WeChat parent Tencent launched O2O (online-to-offline) commerce platform Weigouwu in September. With Weigouwu’s Shop Assistant, customers can scan product codes to find additional information, save products to their shopping list, and purchase via WeChat. Participating brands can track the behavior of consumers who use the app.
Danish apparel company Bestseller, who owns Vero Moda, Only and Jack & Jones, was the first to partner with WeChat. In just three months, 66 Vero Moda shops had acquired 180,000 active fans and 10,000 orders through Weigouwu. 15 other brands joined and expanded Weigouwu’s offerings by adding promotions such as encouraging fans to visit stores and scan QR codes for a chance to win prizes.
By February, 62 brands and retailers – mostly fashion – had adopted the platform. And Unilever, the only brand in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty | China with a presence on Weigouwu, enabled shoppers to submit a photo of themselves to receive a customized bottle of Dove body wash.
The response from brands and shoppers marks Tencent’s social omnichannel commerce effort as a success, except the Chinese government banned online payments via QR codes and virtual credit card. It is anticipated that virtual cards and QR codes will become legal again. Even if not, WeChat’s e-commerce move establishes it as a leader in social e-commerce, on par, or even ahead of Alibaba-owned Sina Weibo.