Wechat, with 0.41 billion users in 2016 worldwide, is currently the most popular social network in China.
Developed by Tencent, Wechat is a mobile-based social network where users are able to send texts, voice messages（within 60 seconds), pictures, videos （small videos within 10 seconds which are shot by Wechat and called Sight or videos on the mobile phone), locations, favorite links, contact cards and coupons. Also users can start video call or voice call with each other or among several friends. Since users are able to link their bank cards to the platform, they can also transfer money or send a red packet to a friend.
Users share pictures (within nine pictures once a time), links, as well as small videos to Moments (it is a personal space where users share excellent moments and then their friends can click Love or leave comments).
Users add friends by QR code, mobile contacts, contact cards, Radar ( to search people nearby) and Shake (to search people who shake their mobile phones at the same time).
The popularity of Wechat was strongly related to its low requirement for Internet speed and advertisement-free environment when Wechat popped up in the market in 2011. At that time users could only add friends via Tencent QQ contacts (with 0.6 billion registered users, QQ was the most popular social network which offered a huge potential user base to Wechat) and mobile contacts, meaning they had already known each other before. In this way, Wechat has become a personal and convenient platform between people who are close to each other bringing them more sense of security. Then Wechat has gradually increase accesses to add new friends and promote advertisements on Moments.
I sometimes find the ads are annoying. However as a marketer, it is actually really interesting for me to analyze who also their target audience are among my contacts and why.
Although going away from its initial mission, Wechat still has really high retention rate. Firstly, users are already used to use Wechat for daily contacts. Secondly, Wechat has become an integrated platform for users to link almost all their online activities together.
What’s more, users can utilize Wechat Wallet to finish most payment, tightly binding Wechat together with users’ daily life. Last but not least, some users depend on selling products on Wechat to make money.
From 2015, there has been more and more users utilizing Wechat as a platform to do E-commerce. There are mainly two models. Some users work as agents; they get products from manufacturers or individual designers (in some situations, agents buy products firstly in large scale and then sell them out at more expensive prices, while in other situations, agents don’t need to buy the products back because products will be shipped to buyers directly by manufacturers.) and then get commission after every transaction (for example: clothing). As for the other one, users make products by themselves (for example: food and dessert).
Increasing contact lists is always the first step. Sellers ask their current contacts to help them “advertise” in their Moments or by sending mass text. The conversion rate really depends on variables like content in “advertisements”, how much the current contacts are willing to help (mostly it is free), how influential they are and so on. After that, sellers share products information in Moments.
Those who are interested in the products will ask for more details and pay through Wechat Wallet. After payment, products will be shipped to buyers who can return the products with refund if unsatisfied. Unlike Amazon, there is no any third party to guarantee buyer’s benefits. To be honest, is it kind of risky. So buyers will choose sellers who they are familiar to.
In a word, sellers on Wechat do not necessarily need to spend money on products, and there is no cost on selling channel or promotion either. So Wechat is just a zero-cost platform for E-commerce. Besides sellers already have some potential customers and payment is quite convenient. Therefore I believe E-commerce on Wechat will keep growing in next several years.
The post is about Wechat for only individual users. Next time I will talk more about business side. You can expect that.