The introduction of WeChat has changed the way companies communicate in China. Nowadays, it is a necessity for brands to have a presence on this Chinese social platform in order to promote their products and services. However, what many do not know is how to go about doing so effectively. In this blog post, we are giving you some tips that will help you market your fashion brand on WeChat!
WeChat in a Nutshell
Launched in 2011, WeChat is a free social media application developed by the Chinese company Tencent. China’s largest social network, WeChat already had 2.8 million users in 2011 and over 1 billion in 2020. In the second quarter of 2021, WeChat had over 1.25 billion monthly active users. WeChat is a popular messaging application that has gained massive popularity among Chinese social media users. It offers a wide range of services, from chatting and sharing posts with friends to ordering and paying for products.
Wechat offers more traditional networking options like video and image sharing, games, stickers, and the ability to share and connect with friends via WeChat Moments. But it’s also a social commerce platform, integrating: WeChat Stores for online shopping. WeChat Pay and WeChat Wallet for payments to online suppliers. It even offers professional functions like tracking expenses. It can be used to book a taxi, a flight, or a medical appointment. It is China’s most popular mobile app but it is important to know that 90% of users are in China.
The Marketing Potential of Wechat
The typical WeChat user was born in the 1980s or 1990s. Users born during this period are the most active users of WeChat of all age groups. About half of WeChat users spend more than 90 minutes on WeChat every day, according to the WeChat 2016 data report. With such a large user base, it was logical and inevitable that WeChat became an indispensable tool for marketers. (even in Luxury)
Why has Wechat become so successful with Chinese netizens?
The mobile application is full of features that contribute to the success of the service and its growing popularity among users.
- Completely free: Obviously, the first good point for the mobile application is it’s free. Of course, many other applications or social networks are free too, but none is as complete or offers so many features without having to pull out the wallet
- Users can share different types of files: text messages, videos, images, audio files
- People nearby: This connects you with people using the app at the same time as you, close to you, and with whom you share common interests: A ” Do you want to be my friend? “Which can be frightening.
- Video calls: Perhaps one of the most interesting tools of the application, is the ability to make video calls, via an internet connection. The best, being able to connect in Wifi and to make its calls free videos is not inconsiderable when one is abroad and that one wants to see and speak to his / her relatives at least cost.
- Limited Advertising: WeChat is limiting the amount of advertising each user is exposed to, which is a nice change of scenari after browsing on any other Chinese websites/social media.
- “Privacy”: Wechat is a closed social media and it is extremely easy for users to decide who can or can not see their content.
- WeChat pay: Pay anywhere using your phone. The practice started democratizing around 2015 and is now with Alipay one of the most used payment methods.
- Mini-program: from taxi-hailing to movie theater tickers or grocery shopping you have access to thousands of mini-apps within Wechat.
How can brands use Wechat for Marketing purposes?
- Lead Generation – Nurturing
WeChat is an excellent tool for lead generation. WeChat allows users to share content on businesses in their social circle, which can result in greater exposure for the company and attract more leads. WeChat also has functions designed to help companies reach the right audience. For example, WeChat Wallet has a coupon-sharing function. Vouchers can be shared when users digitize QR codes and choose to “share with friends”. The good shared will then be available for all users’ friends when they visit their WeChat (Wechat Wallet) portfolio.
This way, even if the person who shares your voucher is not your target audience, the function can help you reach your target customers. There are many other features on WeChat that can help companies gain new leads. For example, many companies provide a Wi-Fi connection to users by asking them to scan a QR code and, to stay connected, users must follow the company account.
- Customer relationship management :
As email and SMS have become less popular in China, brands started to use WeChat as their main hub for customer relationship management. Remember, the core functions of WeChat is messaging, and you can treat the app as a customer services channel. You can do it manually, meaning you have someone that answers your follower’s request but you could also couple this with a menu where the most common questions and requests are treated like automation. It saves you time and your followers get their needs attended to right away.
Besides marketing, Wechat integrated CRM can help a brand keep customers loyal and generate leads. Enhance the customer experience and generate reviews in multi-channels, and tailored customer support to keep customers engaged more with the brands. Email marketing in China should be replaced as a creation of newsletter replacement for the followers. Speaking of integrated WeChat CRM, there are also some third-party options that can help you with strategies– Youzan, Parlay, Jing social, Weimob, and drip.
