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3 social commerce lessons from WeChat’s mini-apps (Part 1)

2019-01-07 5 minute read China; Global

Wechat Miniapps 微信小程序


  • Mini-apps: low-cost data pools
  • Targeting consumers via WeChat

WeChat mini-apps are driving China’s social commerce environment; shaping and influencing the world’s biggest e-commerce market. Here’s why exporters should be embracing the opportunity.

The retail value of WeChat mini programs (also known as mini-apps) reached an estimated ¥707bn gross merchandise volume (GMV) in 2018.

Although mini-apps are a relatively young market, since launching in early 2017, the impact they’ve had on Chinese social and market culture is hard to ignore.

Out of WeChat’s 1 billion Monthly Active Users (MAUs), mini-apps have cultivated more than 170 million active users.

This huge user base with active, flourishing engagement is contributing significantly to China’s move towards a cashless, e-commerce consumer market. Mini-apps are a consumer trend that’s continually growing stronger.

For a long-term, low-cost, sustainable export strategy that boosts sales, social media commerce is the future.

We’re picking out top lessons learned from successful, innovative WeChat campaigns and how you can adapt it to your needs.

Check the first one out below.

Make it convenient

Chain supermarket store Yonghui uses a lighter version of its Yonghui Life App on WeChat in order to bring convenience to their customers.

Users can order their groceries via the “Home Delivery” service in the mini-app to receive their products within 30 minutes.

Yonghui also integrates online to offline experience within the mini app. While shopping in the physical stores, users can access the programme for an expedited check-out, paying through WeChat Pay, so that they don’t have to queue.

Yonghui Life Wechat Mini Program

Karen Chan, an Equity Analyst at the multinational investment bank, Jefferies, says they see “Mini Programs as an important tool to empower merchants and brands in acquiring traffic at a lower cost through WeChat’s large social network.”

Yonghui’s WeChat MiniApp campaign saw user digitisation rate rise from 30% to 87%Yonghui

Since the introduction of Yonghui’s convenience-focused Life Mini App, the rate of users using its O2O (online to offline) services has risen from 30% to 87%.

That means that the mini-app has not only gained Yonghui a reputation for fast, expedited service but also upgraded their pool of available data in order to push personalised marketing that will help drive sales.

The mini-app becomes both a marketing tool and a data resource. Through establishing direct links with consumers, brands can leverage social currency while still being efficient with cross-border exporting costs.

What next

The social integration of mini-apps can lead to direct conversions at a comparatively low cost compared to traditional marketing routes; opening up possibilities for companies while staying ahead of localised market trends.

Setting the right strategy for social commerce is an integral part of any exporter’s key action plan. ACOLINK’s social media services launch brands on social visibility pathways to optimise sales and accelerate growth through these Chinese e-platforms. Contact us to find out how to make WeChat mini app marketing work for you, or sign up for our Let’s Do China workshops.

This is part one of our “Social Commerce Lessons for Exporters” series — please check back soon, or subscribe for updates.