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Why WeChat Social Marketing is a New Trend of Chinese E-Commerce in 2018

By ESC Editorial Team, over 5 years ago Business
Why WeChat Social Marketing is a New Trend of Chinese E-Commerce in 2018

The rapid uptake of TikTok App[1]  and Pinduoduo App[2] startled many E-commerce merchants, especially Taobao merchants who are addicted to the three outdated marketing methods including Taobao Zhitongche[3], Taobao Zuanshi[4], Shuadan[5]. How can you bring traffic to the store with this social method? Obviously, the new era of e-commerce has arrived. 

[1] TikTok App: a currently popular Chinese music video platform as well as a social network that allows users to create and edit short videos of 15 seconds.
[2] Pinduoduo App: a mainstream Chinese mobile shopping app which lets users buy products at a lower price when shopping with friends, families or neighbours. 
[3] Taobao Zhitongche: a new pay-for-performance marketing tool, released by Alibaba’s Yahoo and Taobao. Merchants can promote the keywords(less than 200) for each product for free, and only pay for actual clicks on the keywords. 
[4] Taobao Zuanshi: a Taobao graphic advertising, bidding, and sales platform which provides marketing services to Taobao merchants. Zuanshi gets traffic by attracting buyers to click on the creative images.
[5] Shuadan: a list of merchants who provide money for shopping and hire fake customers to buy certain products and write good reviews to increase sales and trustworthiness.

Recently, Jingdong "618" sales promotions in 2018 unexpectedly revealed that Jingdong will establish private domain traffic this year to link the fans of Jingdong Stores and official WeChat accounts to build private domain traffic.

Setting up private domain traffic on WeChat with more than 1 billion users will benefit Jingdong, which Taobao cannot beat at the moment.

In 2018, Chinese e-commerce retailers are looking for better marketing methods because the best year of Zhitongche, Zuanshi and Shuadan has gone. The rising marketing costs are disadvantageous for small to medium sized merchants. Due to increasing traffic, they have to spend more money on marketing and operations. However, the return on investment (ROI) is low.

With the large group of 1 billion users on WeChat, many Taobao traders have already set up their own traffic platform. The most common way is to give rewards for good reviews. On the one hand, it eases the stress of optimising dealer DSR (Detail, Seller, Rating). On the other hand, by connecting WeChat and former customers, it allows more sustainable interactions and leads former customers to purchase again.

At present, most merchants use personal WeChat accounts to manually pay the reward. As the order quantity grows, more customer service representatives are required to deal with the orders. Efficiency and management are becoming major issues. A womenswear retailer, who wants to remain anonymous, says they now have over 100 personal WeChat accounts and more than 30 customer service representatives to manage those accounts. The labour costs of one month are over 100,000 RMB. But the effect of customer maintenance is not controllable. How to manage personal WeChat accounts effectively at lower costs is an urgent problem for her at present.

Besides, the personal WeChat account has limitations on the fans’ interaction. For example, it requires one-to-one operations to share WeChat Moments and send group messages. And, it can not deliver targeted promotion tweets according to the data analysis of fan purchases on personal WeChat accounts. The benefit of monetising traffic with this method is also not obvious. Therefore, there is a serious imbalance in the input-output ratio in order to obtain rewards for good reviews by using a personal WeChat account with a personal customer service.

Aside from rewards for good reviews, what added value does WeChat offer to merchants? 

The slogan of WeChat’s official account is: Even small businesses can build their own brands. On WeChat, merchants can engage in fan marketing, branding and exploiting user interests. But how can they overcome the barriers between Taobao and WeChat?

1. Bulk import of customers into WeChat’s official account

Two common methods are: 1. Placing an after-sales card with the QR code of WeChat’s  official account in the order package. 2. Sending a short message to prompt customers to track their WeChat official account after ordering. The attractive points of these two ways for customers to follow their WeChat official account are small cash bonuses, gifts, membership discounts, or product news (for example, clothing retailers can supply the latest clothing or fashion collocation).

