WeChat and its growing 700 million strong customer base is a messaging app global businesses cannot ignore. With bountiful business opportunities and Asian reach, we are excited to be among the first in North America to offer an easy WeChat integration for startups, SMEs and enterprises.

Here's a rundown on the app's domination in the Asian market, plus why and how businesses leverage WeChat as a customer communication channel.

WeChat History

WeChat kicked off in 2011 as a simple chat app with features and functionality not dissimilar to WhatsApp. Today, WeChat is described as a Swiss army knife super app that seemingly does everything.

Literally everything.

WeChat-ers use the app to order take out, pay for almost anything, find a date, check in to flights, listen to music, read content, shop for clothes, workout with a coach and so much more.

It's dominance in China is such that it has a 93% saturation rate in Chinese Tier 1 cities. Where to expand? Outwards.

The app is gaining popularity in countries such as South Africa, with 9% of the population choosing WeChat as their preferred channel. Close behind is Nigeria, India and Germany.

Who's on WeChat?

WeChat customers are primarily young Chinese urbanites, with 64% being male and 86% being between the ages of 18 and 35.

This audience is affluent, tech savvy and hyper social. Hence why 92% of luxury brands use WeChat for product demonstrations, sales, bookings, services and more.

WeChat for Business

What can businesses do with WeChat? Before getting into WeChat capabilities, first thing's first: businesses must apply for a WeChat Official Account to interact with consumers. See instructions to do so here. Note: businesses must have a registered company in China to apply or alternatively can request to have an account created, but those accounts will not be seen by customers in the mainland of China.

Once set up, consumers can send messages to businesses the same way they message friends. And notifications will be seen alongside messages from friends, as shown with McDonald's below.

Photo: China Channel

Official accounts give brands the ability to build something similar to an app within WeChat using simple web technologies. McDonald's account has a store locator, for example. Burberry has customers creating greeting cards. And Olay asks customers to cozy up to a picture of a famous actor to win goodies.

Global businesses are using WeChat primarily for:

  • Customer Support
  • Product Demonstrations (check out Tesla's cool 360 degree view of its newest models)
  • Commerce
  • News
  • Promotions
  • Articles
  • Advertising

From pushing promotional content to opening stores and offering basic customer support, the possibilities of what businesses can do on WeChat are vast and flexible.

Smooch.io + WeChat

If a business is in the Asian market or wants to be in the Asian market (regardless of actual geo-location); WeChat is where consumers will look to for contact, product, and purchasing information. It's a must.

And Smooch makes it easy to open communications in this market without changing existing business systems or workflows.

The Benefits of Smooch

Connect multi-channels. In tandem to WeChat, add popular messaging channels (like Facebook Messenger) or tradition channels (like email) that are relevant to your audience, with one click.

Unify conversations across channels. We sync conversations across channels for a 360° view of a customer’s interaction history. So customers can converse on one channel (like a website), then hop over to another channel (like WeChat) and we link the conversations together.

Create rich customer experiences. Businesses can send and receive images, links, and deploy bots over WeChat for a conversational and actionable experience!

Respond to messages from a CRM of choice. Part of making messaging easy is letting businesses choose the business systems they already use to manage communications.

Learn more about Smooch + WeChat, read our documentation or simply sign up to Smooch to get started!

PS - Good reads for additional WeChat information: