WeChat Direct service launches for e-commerce into China


eChat Direct is the UK’s first complete managed marketing, logistics and payment package created to enable retailers and brands to unlock the huge potential of China’s most popular social commerce platform directly from the UK.

A partnership has been created involving Chinese marketing consultancy Emerging Communications, and specialist WeChat cross-border eCommerce platform provider Connect Plus, to establish a managed end to end service that enables cross border sales directly into China through fully branded and marketed WeChat stores.

WeChat is China’s most popular platform for social e-commerce and product recommendation searches and purchasing. It generated £92.39 billion in mini programme retail sales last year.

The new cross border service enables domestic sellers to compete on exactly the same terms as major international and Chinese brands and retailers that rely heavily on WeChat mini programme store sales.

However, UK companies have the added advantage of being overseas suppliers keenly sought for access to hard to get products and European edition brands not distributed in China.

Cross border buying has become a hugely popular way for Chinese consumers to obtain brands from the West after the halt of international flights, and restrictions on diagou buying. The wealthy Chinese millennial traveller demographic now buys from overseas direct, and has been joined by Generation Z consumers seeking purchases that are hard or impossible to find in China.

Last year direct consumer sales into China reached £70.51 billion compared to £23.46 billion in 2015, according to analyses by Statistica, but this year the figure is expected to more than double as the nation’s wealthy millennials and Generation Z dramatically increase use of cross border buying.

The WeChat Direct package includes the design of a custom built fully branded mini programme retail store, traffic driving marketing planning, content creation and execution, account management and end to end logistics, merchandise management, data dashboard and payment service.

Mini programme retail stores are similar to web stores, but they sit within a social media account that enables sellers to more effectively drive traffic, recruit followers, and communicate with sales prospects.

WeChat Direct is unlike other cross border selling services into China that are based on putting listings on business-to-consumer platforms alongside hundreds of thousands of other sellers.

The Chinese social commerce service launch offers an effective gateway into the Chinese consumer market for relatively small investment, and for those with an existing presence it enhances the sales mix, and can be used in conjunction with other retail opportunities, such as pop up shops.

“We have opened up China’s valuable cross border marketplace by creating a fully branded and rounded gateway on the most popular Chinese social commerce platform,” says Emerging Communications CEO, Domenica Di Lieto. “Small and medium sized brands and retailers can now compete effectively in China, and have the valuable attraction of being UK retailers.”

The powerful attraction of making overseas buys is not only driven by personal preference, but at least as important is the desire to demonstrate rare acquisitions to peers on social media. This behaviour forms part of millennial and Generation Z product and brand one-upmanship that previously was one of the major motivations for overseas travel. The more difficult to find the purchase item, the better.

The Chinese consumer desire to obtain products from outside China does not just apply to the luxury market. Mid-priced and niche brands known for their quality are also in strong demand, as well as the desire to access discounts from buying in the West.

More information on cross border selling can be found by attending the free to join webinar on cross border selling taking place at 10:30 on Wednesday, 2 September