CRM helps you make every decision based on customer-oriented. After gathering their history of interaction with brands, transaction history, and demographic characters by their QR code scanning and analysis, you can tailor your content for each specific segment at a suitable time or location. New collections announcement, articles, marketing, and advertisement all can be pushed to the users who scans your QR codes or follow your official account. Then, you can schedule your posting time. For message management, chatbots and auto-reply save your time to receive and respond to the message.
- Wechat Content Marketing :
WeChat is an incredible tool that many companies don’t take the time to learn. It’s easy for them, but if you aren’t careful your account will start losing followers and it can be hard work getting those numbers back up again! The best way we’ve found in order to keep our following growing on WeChat without overdoing anything too artificial or spammy? Make sure there is regularity in interesting and useful updates – actually treat your Wechat posts like you would a newsletter.
WeChat is a channel where the Chinese read. The Chinese read the information in their Moments feed and on the official accounts they follow. In addition, people can search for content to be read in the WeChat application. WeChat users connect up to 90 minutes per day on the application, although this time is generally divided throughout the day into many micro-moments. Therefore, publishing content on WeChat is a great way to capture the fragmented time that people spend on mobile.
Official accounts can regularly transmit shared content to their followers, may it be from the post or WeChat channels. If the content is not relevant to them, these people are less likely to interact with the brand the next time they publish something. Therefore, it is important to segment users and creates customized content for each group. Only if you target the right content in the right group, it will be shared and will have the chance to become viral.
- Wechat Paid Advertisement :
WeChat has its own advertising platform. It can be used for :
- Promote the official account in order to gain more followers
- Send traffic to the user’s website (outside WeChat)
- Send users to a download page from the APP store.
Advertisements can be displayed in the user’s WeChat Moments as live social announcements or at the bottom of articles in other official accounts. We will delve into WeChat paid advertising more in detail later in this post.
- WeChat Payment solution :
WeChat allows you to perform online transactions in the application. WeChat Pay is currently one of the most popular mobile payment methods in China. It was launched for the first time in 2014. It is also widely used offline in stores, where payments can be made by scanning a QR code. It is amazing how much WeChat Pay has been used: in the areas of daily life, including on vending machines, in shops, and in restaurants …
WeChat Pay certainly has a huge market in China and the practical means of payment certainly has the potential to expand elsewhere. Indeed, WeChat Pay targets the global market. As of January 2016, WeChat Pay has been available to foreign companies, which means that Chinese customers can immediately pay foreign suppliers in Chinese Yuan using the application.
WeChat for Brands and Businesses
So, now that we’ve mentioned the benefits that WeChat can offer, let’s get to how WeChat actually works.
Create your WeChat official account first.
Create a WeChat official account that allows you to access group messaging, direct messaging, comment management, voting, automatic reply, a customized menu, articles publishing, etc. Marketing, eCommerce, and CRM are what you can expect to conduct with your WeChat official account.
Why do I need an official account?
Credibility. Verified accounts look more professional and credible than personal ones do and there are some advanced features that won’t be available until the account is verified (such as Mobile Payment or Geo-location). The business license of a company in China and an organization certificate is also required. To access the WeChat official account, QR code scanning from physical products with promotions and features on the Weibo page can help communicate and advertise directly with followers. Active official accounts help to stand out on account pages in the WeChat search engine.
What are the different types of WeChat official accounts?
There are four WeChat official account types that enable external and internal communication.
- Subscription Account: content and information sharing, community management, and marketing. It allows you to push newsfeed to your followers, best suited for businesses whose content is core.
- Service Account: Geolocalisation, WeChat pay, WeChat store, customer services, and tools support, sales support. This enables you to respond to customers’ messages in a limited time. 4 WeChat posts/months with push notification (your followers will be notified as if a friend texted them). In our experience, the best type of WeChat accounts for companies.
- WeChat Work(Corporate Account): internal usage for WeChat ecosystem management
- Mini Program: an integrated app that users don’t need to install and can use directly from their WeChat account. Brands can use mini-program in many ways: Mini-game, eCommerce, membership management, booking, and so on.
Read Also: Open A Wechat Official Account
What Type of WeChat official account is best for fashion and luxury brands?
- The service account features more sales-related functions to help you generate more transactions with customized functional menu supports and WeChat Pay support. It also can push your post to the chat list. Unless you need to publish daily, we suggest you go for a service account. Wechat Post from service accounts with their push notification also has a better engagement rate than posts published from subscription accounts.
