Despite the hype around WeChat’s commerce features, the social platform remains primarily a place for brands to interact with consumers. L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty China finds that most beauty brands present on WeChat – especially Western brands – invest in features that engage consumers and drive them to physical stores, rather than in-app payments. Custom tabs, loyalty programs, sampling, gamification and click-to-call customer service are the most common WeChat features brands use. And just one in five beauty brands host a WeChat store or support in-app payments. Brands that lead WeChat users to e-commerce link to e-tailers (50%) or brand sites (40%), and Asia-Pacific brands are more likely to link to e-tailers.

This strategy seems to be in line with what consumers expect, as just one five consumer cite purchasing goods as one of their activities on the platform. Overall, the category has succeeded in seamlessly integrating the WeChat experience into the shopping experience. For example, 90% of all WeChat loyalty programs are integrated with a brand’s on-site and Tmall loyalty programs. However, certain features that make shopping easier could be more widely adopted. For example, less than a third of brands offer in-app live chat or a geolocal store locator.

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