WeChat is beginning to rival Chinese e-tailers as an e-commerce platform. Its payment feature, WeChat Wallet, now processes an estimated $550 billion annually. During Chinese New Year, more than eight billion red envelopes were virtually distributed on the platform – up from one billion the previous year.
That momentum suggests that brands hoping to sell online in China should consider WeChat alongside brand sites and e-tailers. However, just one in five Beauty brands hosts a WeChat Store or offers in-app payments, and more than half of those stores are owned by Chinese mass brands.
In addition to setting up WeChat stores, local brands including KanS, Hanhoo, and CHINAskin are also experimenting with the platform’s C2C franchise model, where WeChat users establish their own storefronts selling goods on behalf of brands. This model has an advantage because sellers’ posts appear in their friends’ WeChat Moment feeds, which brands can only access via advertising. Only a few months after KanS implemented the model, monthly sales surpassed $15.4 million – helping the brand secure its first round of capital investment.