With an average of 80% of time on mobile devices using only 3 apps, it is becoming apparent that the golden age of apps is coming to an end.
We are now witnessing a second mobile revolution in which messaging apps are becoming the next mobile platforms where brands can interact with consumer and provide them with business services. WeChat, that implemented chat bots at least a year ago, pushed the boundaries of this digital revolution even further when it announced that WeChat Mini Apps (WeApps) will be available in December for brands to develop. In concrete terms users will be able to download them without using App Store or Google Play: these mini-apps will be stored directly on the user’s WeChat application. Mobile users don’t want bot, they are looking for super apps.
Let’s see what advantages these mini-apps can bring to a brand in the near future:
Mini-apps technical advantages compared to the standard wechat page used by brand
- All in one place for the customer, and the brand. All the mini-apps downloaded by the user will be gathered in one dedicated place of WeChat. This gives first movers much more exposure and easy access from the messaging platform compared to any Official Accounts.
- More space to creativity. Tencent invented a new language to develop the new mini-apps. This means that the UI will not be limited to predefined modules and mini-apps will be potentially very different to each other (unlike what we are seeing on WeChat stores today).
- Cheaper and easier to develop. This will cut down the investment in terms of time and funds needed to create a native application. Once developers master this new language.
- Lighter than usual mobile apps. WeChat apps will occupy less storage space which will make them more appealing to download for users concerned about mobile storage issues and used over time.
It is evident how WeChat is aiming at reshaping itself as a platform where service proposition is king while diminishing the role of content that is sometimes perceived as intrusive and irrelevant by followers. But because not every brand can propose online services, it’s more pressing than ever to reinvent its business model. Nike did two years ago with Nike + Run club on Wechat or the Chinese toy company Dan Dan Man which created the animal toy Mon-Mon, that broadcast audio message from wechat.
What is the implication for your wechat strategy?
It will be even more important than before to consider WeChat as the key platform where you can support your customer in every single step of their consumer journey
- ACQUISITION: Thanks to the new upgrade your brand could be more accessible on WeChat. WeChat users will not be just followers anymore, they will have a much higher potential to become customers.
- ENGAGEMENT: Until today brands had to keep pushing content in order to remind the user about them and maintain themselves on top of the public accounts list. The new improved accessibility gives brands the chance to focus their effort more on providing added value services rather than keep creating content that might be not relevant for your audience. But shifting your main focus from content to service doesn’t mean ditching your existing Official Account. Brand and personalized content will still be crucial for every WeChat strategy.
- LOYALTY: Mini-apps will be able to store some data directly on the phone of the user, including access credentials and other customer data. This will help you aggregate customer information coming from different digital touch points, including the possibility to use a virtual loyalty card to be used offline. All this information can be collected and processed to improve and deploy a stronger CRM strategy using WeChat as a strategic hub.
Wechat is not a messaging app with functionalities anymore but a launch pad for brands and a global application for users.
Brands have to rethink their digital strategy, opening the door to personalized tools and functionalities to fully leverage the opportunities of future social media platform.
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