that will give customers access to products and purchases through WeChat Pay and their electronic wallet, you need to rely on companies in China that specialize in building WeChat mini program shops.

When it comes to WeChat Store providers, there are many companies to choose from, but two of them are ruling the Chinese market: Weidian and Youzan. Which platform you should choose to develop the best WeChat store? Let us explore the two popular ways to set up a virtual store on WeChat along with their features.

Open a Wechat Store with Weidian

Weidian is a third-party CMS (content management system) and is a way to create WeChat stores embedded in the WeChat platform. The most important advantage of this solution is that it’s completely free of charge.

Weidian Features:

  • Price: It offers a free version (with limited features) or paid version (7-day free trial). The paid version is priced at RMB 4,200 a year.
  • Demands: legitimate telephone number, business license, bank account information
  • Payment options: credit card, debit card, Caifutong, liandong. Wechat Pay, Alipay, and Union pay. Payments can be received by WeChat pay which is in beta on Stripe.
  • Works on mobile and desktop versions of WeChat
  • Professional:  User-friendly platform (with no expertise required), also supports other media, thus uncovering business to an audience beyond WeChat users.  Weidian also offers a paid customized e-commerce solution for your business.
  • Drawbacks: The majority of stores are operated by small business owners and retailers rather than well-known brands, causing a trust deficit in users (about authenticity and quality of product) and limited pre-defined product categories.

Weidian is a well-identified and widely used WeChat store. It provides users with a clean interface for product listing, alternatives to set-up promotions, and provides Chinese customers with an option of tracing the delivery of products they bought.

Youzan – the most popular tool on the market

With over 400 million stores on WeChat, Youzan is the largest third-party WeChat e-commerce platform in China, with a revenue of 1.8 billion CNY.

Youzan Features:

  • Price:  6500 RMB.
  • Demands: legitimate cell phone number, business license, and a bank account
  • Payment possibilities: credit card, debit card, Caifutong, liandong. Wechat Pay, Alipay, and Union pay. Payments can be received by WeChat pay which is in beta on Stripe.
  • Works on mobile and desktop versions of WeChat
  • Professional: Customized navigation menus and templates (receive promotion pop-ups or event alerts). Features like clipping a coupon, starting a group purchase, or entering a lottery draw are all within the store.
  • Disadvantages: a high service fee

Benefits of using Youzan to create your WeChat Store

Youzan is widely used among many big companies who want to relate to Chinese buyers. It has got an assortment of retailer templates that should meet up with quite a lot of each individual industry’s demands (also allows it to provide precise functions).

Youzan offers easy development of the WeChat Store and those mini-programs load fast, way faster than separate websites. Additionally, it offers support for platforms like Alipay, Baidu, and Weibo which makes it easier to drive traffic from those platforms to the brand’s WeChat Store. This is a very important feature for a successful WeChat marketing strategy for your brand.

And, what is most important, it offers a great user experience to the customers. They can enter Wechat shops within WeChat, the interface is intuitive and very user-friendly, which ends up in a high conversion rate for brands’ WeChat Store.

Youzan
Youzan homepage

Retailers can access features like order management, address management, shipment tracking, and customer services. They can operate, manage and promote their WeChat Stores using their WeChat public account, other WeChat official accounts, both service accounts, and subscription accounts. Youzan also provides more customization options and the tool is more advanced than Weidian.

Types of Wechat stores available on Youzan

When you set up an account on Youzan with the aim of creating a WeChat Store for your brand, the platform will offer you 4 options to select from:

Youzan Micro Mall

This option is great for all the brand owners that do not have an offline presence in China but would like to start selling their goods on the Chinese market.

Youzan Retail WeChat Store

It’s the opposite option for a WeChat Store from the previous one, as it’s the ideal type for those store owners that have physical shops, such as fruit stands, supermarkets, apparel shops, house appliances shops, and so on.

Youzan Beauty WeChat Store

Youzan Beauty WeChat Store creates an online creative space for the beauty industry in a mini-program. It’s good for those that sell skincare products, beauty appliances, manicure and pedicures, spa services, or cosmetics.