- Mini Programs are a great complement to a service account. Many fashions and luxury brands have several mini-program from the WeChat store to booking an offline slot in a luxury store or introducing a new collection in an interactive way. WeChat mini-program since its launch in 2017 has gained momentum and is part of everyday life in China.
How to make the best use of the available tools to promote my fashion brand on WeChat?
WeChat is a powerful tool that companies can use to extend their digital presence. Brands should invest in We Chat H5 Brochures, mini-programs, channels, and so on, so they have more exposure during search via people’s social feeds. This will generate new leads as well as constantly push marketing information out there for followers who may not see it otherwise – generating tons of free advertising!
WeChat users can search products, brands, and official accounts in “Search”. Compare to place advertisements, SEO saves your budget and can be effective in the long run. Most of your digital presence in WeChat can be searched on the results page, use strategies to rank higher can bring you more free visibility.
Learn more about WeChat Search Tool
What is WeChat SEO
There is a search engine called Search in WeChat. People search for things in Search and mini-program in the WeChat ecosystem. Optimizing your information and content to be ranked higher in the search engines will help you pop up on the search results page. On the search results page, the information is offered in articles, videos, brand mini-program, etc.
How to do WeChat SEO?
- Be relevant between your name and category showcasing in Weixin ID
- Complete your brand zone presence when searched on Search in WeChat
- Regularly activate the WeChat official account with more quality content and relevant tags to be ranked higher
- Verify your account
- Outlinks from other sites
WeChat H5 Brochure
Wechat Brochures are mobile webpages in HTML5 that are great to introduce a company, its products, a new collection and event, and so on.
Why are they beneficial for fashion and luxury brands?
It allows brands to be creative and attract viewers through interactive games, quizzes, and animated brochures. Using these features can help generate new leads and sales with product marketing, sales promotions, and events.
Here are some web page tools to help you design the layout. After the page is completed, H5 can be shared through articles within channels in WeChat. With QR codes of official accounts and multi-channels attached at the bottom of the website can increase more publicity of your brand seen in most brands’ strategies such as Versace.
WeChat Mini Programs
The highlight of Mini-programs allows brands to build e-commerce and sell products within. Foreign brands such as Roger Vivier, Isabel Marant, Giorgio Armani all create their mini program which is a mini-app in WeChat to complete their digital presence. By the end of 2019, WeChat has over 1 million mini-programs across 200 industries. On average, consumers use the mini-program four times per day, and 72% of WeChat users use it. It provides a wide range of marketing options such as group buying, live streams, games, and social sharing to friends and moments.
Why are Wechat mini-programs a must for fashion and luxury brands?
WeChat mini-programs functioned as your own app but built-in WeChat ecosystem. You can save the investment to build an app and access social sharing within WeChat directly. Although mini-program was created in 2020, lots of premium brands have joined to activate this platform including lots of foreign luxury and fashion brands. Users can also reach your mini-program through Search in WeChat. “Mini Programs Nearby” leads users to discover the new brands geographically and generate potential offline traffic. “Popular” brings recommendations of mini-programs to users. After WeChat buyers order, they can track the order same as eCommerce experience.
WeChat Paid Advertising
There are 3 major types of WeChat advertising. Tencent does not take advertising applications from the real estate and financial industries. Advertising can be your promotion event, e-coupon, membership card, new collections, etc. Moments advertisement and banner advertisement all allow you to drive traffic to WeChat official accounts, stores, or H5 web pages through ads.
1. WeChat Moments Advertisement
In ads, you can include 40 characters or 6-15 seconds short videos and target viewers based on location, interests, age, gender, device, and phone network. The bidding price is 1000 RMB for a day and starting price is 50,000 RMB for a campaign.
2. WeChat Banner Advertisement
- Banner Advertisements can link to WeChat H5 Brochure and Mini Program Page. Charged cheaper than Moments advertisement
- H5 Brochure: middle and bottom of an article, pre-roll video
- Mini Program page: bottom of a page, pop-up
- WeChat Key Opinion Leader Advertising
Word-of-mouth and reviews are important to Chinese customers as they make their purchasing decisions.
Read more: Wechat Paid Ads
Launched for beta testing in early 2020, WeChat Channels is a new short video platform within WeChat that lets users create and share videos on their own private channels. This unique feature provides an opportunity to increase engagement with friends by keeping them engaged on all things related – from entertainment-themed clips during downtime at work or school; to something more serious like providing emotional support when dealing with tough times outside of social media!
There is a wealth of content on WeChannels, with many different channels dedicated solely for this purpose: from L’Oreal’s advertising videos uploaded into the company’s own channel.
Why are Wechat Channels a must for Fashion & Luxury brands?
In 2021, video content is definitely a must. As every social media, you can name is filled with video content, so as popular social media specializing in the video such as Douyin and Kuaishou in China(similar to TikTok). In 2020, there are 150 million daily active users and 300 million monthly active users on the leading platform, Douyin. In the future, there will only be more and more video contents appearing. Louis Vuitton presents some short videos of the FW 2020 event on WeChat Channels. Several celebrities and KOLs registered their official verified video accounts as well.
WeChat Channels is a build-in platform majoring in videos. Videos uploaded to WeChat Channels can be saved for over 24 hours. Users can share those videos directly with friends and share them on their own Moments(socially sharing for personal WeChat community). Also, It allows you to set the notification of scheduled live streams in advance. Account owners can still check all the comments after the live stream. Videos can help you build a community and live streams enable you to engage your customers and viewers.
WeChat Group Marketing
As word-of-mouth builds more reliability of a brand, service, and product in China. WeChat groups can bond similar targets within a group and expand afterward. Businesses can deliver updated and special information directly to correspondent groups as well.
Case Study: As we can see from what the Perfect Diary brand does on WeChat, they have an administrator constantly pushing promotions campaigns to their own groups. Administrators participate in the group conversation sometimes. The character of the administrator is designed to be similar to a friend who shares good products with you, shares discount information with you, and is constantly interacting with you to bonding with group members as a close community.
This works similarly to what influencers do without actually paying collaboration fees with celebrities, KOLs, or KOCs. Their administrator shares the Livestream channel, link guided to mini-program and pop-up group for a campaign when the brand launches new collections or promotes as their own advertisement channel.
However, there is a limitation on the member numbers. The maximum number is 500 people. In China, only WeChat Pay users can still join your group after surpassing 100 people which does not limit foreign WeChat users.
Wechat Loyalty Program
With your official account, you can create an online loyalty program on WeChat. If a customer decides to join the program, his / her WeChat account (telephone number and WeChat ID) will be connected to a geo-localized map. You can offer members: promotional offers, discount coupons, or invitations to private events.
How to sell on WeChat? Fashion and Luxury E-commerce on WeChat
An efficient way to attract Chinese customers is by having a strong digital presence. Social media is highly used in China netizens’ daily life and WeChat is the leading one. The potential of WeChat e-commerce is not always judged fairly. Indeed, the feature has shown constant growth and is expected to go from a GMV of around 2.46 trillion yuan in 2019 to 13 trillion yuan in 2023. Gucci, Remora, Sergio Rossi, and Dior create their online e-commerce on WeChat.
Why luxury and fashion brands should be doing eCommerce on Wechat?
Although WeChat Ecommerce (and more broadly eCommerce on social media apps), is not as developed as dedicated eCommerce apps such as Tmall, we are observing the rise of social commerce, notably through live-streaming. Because building a WeChat store does not require a lot of financial or human resources, it comes as a nice complement to other selling channels you may have, although keep in mind, that it will never be your main eCommerce channel.
The massive and active platform of WeChat eCommerce can benefit from the smoothness of its own WeChat ecosystem–social sharing on Moments and direct message delivery to contact as well as pushing promotions, campaigns, and direct Q&A to followers through the message group. Sales advisors can communicate with customers for product details, and services and even help select the products based on WeChat users’ needs.
You can either choose to build your WeChat H5 store or eCommerce in mini-programs. The latter enables you to completely present yourself as your own app for the collection presenting, new campaign banner, membership, shopping cart, etc, with your personal information and WeChat Pay connected for the convenience of online purchasing.
Wechat Guide for Fashion & Luxury brands, Conclusion:
WeChat ecosystem allows brands to build their eCommerce, and blog and directly engage with followers and customers. Complete your digital presence and service in WeChat can bring customized experience to your targets and maintain long-term CRM. Creative and right strategies for each specific segment can make you stand out from other WeChat official accounts. At last, depending on your budget, paid advertisement and free SEO all can help you generate new leads and promote your campaigns.
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