WeChat is known in the U.S. and Western Europe as China’s fastest growing social mobile platform, while the sum of its capabilities suggests a full-service mobile commerce machine. With sophisticated capabilities for personalized accounts, WeChat has rich potential for customer relationship management in the form of loyalty programs, in-app e-commerce, and live chat. However, the majority of brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Luxury China use the platform as a brand awareness platform (similar to how they use Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) therefore missing the benefits of many features.
For example, just 17% of Fashion brands and 16% of Watches & Jewelry brand offer loyalty programs through WeChat and less than 10% of brands in both categories leverage WeChat coupons and payments. These are missed opportunities as WeChat Pay reports more than 300 million users.
Adoption of customer service features lag as well. Just 13% of brands in the Index are manually responding to inquiries; 66% use auto-reply. Watches & Jewelry brands have been the most receptive to manual replies – 44% have adopted the feature.
Several brands highlighted in the study demonstrate best practices on WeChat. Burberry, for example, sends voice messages with the voice of Wu Yifan to promote a collaboration with the brand ambassador in Burberry’s London Fashion Week show. Samsonite runs a lottery awarding free products to incentivize users to share brand-related content. Chinese jewelry brand Chow Tai Fook has a dedicated loyalty section where users can check loyalty points, coupons, orders, and sign up for brand activities. Chaumet offers appointment booking on WeChat, a service unavailable on the brand site. And Trollbeads is one of two luxury brands to have a WeChat store using WeChat Pay.