This type of WeChat Store offers a variety of e-commerce services, such as VIP cards, online bookings, special offers, and so on.

Youzan Catering

Youzan Catering is for those that have a business in the food industry. It works more like a platform for online food deliveries. This WeChat Store option is for restaurants, that want to display their menus in the mini-program and offer customers the option of ordering food through the app. Food shops and restaurants can take advantage of many effective marketing options available such as discount coupons, group discounts, vouchers, and more.

Chose the best option for you: Weidian vs Youzan

After introducing both platforms that provide the service of building a WeChat Store for domestic and foreign brands, let’s check which one will be better for your brand. We will cover a few areas of comparison:

Price

As we mentioned earlier, Weidians’ basic features are for free, which is a great option for all those small and medium-sized enterprises that just want to test the WeChat Store feature for their brands. It is possible to build a basic WeChat shop for free and test it before adding on paid features in case the store is a success.

Youzan is a more advanced platform which results in bigger prices. There is only an option for a yearly subscription and the basic one costs 6800 RMB. The best option, with all the available functions, costs 26800 RMB per year.

The choice is yours to make. Youzan offers more features to the WeChat Store, therefore the price is higher. The paid version of Weidian is 4200 RMB, with more features to select from. It depends on your store and how advanced you want it to be.

Features

When it comes to available features for opening a WeChat Store, Youzan has more to offer, but as we said before, it comes with the price. For example, both platforms offer an easy option to create coupons, which are a great way to promote your store or products. In Weidian it takes three steps to create a coupon, but the selection of options is not wide, while in Youzan you can generate coupons, group buying and group sales, limited-time sales, cash backs, and many more.

Additionally, on Youzan there are more templates to choose from, which can help your WeChat store stand out from the crowd since the market in China is already fairly competitive. If you want to attract WeChat followers to your store, an interesting design is also an important factor to take into consideration.

Apart from store building, Youzan also offers additional features such as the promotion of WeChat accounts and the creation of WeChat mini program ads and banner ads in the store.

Interface and customer support

Apart from the fact that both platforms are in Chinese and if you don’t speak the language, it’s better to hire China marketing agency to help you with the process, the dashboards, and functions to select are easy and intuitive. Both platforms are easy to use and all the steps of the way are well explained.

When it comes to customer support, both platforms did a great job here, as they offer online chat support as well as the option to call an assistant with any problem that needs solving.

Commission fees and financial control

When it comes to payments, both Weidian and Youzan support all the payment methods available in China, but you need to remember, that since those companies manage your Wechat store, they collect the payment for you, so you need to withdraw your payments from them, instead of just having them in your wallet.

Additionally, Youzan, apart from being more expensive, also collects a commission of 0.6% of every online payment that your WeChat Store receives.

Conclusion: which platform will be better for your brand?

After reading this article you probably already have some idea about which platform will be better for your WeChat shop, but if you’re still in doubt, let us help you decide.

If you don’t have a big budget and are a small company that would just like to test, if a Wechat Store is a good marketplace for your brand, it’s better to set up your store in Weidian first. It’s a good platform for all companies that don’t need a complicated design or special functions.

On the other hand, if you represent a big brand that already has a reputation and would like to have a WeChat Store with a lot of other features, like gamification, complicated discounts, monitoring, and so on, Youzan will be a better option for you. It’s also important to mention that most of the well-known brands use Youzan (if they don’t build a mini-program themselves).

Still confused about how to set up a WeChat Store for your brand? Contact us!

If you are new to the game and would like help from an experienced agency, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are an official Tencent partner and have expertise in working with Wechat for more than 5 years. We can help you with the set up of your Wechat service account, and Wechat login, explain the magic of QR codes and participate in the set up of your Wechat shop for cross-border e-commerce purposes.

We are China marketing agency with experience in WeChat marketing. Apart from introducing you to Wechat, we can also help you with Wechat ads (like Wechat moment ads, WeChat banner ads, or Wechat mini program ads) or plan a marketing strategy for all the other social media platforms. We’ve already worked on more than 200 Wechat-related projects, so you can be sure that you will get the professional help you need.

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