It’s the most popular messaging app in the most populous country. 79.1% of smartphone users in China will use WeChat this year, equating to more than 585 million people, according to eMarketer. And this rises to 938 million active users per month when you factor in other countries.
If you have customers in China – or target Chinese customers living abroad – you can’t afford to ignore WeChat.
This brief introduction gives you the basics to kick-start your WeChat strategy.
WeChat – messaging and more
At its heart, WeChat is a messaging app. Known as Weixin in China, it’s the dominant player in a market with no access to Facebook or Twitter.
However, its functionality goes beyond simple messaging. It includes video conferencing, gaming and media sharing, and its payment business has 600 million average daily transactions as users pay for everything from transport to takeaways. The description ‘ecosystem’ often used to describe technology truly fits in this context because WeChat is the app of choice for so many things.
China’s big, but WeChat’s expanding
WeChat is an obvious channel for businesses that target Chinese customers. Although it’s available worldwide and is increasingly popular in markets across Southeast Asia, Africa and India, the overwhelming majority of users are in Mainland China. And you need to have a business presence registered in Mainland China to market to users there.
However, WeChat is eyeing European and US expansion with opportunities for companies to sell products and advertise on its retail platform, feeding its users’ demand for Western brands. And it’s Africa’s fastest growing social communication platform, so it’s essential to marketing strategies for that region, too.
WeChat offers a number of ways for marketers to engage customers
- Personalised and location-based marketing: WeChat users follow you by scanning a dedicated QR code. You’re then able to push a range of content directly to their smartphone. Whether it’s discounts and promotions or news and local event invitations, you can segment and target your marketing in a way that drives engagement and loyalty. You can also target content marketing campaigns and drive user-generated content.
- Customer service: Because WeChat offers such a range of services via a single platform, you offer a more customer-centric experience by providing service and support as well. From the customer perspective, it’s another channel to choose from – and it’s one that syncs with their mobile usage habits and on-the-go lifestyle. From your perspective, you can improve customer service efficiency and deflect inbound calls.
- Integration: You can manage WeChat marketing and customer service together with your other channels, so you maximise opportunities to streamline operations and get value from data. Call centre agents don’t need to have a separate WeChat window open. Your customers can follow you, buy from you and pay you via a single platform. And you don’t have to aggregate campaign and performance statistics or customer information manually.
Use WeChat to improve your cross-channel customer experience
It’s easy to roll out WeChat as another weapon in your engagement arsenal and boost ROI on your other investments.