One of the biggest features of WeChat are it’s mini-programs. Check out this article to get to know what the mini-programs are. In this article I’d like to focus on the use and the future development of the mini-programs. Let’s go!
As a marketer, if you would like to see what the competition is up to first, you can search for and try out the mini programs from other companies or entrepreneurs. The easiest way to do this is if you have received a forwarding from a friend or group. Click on this link and you will be directly in the Mini Program. Of course, you can also go through the “official” way. To do so, visit the “official account” of a company and find the link to the corresponding mini programs on the page.
If you want to create your mini program, you first have to activate the “Discovery” in your account. Mini-program codes are distributed as small, independent QR codes. However, these codes are produced and released exclusively by WeChat. This means that companies can develop their programs, but the release must be done by the community operator. In this way, Tencent retains control over all activities in its ecosystem. Also, WeChat remains proprietary; outside or foreign providers cannot reach customers here.
The QR codes are the key to communication with customers. Because they can be sent to customers and shared with friends. The QR codes are virtually the house keys to the programs that are operated in the cloud. Today, mini programs can already replace many apps with less complicated functions. Mini programs are also frequently used as demos or test accounts for “real apps”, which customers can then download as a complete app to their smartphones.
WeChat Mini-Programs in the use
The potential uses of mini programs are phenomenal and will change the future of brand communication dramatically. Mini programs are already being used today for the following tasks:
- Daily used apps: These are the practical little mini programs that make everyday life easier. Examples of their use are programs for transport (timetables, ticket purchase), time management (appointment calendar, appointment reminders), translations and surveys.
- Information and entertainment: Mini programs can provide useful information, such as stock market prices. Users can also check the cinema program, buy tickets, reserve seats, etc. There are also plenty of mini programs with games.
- E‑Commerce: Brands can build their e‑commerce platform with the help of mini programs. This reduces development costs and offers the perfect integration of WeChat Pay. The WeChat’s “Cards and Offers” are also programmed with mini programs. Mini programs are used to control and promote giveaway campaigns, special offers or user-generated content. E‑commerce mini programs are primarily used to increase sales or brand awareness.
- WeChat-related services: Mini programs are now also available for advertisers (i.e. advertising agencies and Internet marketers). They work with mini programs that help them to analyze user data and traffic. The mini programs help the analysts to track checkouts, research keywords and optimize their marketing campaigns.
The development of the mini programs is far from complete. Every day there are new ideas and possibilities to draw even more users’ attention to products. The hottest trend at the moment (In Winter 19/20) is the programs that serve to merge offline trading with online trading. Customers can shop from any place and at any time. It is up to them whether they pay for their products at the cash register or in the online store.
Development began in April 2017, when the “Store Mini Program” was launched. A Store Mini Program can be seen as the virtual business card of a store. This virtual business card is published on the “Official Account” page.
When customers click on the business card, they can access all important information about the store (name, address, opening hours, contact, photos of the store, phone number). The program also distributes membership cards, vouchers, and flyers, which can then be redeemed in the store.
Only four weeks later in May 2017, WeChat released the “Mini Programs Nearby” feature. It enables users to use the mini programs to discover interesting shops or restaurants in the vicinity. The programs pop up when a customer approaches the location. The shops can then offer these customers special offers and invite them to come by to see current products or collections.
WeChat mini-programs allow the salespeople to target new customers while the customers are made aware of interesting offers. For shopping freaks, these programs offer a win-win situation. This is because companies have the opportunity to disseminate selected information about themselves and thus achieve more traffic, more sales, and higher brand awareness.
For brands and users, the Mini programs create the perfect connection between online and offline. Also, the Mini Programs offer retailers the opportunity to gain valuable customer information and conduct market analyzes.
The WeChat mini-programs will continue to develop in the future. The Mini Programs are currently opening up to integrate external providers into the app. In my view, it is precisely in this area that the greatest change in marketing is taking place. I forecast that the mini programs will not only continue to change the business world in China.
Have you learned something new? I did, while writing this article. Any comment, let me know below.