Fin dal loro lancio i WeChat mini-program sono diventati una pietra miliare per le aziende che vogliono allontanarsi dalle piattaforme iper-dominanti di e-commerce come Alibaba, JD.com.
WeChat nel 2019 ha ospitato circa 2,4 milioni di mini-program, e il valore totale delle transazioni dei mini-program sull’app ha superato gli 800 miliardi di RMB nel 2019, con un aumento del 160% su base annua.

Since their launch, the WeChat mini-programs have become a milestone for companies that want to move away from hyper-dominant e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba, JD.com.
WeChat hosted around 2.4 million mini-programs in 2019, and the total transaction value of the mini-programs on the app exceeded RMB 800 billion in 2019, an increase of 160% year-on-year.

This year, a series of updates to the platform have been launched, which give a further boost to Tencent’s already declared desire to get involved in the world of e-commerce, alongside the major players in online commerce.

But let’s proceed step by step, what are the WeChat mini-programs?

WeChat mini-programs are applications that work within the super app. Users do not have to download or update them through the app store, but only access them while they are on WeChat. According to Jiansu App’s report, WeChat reached 1.2 billion users in the second quarter of 2019, while there were 693 million users registered by Alibaba in the same period.

Are WeChat mini-programs suitable for online games?

WeChat mini-programs are highly likely to breakthrough in the e-commerce market, in fact, they can take advantage of the huge amounts of user data available on WeChat, its business-to-consumer ecosystem, as well as its advertising functions.
In the past, other social commerce applications such as 拼 多多 (pinduoduo) and 小红 书 (xiaohongxu) have shown that the strong relationship between social media and e-commerce is successful in China.

What are the improvements that will be applied to the WeChat mini-programs?

According to Du Jiahui, deputy general manager of the WeChat platform, Tencent’s goal for mini-programs in 2020 is to help developers build their own platforms.

For this reason, several new WeChat functions will be implemented:

1. Improvement of the search function of WeChat that should allow us to include in the results the items sold in the mini-programs. The search for new accounts and new products remains one of the most difficult challenges for the marketer, as WeChat tends to reward word of mouth rather than “organic” research.

2. Introduction of a brand protection system that allows companies to protect their products and help consumers to distinguish authentic from counterfeit products.

3. Implementation of a shipping solution that provides courier services and helps customers track parcels. At the moment the logistics of the products are entrusted to third parties chosen by the individual companies.

Besides, functions that will improve customer interaction will be made available within WeChat mini-programs, such as an improvement in live-streaming, QR codes per product, and technology that allows the recognition of products via camera.

An opportunity not to be underestimated considering that almost all companies that work with China have a WeChat account and on the famous social media they have already cultivated a follower base. Connecting an e-shop on WeChat would allow you to carry that audience directly to the purchase funnel without too much effort to bring customers to other platforms.

Why choose WeChat mini-programs?

From the user’s point of view, the reasons for the success of the WeChat mini-programs are their easy navigation, ease of use, advanced e-commerce features and deep integration with the main features of WeChat such as chat and sharing. At the same time, WeChat mini-programs do not have to be downloaded and are light programs that do not “clog” smartphones further.

From the companies point of view, the WeChat mini-programs allows you to open different types of shops (from local to cross-boarding) and integrate the WeChat functions of promotion, geo-localization, sending of vouchers and CRM. Furthermore, it is very easy for users to share their purchases with friends and thus generate word of mouth.

Several companies often find it difficult to compete with competitors on Tmall or JD.com, where a huge investment in advertising is needed to emerge among thousands of brands. According to the WeChat research report on the significant use and economic influence of QR codes in China, 41% of the brands surveyed believe that the e-shops on WeChat mini-program helped them reduce operating costs for the opening of an online store.

The biggest investment that companies will have to face will be in the growth of their follower base. Although Tencent has promised an improvement in the functions to find new products, we can expect that “organic” research will remain strongly anchored to your follower base.

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