2. Interaction to increase fans’ participation of WeChat’s official accounts

(1) Creating a bonus point system for members on WeChat official accounts. For example, Starbucks and McDonald's customers can earn bonus points on the official account by logging in, participating in activities, or making purchases every day. The member’s bonus point system on official accounts is one way to increase customer loyalty to the brand and ultimately leads customers to repurchase by offering bonus point discounts, redemptions etc.

(2) Move the service to WeChat. Why should the Taobao merchants move the service to WeChat? Obviously, merchants and customers have trade relations on Taobao. And due to platform constraints, it is difficult for them to develop in-depth communication to develop a good relationship. However, merchants can turn their customer service into individual IPs on WeChat. For example, on WeChat, retailers who sell women's clothing can make the customer service representative a “Miss Web Star” to teach clothing matching skills, while retailers selling fitness equipment can turn their customers into trainers, and familiarise them with fitness knowledge and workout skills. According to the shopping habits, customers will be tagged in different groups and receive different targeted promotion contents. In this way it can enhance the attention and interest of the customers on the merchants and increase the order conversion.

(3) Motivate customers with interactive games. Merchants can organise interactive activities like polls for new products, the most beautiful buyers show, and festival lucky draws on the WeChat official account. It can get fans to participate, which in turn will bring more new active fans.

How to launch a viral marketing campaign on WeChat?
Get useful skills from our free book: The Social Media Fever in China

3. Use the value of the fans on the WeChat official account to improve order conversion

Marketing promotion is worthless without order conversion! In the first stage, merchants can attract followers, manage labels and interact. Thereafter, targeted and accurate marketing can be done during the various activities of the store. For example, before the Jingdong’s 618 big promotion starts, the traders will make worthwhile purchases rewarding their official account fans by allowing them to collect and store the goods in the shopping cart in advance and to receive the cash-back coupons to end the purchases on the day of the 618 big promotion. It is a smart way to increase sales on this day.

With the fragmentation of platform traffic, the increasing cost of customer acquisition reflects the lower profits from the Zhitongche activities. Through WeChat social groups marketing, customer care and private-domain building, e-commerce retailers at, and can achieve higher sales conversion at lower cost. In this way they can achieve greater profit margins and better customer loyalty than using three outdated methods. It will be an inevitable trend of Chinese e-commerce in 2018.

Continue to read more cases of WeChat Marketing:
Global luxury brands embrace WeChat marketing for 2018 Chinese Valentine’s Day
Pinduoduo brings a new "social-ecommerce" model to the Chinese market

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Comments (Customer Reviews 3)

  • By Brinksley Hong June 15th, 2018

    WeChat is more than just a social communication platform in China. The article teaches useful skills on how to use WeChat for effective marketing!

    Please to reply.

    By JWL Merticular: @Brinksley Hong Is it possible for overseas merchants to use WeChat to do marketing in China?
    July 13th, 2018

    By JWL Merticular: @Brinksley Hong Is it possible for overseas merchants to use WeChat to do marketing in China?
    July 13th, 2018

  • By VetallaMart June 16th, 2018

    Thanks for sharing these ideas. I have searched the TikTok app, there are many Chinese making the 15 seconds funny and interesting videos. The amazing part is that anyone here can be a traffic king if your video attracting people, leading them to share it through their WeChat moments or Weibo. But for the WeChat official account, I've no idea how it is working, until reading this article. Can you make more examples of the brands who have done successful promotions through it?

    Please to reply.

    By Ecommerce Strategy China: @VetallaMart Thanks for your comment! We will be providing more cases studies and content about successful marketing campaigns using the various WeChat features! Please stay tuned to our column!
    March 13th, 2019

    By TzwSVsOw: @VetallaMart 555
    December 7th, 2023

  • By john gortatowski December 11th, 2018

    I have your QR code on my PC I hit the ENABLE and ADDRESS? an Inferface ? show up I hit OK for more setting ask for ACCOUNT? an PASSWORD? I need someone to tell or show me what to do please ?

    Please to reply.

    By Ecommerce Strategy China: @john gortatowski Hi! You need to register or login a WeChat account to get access to all of the features.
    March 13th, 2019

    By TzwSVsOw: @Ecommerce Strategy China 555
    December 10th, 2023

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