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Why you should consider WeChat official account for business in China?

Posted:

2019-04-01

For a WeChat user, adding an official account is practically the same as adding a friend. Users can also send messages to official accounts in the same way as their friends. This creates interesting opportunities to use WeChat official account as a customer service platform.

It is fair to say that most companies in China, especially those SME will pay more attention to their WeChat official account than their own website. Many small businesses may not even bother with a formal website as many Chinese users have skipped the desktop era are far more comfortable and familiar with using mobile and in particular, WeChat. They are more likely to find out services or brands through their social circles or scanning a QR code than through a search engine such as Baidu (China’s equivalent to Google).

WeChat provides an open platform for businesses to build their own apps on top of WeChat basically “apps within an app” model. Developing for WeChat is much cheaper and easier than native app development for both Android and iOS. The cost of user acquisition is also far lower than with native apps; adding an official account can be done with one click.

Thanks to the official accounts, companies and brands can interact with their followers guaranteeing a one-to-one and one-to-many service by sending direct messages and news but the possibilties for organisations go far beyond this.

In order to be successful in making use of WeChat official accounts, companies and brands have to understand the social platform and how they can include it in their marketing strategies.

PERSONALIZED CONTENT:

Companies can create content and show new products and offers to followers. The content should be useful, interesting and relevant in order to keep current followers and attract potential ones. This content could be audio messages, videos, photos and texts.

Famous publications like The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Vogue are creating WeChat official accounts to push daily content to subscribers.

CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT:

WeChat acts like a perfect CRM tool due to its one to one or one-to-many communication chanels. Its best use is for loyalty programs and customer relationship management because WeChat allows a personal conversation between brands and followers. It provides users with the feeling of being unique, being the sole focus of the brand, that is an effective strategy to engage them.

In a Valentine’s Day campaign, Tiffany & Co. used WeChat posts to ask followers about the meaning of love by sharing the phrase “Love Is…” .The campaign encouraged users to be engaged in the Tiffany brand and positioned Tiffany jewelry as the appropriate gift for the ones you love. While they were already thinking about love, WeChat users could use a tool within the Tiffany & Co. WeChat official a ccount to find the ideal engagement ring, then use the store locator to see where they could go to buy it. Even if they weren’t ready to head to the store, WeChat users could share animated GIFs from the campaign site, amplifying Tiffany’s creative across their social networks.

LOCATION-BASED MARKETING:

Since WeChat official service accounts can detect user location, they’re a great fit for location-based marketing.

OrderIn, a food delivery service company in South Africa, uses WeChat to show customers a list of local restaurants based on their current location or a specific street address. Customers can browse menus, place their order, and even pay for the food, all within the WeChat app. Once the restaurant receives the order, staff confirm through the WeChat app when the customer would expect the delivery. It’s a seamless ordering experience that never requires customers to pick up the phone or get out their cash or credit card.

QR CODE:

WeChat automatically creates a QR code for each official account. The app also includes a QR code scanner, which allows brands to get creative with QR codes both within and outside of the app. Consumers will usually not be able to find you directly via a search and instead they have to do it through QR codes. That’s why the brand’s QR Code should appear in your packaging, shops, social media and website.

It is important to give a reason to the customer for scanning your QR code. A big incentive for companies to use are offering discounts,E-coupons,Virtual VIP card.

In Korea, discount chain store E-Mart created a three-dimensional sculpture that showed a QR code in shadow when the light hit it at just the right angle. Since lunchtime is a key time for online shopping, that’s when the QR code would appear. Scanning the code took users to the E-Mart WeChat official account, increasing both followers and sales.

CUSTOMER FEEDBACK:

It is a great platform to measure consumer satisfaction because, via WeChat official account, companies can collect users’ feedback, know customers’ opinions on their products, besides present new products in order to know users’ first impressions. Customer service can be offered on WeChat through individual and group chats.This is another benefit, you have a strong feedback loop from prospective customers. Offering chat service will greatly improve your reputation as it is the most convenient method for customers to contact you.

ONLINE-TO-OFFLINE SALES:

Companies are using promotions to move sales from online to offline, for that, launch promotions online and members can use in the retail location. For example, via WeChat official account, brands can send a notice to their followers saying that in the next few hours a promotion will take place in their store. Furthermore, when companies are preparing new product launches, WeChat official account becomes a great tool in order to invite specific subscribers according to their browsing history or location.

WECHAT STORES:

WeChat offers official stores which can be linked to an official account. These micro stores are for the presentation and sale of products and facilitate ease of payment through WeChat’s wallet service. At the click of a screen payment can be made.

WeChat stores and it’s payment infrastructure were made famous through “Mr Bags”, a top tier KOL in high-end fashion & accessories. He partnered with Givenchy and launched a “flash sale” for their limited edition pink bags, selling over a $1 million in 30 minutes.

PAYMENT SERVICE:

Wechat official account has added a payment tool which allows users to purchase products which one-click payment.  Customers can use WeChat payment to link their bank cards and receive some benefits and offers. WeChat Pay has grown extremely rapidly in the past several years. It is now commonly accepted in most stores across China. WeChat Pay sits alongside fierce rival Alipay (Alibaba Group) and China’s default debit & credit card system Union Pay as one of the big 3 payment options for Chinese consumers.

QUALITY DATA ANALYSIS:

When it comes to data analysis, there is a wealth of data to draw on to sharpen up your marketing activities with customer insights, traffic figures, click through rates and impressions.

You can even use different QR Links with a service account to assess and quantify what sources traffic is coming from, for example, if visitors reach you through your official account or a published article. This helps you access the most effective methods for driving your WeChat growth over time.

As a new business you can sell, market your products, offer customer services and engage in promotions all on this one single platform. This is why it’s so important to develop the right strategy in order to leverage these opportunities.

There are many brands such as Burberry, Pepsi, Starbucks or Coach that are already enjoying the WeChat official account benefits.

For instance, Burberry has used its official account to promote an event around its campaign “Art of the Trench”. The followers of the fashion brand had the chance to view a runway show via WeChat official account and also they could receive information from celebrities attending the show. Days before to the opening of its new flagship store in Shanghai, Burberry launched a competition to giveaway tickets to participate in the shop opening. That’s is an example of how brands can take advantage of Wechat official account in order to increase the user’s engagement.

Even traditionally conservative luxury industry brands have been embracing WeChat E-commerce campaigns. In August 2016, Dior sold out a limited edition run of 200 customizable handbags each priced at 28,000 RMB exclusively on WeChat.

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