Along with the rise in disposable income and lasting perception that foreign brands have higher quality products, Chinese consumers are increasingly buying products though cross-border e-commerce. This growth in cross-border e-commerce offers an alternative gateway for foreign brands selling products, especially for overseas brands that lack the scale to establish a physical store in China.
And for brands who are planning to launch full-size stores, cross-border e-commerce is a great way to establish their presence and test the market. WeChat shop has become a cornerstone for brands who want to get involved with e-shopping and sell their products directly without having a Chinese business license.
Table of Contents
- What is a WeChat shop?
- Features of WeChat shop
- How to open a WeChat shop for cross-border e-commerce?
- Advantages of WeChat shop for selling cross-border e-commerce
- Tips to generate traffic to your WeChat shop
What is a WeChat shop?
WeChat shop or store is one of the easiest ways to start selling products in China. A WeChat shop is essentially an e-commerce platform that exists within the WeChat app. It functions as a mobile website that connects directly to the menu of an Official WeChat Account.
Features of WeChat shop
WeChat shops may come off as a bit complicated to use, but the process is relatively easy even for first-time users. Here are some of the top features that make WeChat shops so popular:
- Product access: WeChat stores give access to a wide range of products with one click payments via WeChat or other apps such as Alipay.
- Seamless integration: WeChat stores are linked to Official accounts so discounts can be sent directly to customers. Stores also make it easy to create links from influencer campaigns to product pages.
- Easy to identifying customers: Brands can identify customers directly from official accounts to focus on a specific target group and re-target users based on WeChat store behavior. Even if customers don’t make a purchase, you can collect their information to connect with them after they leave the store.
- Social sharing: Shops are easily sharable and can lead to viral campaigns for group buying.
- Offline access: WeChat shops can be accessed through offline-to-online conversion via QR codes.
- Customer service: Through being connected via the WeChat account, it’s easy to speak to customers and give personalized support.
How to open a WeChat shop for cross-border e-commerce?
The great news for foreign companies is that opening up a WeChat store is way less hassle than opening up an account for other social media services in China. Foreign companies without any Chinese business license can create WeChat shops and utilize all the functions that the mobile website has to offer considering that they are linked directly to official accounts.
- The first thing that you need to do is open a WeChat Official Account, which can be a service account for foreign companies. There are a few ways that you can register:
- Borrow a business license from a business partner or use a third-party company to register an account (this method needs to be verified annually and you will have to use a Western payment solution such as PayPal considering the shop can only connect to the company which provided the business license).
- Apply for an account with a foreign business license directly though Tencent (this method can take up to 2 months and cost $99 USD to open).
- Apply for a WeChat cross-border payment account. This form of payment doesn’t require you to have a Chinese bank account and Chinese customers pay in RMB.
- Foreign companies can collect payments in USD, HKD, AUD or NZD.
- WeChat automatically handles currency conversions and overseas transfers.
- Create a WeChat store. Brands have the option to create and design their own WeChat store, but most brands and companies take advantage of third-party WeChat store providers. Here are a few WeChat store providers to check out:
- Weidan: Weidan is one of the most popular WeChat shops and is a cheaper route than Youzan. It can be a good choice for individual re-sellers who don’t have a large budget.
- Youzan: Youzan is a domestic WeChat store provider with price ranges between 6,800 rmb to 26,800 rmb depending on all the features that you want for your business.
- Sekkei Studio: Sekkei Studio is an e-commerce cross-border solution for brands that want to maintain their core brand image. Contact us to learn more.
- Partner with an e-commerce cross-border fulfillment company. E-commerce fulfillment enables you to conveniently track your packages and find the best couriers to ship your products, which relieves a lot of stress if you lack the capacity to directly manage inventory. Floship is a fulfillment solutions company that makes shipping easy with their seamless integration of top e-commerce platforms, such as Magneto, Shopfiy and Amazon.
Advantages of WeChat shop for selling cross-border e-commerce
WeChat plays a critical role in helping brands market to Chinese consumers throughout the entire customer’s journey. By taking advantage of WeChat shops, brands have a great marketing and CRM tool that enables them to engage customers for the long run and in very creative ways. Brands can also make use of WeChat mini programs, which can also provide e-commerce services. This allows brands to have their own cross-border e-commerce mini stores without having to rely on third-party marketplaces. However, it is recommended to use both. Mini programs can be used for a seamless user experience and mobile WeChat shops can be used to work in other platforms like Weibo, which means more conversions for your brand.
On top of that, it is very easy to access and track customer data with WeChat official accounts. This allows brands to build a very detailed customer profile to segment users and improve their cross-border selling strategy. This wealth of data also allows brands to build a deep customer relationship with incentives and provide excellent customer services to the user.
Tips to generate traffic to your WeChat shop
- Use Chinese influencers: A lot of brands leverage Chinese bloggers and influencers to promote their products. Endorsements from influencers are very beneficial for new companies entering China.
- Take advantage of WeChat display ads: Utilize WeChat moment ads, WeChat banner ads, or WeChat mini program ads to drive traffic to your store of official account.
- Partner with other WeChat Official Accounts: Cross-promotion is a powerful method to gain new followers. It’s recommended to partner with accounts in your industry or accounts targeting the same users.
Chinese millennials are undeniably the most digital active group in the world and cross-border e-commerce through WeChat shops are a great way to directly tap into the e-commerce market. If designed correctly and used with the right marketing strategy, WeChat shops will increase engagement of your WeChat Official Account and drive sales directly to your overseas bank account. Get in touch with us and we can give you all the details you need to get started with your very own WeChat shop.