Last week we have have published the first part of our list of strategies to retain and grow WeChat followers base. Today, we continue where we left off. Here is the rest of the list with four more strategies.
#5: O2O campaigns to grow WeChat followers base
O2O, which stands for Online to Offline (or, sometimes Offline to Online) has been one of the hottest topics in marketing in the last couple of years. It has been identified as a trillion dollar opportunity by TechCrunch as well called the industry’s stupidest acronym by Tech in Asia. While some marketers still disagree on how the term should be used, O2O in China has been growing by leaps and bounds and is getting ahead of most other markets.
Basically, anything in the digital world that brings customers to the physical stores or makes them buy products and services that are traditionally sold offline can be classified as O2O.
WeChat has been one of the primary drivers of O2O in China with many brands designing campaigns that exploit this concept and rapidly grow WeChat followers base. For example, offering to WeChat followers a free gift that can only be collected in a specific physical store location is just one example of O2O and how it can be used with mobile.
According to the recent report by McKinsey on O2O in China, it has been growing the fastest in 3 areas: travel, mobility and dining services:
Here are the main reasons behind O2O popularity with China’s mobile users:
Sheer number of smartphones
Large number of smartphones in China is the primary reason for O2O services getting a strong foothold. There are estimated 563 million smartphone users in 2016 representing more than a quarter of users worldwide.
Smartphone as the primary internet access point
Another factor in favor of O2O in China is the fact smartphones has long become the primary device of getting online for the majority of Chinese, beating desktops and laptops 2 years ago. Since large part of O2O’s appeal is location, mobile is a natural fit.
Mobile payment systems
Proliferation of secure and convenient mobile payment systems such as Alipay or WeChat Pay has become the industry enabler. In this regard, China is well ahead of most other countries.
Everyone in China loves QR
QR codes can be used in many creative ways to facilitate O2O based connections and, incidentally, they have been extremely popular in China. While QR codes have been declared dead in the West on more than one occasion, they have been embraced in China and popularized by apps like WeChat.
#6: Coupons, discounts and free gifts
Offering discounts, coupons and free gifts is the most straight forward way to keep the followers interested and engaged. As with the previously described methods, these strategies can be incorporated into O2O campaigns by connecting digital offers to a physical point of sale.
In order to retain and grow WeChat followers base discount and coupons offers should be consistent, prompting users to check back often. It is especially effective around major holidays and festivals.
In addition, if WeChat account runs its own store, discounts and coupons can be redeemed directly.
#7: Exclusive WeChat sales
Ever since introduction of WeChat Pay, the built-in payment system, WeChat ecommerce has been growing at astonishing rate. It is now believed to be behind only two of the industry giants: Alibaba’s Taobao/Tmall and JD.com. The majority of WeChat stores are focused on fast moving goods, fashion and luxury.
In fact, some of the top luxury brands that already had strong presence on WeChat, are now selling exclusively on this platform. Most recently, Coach even went so far as closing down their main Tmall store in favor of WeChat platform.
Why are some brands narrowing their ecommerce presence rather than expanding it? The explanation is in brands’ drive to focus on exclusivity rather than reach.
Companies in other industries, such as popular cellphone makers, often run flash sales of new hot models exclusively on WeChat creating the same type of effect.
#8: Loyalty programs
One of the best ways to make sure your customers continue following your WeChat channel is setting up a loyalty or rewards program entirely based within the account. Such setup would allow members to use virtual card at physical points of sale, accumulate rewards, check the balance and redeem the points.
Smartphones with WeChat app are already replacing physical wallets for millions of users. Digitizing traditional plastic loyalty cards by moving them to WeChat is seen as the part of the process of ditching wallets.