Our 2013 Intelligence Report on Social Platforms report revealed that one in five prestige brands are on WeChat, but the popular social messaging app might be underutilized. The mobile-only platform surpassed 300 million users in January, and reported more than 100 million users outside of China in August. WeChat is the most downloaded mobile social app in India, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Mexico, and the third fastest-growing social media platform globally behind Line and Instagram.
In addition to being popular, the mobile app is optimized for communication with potential customers. Users can follow brand accounts to receive video, audio, picture and text messages. WeChat’s digital membership cards allow the development of loyalty programs for online and in-store purchases. Parent company Tencent added payment services to the version of the app released in August, which also allows barcode scanning to retrieve product information.
Our report featured Clarins and Coach for their standout WeChat strategies. Coach has created a VIP program that increases membership privileges with more purchases. Clarins utilizes geo-location for product recommendations. For example, it recommends SPF products to those in warm climates and creamy moisturizers to those in dry regions.
WeChat’s integration of e-commerce features is reminiscent of Sina Weibo, but its use of mobile features and growing user-base poses a threat to the microblog’s dominance.