WeChat is the most important marketing channel for retailers to sell in China today. With WeChat, marketers can send messages to subscribers, provide customer support, showcase their online store and many other features that we know about.
What is less known is how brands use WeChat to solve a structural problem in China where they have no information about their customers. But first, let's understand the problem.
Brands have no information about 90% of their end customers
Brands in China rely on e-commerce marketplaces like Taobao, Tmall and Jingdong to do heavy-lifting for their sales. These platforms channel lots of traffic to their websites and are much more effective sales channels than their own e-commerce websites. By contrast, in the United States, Europe, and Japan, the dominant model involves brands running their own sites and handle the details of commerce (source: McKinsey).
Because it's a highly competitive market, it is in the interest of these third-party sites to keep their users to themselves. Hence, they never release anything more than customer IDs to brands.
As a result, brands end up with situations where they do not know who their customers are. No emails, phone numbers, names. They also have no idea if customers on different portals are the same person.
This is a huge problem, as without knowing their customers, brands have no good way of developing their own sales channels and understanding how their customers shop.
Using WeChat to aggregate customer information
So how does WeChat solve this problem? Brands use WeChat as a customer service portal (服务号). It works well because everyone is on it and people find it convenient to get customer service via WeChat.
Through customer service, brands aggregate personal and contact details about their customers, creating a customer relationship management (CRM) system that they can use to send marketing to their customers.
Additionally, brands with their own websites or mobile apps use a Single-Sign On (SSO) login via WeChat. Each time a user registers on their site, they associate their internal customer ID with the users' WeChat ID. This gives them a good shot at identifying that same user if he/she shops on one of the third-party sites and contacts customer support.
With customer information, brands can send personalized WeChat marketing
Now that brands know who their customers are on each of these marketplaces, they can also understand their what and when they want to buy.
Personalized WeChat marketing is now achievable. When a customer sends a message to a brands' WeChat customer service channel, the retailer now knows his/her sales history across platforms and is able to send tailored content to this customer.
Interested to know your customers and send personalized marketing with WeChat?
If you are interested in implementing an automated WeChat personalization workflow or finding out more, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line WeChat Integration.