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If you have a WeChat shop selling to the Chinese market, or plan to open one soon, you should know that getting the store up and running is only the beginning.
If you want your shop to be successful, you will need two crucial things:
The effective methods for getting traffic and sales in China differ greatly from the West, so it’s important to know exactly how to communicate with and sell to an expanding and increasingly sophisticated Chinese market.
In this blog, we are going to show you 7 ways we promote our client’s WeChat shops in China, helping them reach more consumers and make more sales.
1) Build a following using a public account
A WeChat public account, known in Chinese as a GongGong Hao (公共号) should be opened alongside your shop. This account is a critical component for marketing any WeChat shop.
It’s important to mention this first, as the group account will become the centerpiece of your WeChat shop marketing efforts. The purpose of it is to drive traffic to it, collect and grow a group of followers and advertise products directly to them.
Inside the group, you should post educational, engaging and entertaining content. This content will appear in the message feeds of any users that are subscribed to your public account.
This is a great way to build relationships with your potential customers, and stay ‘top of mind’. In the group you can talk about more than just the product itself. For example, if you are selling milk powder in Beijing, you can discuss other topics that parents in Beijing will be interested in – such as which Kindergartens in Beijing are the best, or fun family activities around the city.
Remember – the members of your WeChat group are potential customers. You need to treat them well, offer valuable content and build relationships before making the sale.
How to drive traffic to your public account in the first place? We’re glad you asked! Read on…
2) Use promotions and giveaways to grow your public account
If your account is new, chances are not many people know you and your account will look rather empty.
You will have to leverage your network and initial followers and have them share your account to help you grow. The best way to do this is to offer promotions and offers in exchange for sharing your public account on their personal WeChat page (known as their ‘moments’).
You can be creative with this. Depending on your niche, product, price point and other factors, some offers may work better than others. A popular one is to offer ‘free + shipping’.
A ‘free + shipping’ offer allows the customer to get a free product, all they have to do is pay the shipping fee (and ideally share your WeChat account with their friends or network). Usually the shipping fee will be higher than the real shipping cost, to offset the price of sending out the product. If you are really clever with the ‘free + shipping’, it’s sometimes possible to actually make money from it, but never forget the purpose here is spreading the word about your brand, not making profit directly.
3) Leverage existing customer bases and shops
If you have existing stores or businesses in China – such as a Taobao or brick and mortar location – you are in luck. You can drive some of those customers to your new WeChat shop and get a head start on shops who are starting from scratch.
If you already sell physical products, you can put a QR code on the packaging that leads back to your public account. If the person scans that code, they will begin receiving your content in the public account, and will likely be open to future product offers from your shop.
You may also include fliers with your QR code in orders from other sources (such as orders on Taobao or T-Mall) or hand out fliers at any physical locations you have.
4) WeChat paid advertising (PPC)
It’s possible to drive traffic to your shop using paid advertising within the WeChat platform. You can either promote ‘Moments Ads’, which can be video or multimedia ads, right inside a target customer’s moments, or you can use post ads on 3rd party accounts.
Not all accounts on WeChat are able to display ads. The accounts that can place ads have gone through an application process, and are known as ‘Ad Holders’, or in Chinese ‘微信广告主’.
An example to use here is Uniqlo. Uniqlo are authorised advertisement holders, and you can pay money to place ads on their account. Your ads will be displayed to anyone who is already following the Uniqlo account.
5) Create viral content and contests
Creating content that has mass appeal and is easy to share is a great way to spread the word about your shop.
You will need to spend more time crafting content like this. It may be worth investing more in research, production and promotion to get it out there, but the end results are worth it.
For example, you can create a very entertaining or funny video, that is loosely related to your products, without being an ad. It should be something that entertains and/or educates people and makes them want to engage and share the content for others to see. Upload the content to other popular platforms such as YouKu (the Chinese version of YouTube) and Weibo.
If you want to crank up the engagement, then include a competition or giveaway into your content, such as free products for 5 people who like, share and comment on the content.
Make sure to embed your QR code into the content, either as a watermark or at the beginning and end of the video, to drive traffic back to your public account.
6) Use interactive ‘H5’ multimedia posts
H5 posts (short for ‘HTML5 posts’) are like mini-apps that can be opened within or independent from your public account.
They are flexible in terms of what you can create, and often take the form of mini-brochures or informative guides. You may use them as gift cards, interactive promotional sliders or to promote and sell new or trending products. They can also be used as part of your business functionality.
Mobike in Beijing directs customers who scan the QR code to an H5 post, in order to ‘unlock’ a bike and be able to use it around the city.
H5 posts are open-source, and can be created using a WeChat mini-program. They are very lightweight, flexible and increasing in popularity.
7) Collect followers at physical locations
If you have a physical location taking payments of any kind, you can bounce those customers ‘offline to online’ at the point of sale.
When a customer makes a payment using WeChat wallet, their details are collected and they can be added directly into your public account. From there, it is possible to further develop the relationship with them, and turn them into an online customer in the future.
WeChat payments are becoming very popular not just in China, but around the world. 7/11 in Thailand are accepting WeChat payments in all of their 8000+ stores across the country, and it is likely that the trend will continue.
With each transaction made, an opportunity arises to add that customer to a WeChat group, and promote more products to on their mobile device. This is an area that is developing quickly, and well worth keeping an eye on.
Allow Eggplant to promote your WeChat shop for you
It’s understandable that without localised knowledge of the China market, implementing some of the above methods will be extremely challenging. Don’t worry – we’re here to help.
At Eggplant Digital we offer services to grow and promote WeChat Shops in China. If you’d like help getting more sales from your WeChat shop, then contact us today.
If you have any questions about setting up or developing your own WeChat Shop, leave a comment below or contact us directly.