The WeChat Mini Programs

WeChat Shopping through WeChat Mini Programs

Because shop­ping is more than just spend­ing mon­ey. Just as we in the West are accus­tomed to strolling through shop­ping miles and being enter­tained by the range and new prod­ucts on offer alone, the Chi­nese have dis­cov­ered the game of new prod­uct offer­ings for their leisure time enjoy­ment. Chi­nese peo­ple spend a lot of time with small games, puz­zles, pho­to­shoots, etc. on the Inter­net. This pas­sion is of great inter­est to the com­pa­ny Ten­cent (Founder of WeChat).

What are the WeChat mini-programs?

WeChat has long since evolved from a sim­ple Mes­sen­ger app to a social plat­form that pro­vides many func­tions. But that’s not all. Ten­cent plans to expand WeChat to become THE only app that con­sumers need.

Ten­cent took the first step in this direc­tion as ear­ly as 2017 when the first mini pro­grams were added to the app. Since then, more than 580,000 mini pro­grams have been devel­oped and released. Even big brands like Tes­la and KFC have WeChat Mini Pro­grams on the Chi­nese mar­ket. (To stay in com­par­i­son to the West, it would be like the Google Play store is not an app in its own right, but runs direct­ly on Facebook).

There are con­stant­ly new mini-pro­grams, and they are becom­ing more com­plex, sophis­ti­cat­ed and elab­o­rate every day. Since devel­op­ment is going so fast, I can hard­ly present the lat­est state of the art here. But above all, you need to under­stand the impor­tance of these mini programs.


Mini-Programs as cloud-based applications

The launch of the mini pro­grams with­in the plat­form changed every­thing for WeChat. With­in only two years, WeChat became Chi­na’s num­ber one oper­at­ing sys­tem. Insid­ers already say that WeChat will become the biggest com­peti­tor of iOS and Android sys­tems as a mobile oper­at­ing system.

WeChat mini-pro­grams are embed­ded in cloud-based appli­ca­tions that oper­ate on the WeChat work plat­form. How­ev­er, they can­not be called “apps” because they do not work in the same way as Apple or Android apps. Users can find the mini-apps by scan­ning QR codes, left-click­ing, or search­ing for key­words. The apps are also sent as Mini Pro­gram Cards or includ­ed as links in arti­cles. These com­mu­ni­ca­tion pos­si­bil­i­ties are not avail­able to our west­ern apps.

In prac­ti­cal terms, this also means that you don’t have to fill up your phone mem­o­ry with a vari­ety of apps because the mini pro­grams all work as cloud solu­tions. For them to load quick­ly (and also work on low-mem­o­ry phones), the mini-pro­grams have few­er fea­tures, but they offer man­u­fac­tur­ers and ven­dors an incred­i­ble amount of mar­ket­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. WeChat mini-pro­grams are used to cre­ate com­mu­ni­ties, launch prod­uct cam­paigns, build e‑commerce plat­forms or pro­mote retail stores.

In my next arti­cle I will tell you guys, how to use the WeChat mini-pro­grams and how to use them to sell big. Stay tuned and leave a com­ment — with what­ev­er thought it may be.


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Nora Holtmann is a passionate platform hacker: She loves to discover new platforms and explore their technical possibilities for new businesses. Her specialty is developing new digital business models for social media platforms and reporting on them in books and blogs. That you are reading about her here is the best proof that it works. As a lecturer, she trains online marketing managers and helps them to develop creative opportunities for their companies. Her passion is traveling. When she is not traveling with her backpack, she travels the world via the internet. This way she has made contacts all over the world. She lives in Berlin and also loves to travel culinary to the countries where she is currently mentally active (currently China and Korea are on the menu). Nora Holtmann can be booked for lectures and seminars. Also check out her books on Amazon!

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