News #1: WeChat Shop Mini Program is released!
WeChat has just lowered the barrier for Chinese companies to start an e-commerce business. It just released the WeChat Shop Mini Program: a mini-program available to all Chinese WeChat Official Accounts directly from the WeChat Official Account back-end.
What does the Mini Program shop looks like?
The shop follows the WeChat UX guidelines: clear, simple and easy to navigate.
These “native” WeChat shop features are very basic, for now. Merchants can list products; users can view the shopping cart, and the order history.
The home page comes with 5 simple structured templates:
Advanced features include Gift Cards, which allow users to purchase a pre-paid card and share it with friends on WeChat.
How this will impact brands?
The WeChat shop feature is nothing new. WeChat had a native Shop feature on its backend for years. Yet you can hardly see any business using this native WeChat Shop template for a simple reason: the features are too basic to meet most business needs.
For small companies with a registered business in China, this new feature can be a simple way to be able to create links from a Subscription Account to your own mini-program (although, to be fair, this only is relevant for very very small businesses. Post-revenue Chinese businesses would be recommended to signup for Youzan and use their mini-program which has much more features)
Looking for inspiration? Here are some case studies of Mini Programs making monthly revenue of + RMB10 million.
How to apply for the WeChat shop?
A verified WeChat service account, or a verified WeChat Subscription account. This means you need to have a Chinese entity.
Click here to find out how to create a WeChat Official Account (even with an oversea account).
For now, the WeChat shop Mini Program does not support oversea businesses. But we have reliable sources indicating that WeChat Mini Programs may soon support cross-border payments!
Step 1: enable WeChat Payment in the OA backend
This includes submitting company information, Chinese business license, industry specific license, description of the products, customer service number, etc.
Click here to find out how to apply for WeChat Payment
Step 2: add WeChat Shop module to the OA backend
Click on Add Module on the menu and add WeChat Shop to your OA backend.
Step 3: upgrade the WeChat shop in the backend to Mini Program.
The name of the WeChat Shop Mini Program should be unique, and within 4-30 characters. The name shall not contain trademark protected characters.
You will need to choose a category for your business. For the following businesses, the company shall also upload industry specific licenses: health supplements, pictures, audio, video, game, comic publications, F&B, marketplace, cooking oil, wine and salt, souvenir coins.
News #2: WeChat released 2017 Q3 financial result
Tencent released financial earning last week. Here are a few highlights:
- Offline Payment volume saw a stunning increase of 280% YoY
- Revenue up 61% YoY to RMB 65.2 billion (USD9.8 billion).
- 48% YoY growth in advertising revenue to RMB 11 million
- WeChat MAU is 980 Million, a slow down in growth as WeChat has saturated the market, only 1.7% increase from last quarter
- Active followers of Official Accounts reached 797 million, a 19% increase YoY
- The number of Official Accounts has also increased to 3.5 million, a 14% YoY increase
- QQ MAU decreased to 843 million, a 3.8% decrease from last year
Overall it’s a healthy quarter for Tencent as it’s diversifying between revenue from games, advertising and payments. However, traffic is increasingly relying on the WeChat platform
News #3: WeChat OA backend is available in English
Christmas is coming early this year: WeChat Official Accounts finally have an English version.
If you are located overseas or are using your computer in English, the WeChat backend (https://mp.weixin.qq.com/) will automatically display in English.
The translation is not perfect, the display is off in some parts. But it gets the work done for English speakers to navigate the backend without using Google Translate.
The notification message for WeChat Login has also been updated with an English version. This make it much easier for English speakers to operate the backend.
For now, if the OA backend does not automatically display in English, there isn’t a good way to switch in to the English version. Hopefully WeChat will optimize this language switch to make it available for all users.
Cherry on the cake, the WeChat developer documentation has also been officially translated to English, if you access it from abroad: