This guest blog post was written James Campbell, Co-Founder of our WeChat specialist partners, Tong Digital. Diligent Commerce and Tong Digital have been working together for 2 years creating industry-leading WeChat stores that are integrated directly with your Magento ecommerce (Community and Enterprise Edition), allowing you to smoothly manage stock between websites.
With the excesses of China’s ‘Singles Day’ and the $25.3bn sold during the 24-hour festival fresh in our minds, many an ecommerce manager is wondering how to get in on the act.
You might think the answer to this is a listing on JD or Tmall, China’s ecommerce giants. However, doing so would be overlooking the assets ‘British brand’ ecommerce managers already have – their carefully crafted ecommerce site and brand equity they’ve cultivated online. Simply to join the ranks of these discounters would be a waste of those hard-won resources.
Thankfully there is another way to sell online in China – linking your brand with your account on China’s most popular social network, WeChat.
Here are just a few of the benefits of doing so –
1. Chinese Shoppers are All WeChat Users
It might seem like an exaggeration to claim that all ecommerce shoppers are WeChat users, but this is almost certainly now the case in China. WeChat now has 902 million active users daily and 797 million of them follow brand accounts through the platform.
So where other social networks capture certain market segments, WeChat is the only network that can reach all of your customers, making it the ideal base for your store.
With the average user spending over 110 minutes a day on WeChat, the platform is already where your customer spends their time. Why not sell there too?
2. Mobile-Only for a Nation of Mobile Shoppers
Whilst the adoption of mcommerce has been slower to pick up in the West, China is well ahead of the curve. During ‘Singles Day’ 2017, Alibaba saw 90% of ecommerce sales made on mobile devices, a total of some $22.8bn.
As a mobile-only social network, WeChat is the ideal place to base your store in China, as consumers can shop directly from your brand’s social content.
In fact, integrating a Magento store with WeChat is so seamless that many customers will feel like they are still interacting with the app, with all the trust and convenience that entails.
3. WeChat is the Super App – Integrated Mobile Wallets for easy shopping
Seamless payments are a key part of any ecommerce experience and this is especially the case in China.
With Chinese payment providers often unwilling or unable to work with foreign companies (FATCA having nothing on its Chinese equivalent) many Western brands are forced into partnerships with poor rates or onerous conditions. Worse still, many fall back on their global providers or only accept international credit cards, severely limiting access for the vast majority of Chinese consumers.
By contrast, the integration of your Magento ecommerce site and WeChat brings with it access to WeChat Pay, a mobile payments system similar to ApplePay that is already widely used in China.
As one of the largest tech companies in the world (recently valued higher than Facebook WeChat’s parent company Tencent can cut through the government red-tape in accepting foreign payments. It provides seamless integration with your Magento site and, on the consumer end, extends the trust behind the WeChat brand to your payments.
For consumers it’s an easy decision – spend minutes trying each credit card in your wallet to find one that works with a foreign website, or click WeChat Pay to autofill your address details, pay with a four-digit code and continue browsing. We all know which we’d prefer.
4. Drive customer loyalty & retargeting
On integrating your Magento ecommerce site and WeChat account you’ll have access to an essential CRM tool in the Chinese market.
Where in the West email dominates, in China email has been utterly superseded by WeChat, whether in the office or at home.
When you integrate with WeChat you’ll have access to turbo-charged CRM – unlike email, you’ll be able to segment your customers from the get-go, with access to detailed user information and customisation tools.
WeChat is one of the more intimate social networks in the world, in which users interact with brands just like they message friends and family. With the backing of its inbuilt social tools, you’ll be perfectly placed to tailor your messages in the manner your customers expect – cultivating a truly luxury shopping experience.
5. Most Online Retailers are thoroughly mass market – despite their efforts
Finally, linking your Magento store and your WeChat account is the only way to ensure you represent your brand in China in a manner you control.
You are able to exactly replicate, the look, feel and brand experience that has won you, customers, globally. You are able to refine and reimagine this experience for Chinese consumers as you sell into China with total control. You’ll know exactly what works and what doesn’t because you’ll own the store – just as you do with your brand.com.
Check out an example below of how luxury ecommerce brands look on WeChat:
By contrast, entering the market through one of China’s ecommerce giants – Tmall, JD or VIPShop for example – you’ll surrender control over your UX and your customers in the same way as you do with Amazon. Yes, you receive exposure to their legions of users, but in return, your brand will be squeezed into the same template as any other and sold alongside toothpaste and washing machines. As you can see from the examples below, it’s hardly luxury:
Despite its attempts to move up the value chain, as this offering for Bottega Veneta’s official store in JD.com shows, it is not a luxury experience. Likewise, luxury items do not feel exclusive when Tmall highlights the month’s sales at checkout (circled in red)
Want help integrating WeChat and Magento?
Need help setting up and managing your luxury WeChat store? The Tong team has already helped several high street and premium quality brands succeed on WeChat. Get in touch with them by emailing James at Tong Digital on firstname.lastname@example.org
Already have a WeChat store or need help upgrading to Magento 2? Speak to our expert Magento team on +44(0)2077395745 or email email@example.com to find out how we can integrate your Magento website with your WeChat store.