WeChat eCommerce Platform: The good, the Bad and the Solution

TMO Group TMO Group

The term “WeChat eCommerce” didn’t even exist before July, 2014, the time Tencent announced the new birth of “WeChat store”. Now, one and a half year later, it has become the sweatiest pie that every business wants a piece from. After all, since Chinese adult spend over 40 minutes on average daily on Wechat, why not make some money out of it?

Apart from conversation based on chats and voice messages, WeChat enables brands to set up their own eCommerce platform. With the help of Wechat Pay, Wechat’s own mobile payment system, customers can easily view the items and check out through “one-click-payment”

Wechat Payment

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There are several 3rd party eCommerce platforms one can use to build up its own WeChat store. The most famous one is YouShop (微店), which arrived rather early in this business and is very easy to use. Youshop provides a very similar interface to Taobao, which makes customers easy to view. It also comes with English version, which satisfied the needs of non-Chinese viewers. YouShop’s service is fee, therefore it could be a good solution for individuals who want to expand their business in their “inner circles”.

YouShop Example

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Another widely used 3rd party eCommerce platform is Youzan (有赞). Comparing to YouShop, Youzan seems a better choice for B2B end: Youzan offers more functions than only online purchase. One brand can not only customize its WeChat shop with sidebars, musics and videos, but also conduct marketing campaigns and discount promotions. Youzan offers a variety of easy-to-use templates for businesses to quickly build their WeChat store. Youzan’s basic platform is free as well, but you will be charged for more build-in functions and advanced designs.

YouZan Example

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Other than those two mentioned above, there are other players rumbling in this WeChat eCommerce platform, i.e., Paipai (拍拍小店), jd.com WeChat store (京东微店). Comparing them together, the strengths are obvious: low barriers to entry, low expense to start, easy to build. Meanwhile, there are also quite a few weaknesses:

  1. Similarity hurts. As mentioned before, 3rd party eCommerce platforms are generally built up on the foundation of a few standard templates. Sure that your items listing are easy for customers to view, but too many similarities make your business e-commerce site more difficult to differentiate from others.

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2. Limitations exist.

WeChat eCommerce is under the 3rd party platform means that you don’t own your own back-end system, thus you have to play their rules. A slight change on 3rd party’s platform will possibly cause some difference in your business, sometimes in a bad way unfortunately that you cannot avoid. What is more, it could also be painful if you want to add a new function that is still not provided on the 3rd party platform you’re using.

3. Extra maintenance.

For brands that have one WeChat store based on Youshop or Youzan, it could get messy if they want to conduct order management, because mostly the WeChat shop and the website are not under the same platform. To build up an extra order management system seems redundant, but inevitable.

All in all, 3rd party eCommerce platforms seem easy and fast to begin with, but flaws are also obvious. To increase one’s business intelligence and reach maximum profitability, a better solution would be choosing a multi-channel eCommerce platform. With an Omni-channel approach, you will be able to sell through a website and on different mobile devices effortlessly. One simple, unified platform will also save your time from synchronizing products, merging customer databases, and doing a lot of manual work in different tools just to run your business.

The future of WeChat eCommerce is multichannel. Tomorrow TMO Group will reveal the best solution for your business among all the multi-channel eCommerce platforms – Magento 2 (currently known as Adobe Commerce).

 

Interested in WeChat eCommerce development?

Please view TMO Group’s WeChat Strategy at

WeChat eCommerce Solution

WeChat Store Development

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