With rising purchasing power, Chinese consumers are increasingly sophisticated in their consumption choices, with many seeking high-quality and premium imported goods across offline and online channels.
With COVID-19 restricting overseas travelling, there has never been a better time to talk about the importance of cross-border e-commerce.
Worldwide brands have leveraged mainstream cross-border e-commerce platforms such as JD Worldwide, Tmall Global and Yangmatou to start selling their goods to China. However, these platforms often come with high customer acquisition and retention costs while giving marketers limited control over customer data assets.
Against these challenges, WeChat’s mini-program is fueling a new generation of cross-border e-commerce growth in China. It is unique from other e-commerce platforms as it offers not only convenience, but also private domain traffic management capabilities, enabling brands to build customer data assets.
In the following, you will discover the booming trend of WeChat mini-program in China and the crucial role it plays in helping brands establish cross-border e-commerce business with sustaining sales momentum.
The success of the WeChat mini-program in numbers
A mini-app built and accessed within the WeChat ecosystem, WeChat mini-program’s easy-to-use interface allows easy navigation, from online shopping, hotel booking to food ordering and more.
The WeChat mini-program has taken the Chinese e-commerce industry by storm in recent years. From 2019 to 2020 alone, the platform experienced a 33.3% upshot in daily active users, from 300 to 400 million. Meanwhile, the gross merchandise value (GMV) of WeChat mini-program commodity transactions doubled in 2020.
One of the successes behind the mini-program is the virality of WeChat itself. A consumer’s journey often starts with a friend sharing a review of a product or service, or a group buying initiative.
Yet, the biggest advantage of WeChat mini-program is the control brands have over their data. Unlike mainstream e-commerce sites such as Tmall and JD, WeChat mini-program enables brands to manage owned private domain traffic and draw actionable insights for sustainable sales growth in the long run.
International brands will do well to take advantage of this golden opportunity to enter the China’s e-commerce market.
Make your cross-border smart retail business stand out
WeChat has a range of strategic offerings to help brands gain a competitive edge in the Chinese e-commerce market.
The first important step is to set up a store with intuitive localised design and comprehensive e-commerce features such as campaign promotion, coupon, flash sales, group buying and membership loyalty program.
Integrated with cross-border payment function, the WeChat mini-program enables Chinese users to pay in RMB via WeChat Pay. This amount will then be transferred to brands in their local currencies. The mini program also provides cross-border logistics service to support efficient international shipping and custom clearance legally.
Beyond developing a robust cross-border e-commerce mini-program, a thorough marketing strategy is equally important to make your mini-program accessible and reachable. Marketers can leverage KOLs’ live-streaming and advertising in the Tencent ecosystem, including Moment Ad, to stimulate high-quality traffic and sales conversions.
As consumers look for ever more personalised experiences, WeChat’s mini-program, powered by a marketing automation tool, allows marketers to automatically identify sales opportunities among WeChat followers based on behavioral and purchase data analysis. Brands are better able to nurture high potential customers at different stages in the customer journey from WeChat Official Account to WeChat mini-program, as well as automate promotional campaigns, shortening conversion time and improving conversion rates.
Apart from marketing automation, it is critical for brands to master active customer retention and establish long-term relationships through comprehensive private domain traffic data management. The WeChat mini program allows brands to segment high-value customers and launch targeted campaigns, which means more promising sales growth in the future.
WeChat mini-program’s closed marketing loop is perfectly poised to help brands achieve customer acquisition, activation, purchase and retention.
Gollala x iClick Interactive case study
Gollala is a Korean women’s fashion store. Embracing the rising demand of K-fashion in China, the brand wanted to expand its presence in the China market. It rolled out a cross-border e-commerce WeChat mini-program to support the Korea-China cross-border online business at the beginning of Q1 2021.
The store enlisted the support of iClick Interactive, a well-known smart retail strategic partner in China with sophisticated e-commerce operational experiences and cutting-edge technical expertise.
Gollala leveraged iClick’s powerful SaaS-based Cross-border Smart Retail Solution to a build e-commerce store on WeChat mini-program in a short period of time.
By employing targeted promotional coupons and festive flash sales, Gollala is able to engage more users and drive outstanding sales performances. The integration with Tencent Youshu, private a domain traffic data management platform powered by Tencent, helped Gollala gain access to private domain traffic data from various touch points, including mini-program, official account and advertising campaigns.
By helping to accurately create 360-degree customer profiles, track user behaviour, analyze product sales performance, Gollala was better able to evaluate advertising effectiveness and optimize business operations.
COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt put a strain on the global retail industry. The outbreak fundamentally re-ordered customer behaviour and accelerated the shift from off- to online. The WeChat mini-program provides a wealth of opportunities for those looking to embrace digital transformation-and specifically, cross-border e-commerce.
iClick can help scale your cross-border e-commerce business through the WeChat mini-program, bringing you a new way to grow e-commerce sales and implement omni-channel functionality to thrive in China’s competitive e-commerce market.
iClick Interactive Asia Group Limited
Founded in 2009, iClick Interactive Asia Group Limited (NASDAQ: ICLK) is a leading enterprise and marketing cloud platform in China. iClick’s mission is to empower worldwide brands to unlock the enormous market potential of smart retail. With its leading proprietary technologies, iClick's full suite of data-driven solutions helps brands drive significant business growth and profitability throughout the full consumer lifecycle. Headquartered in Hong Kong, iClick currently operates in 11 locations across Asia and Europe.