Article by XIANEASE
WeChat is one of the most ubiquitous pieces of software in China, and with more than a billion users, it has become a massive marketing opportunity for those with products to sell. There are thousands upon thousands of different WeChat shops that sell everything from imported foods to electronics and more. This has also provided an avenue for smaller foreign-run businesses to promote their goods to a wider audience across China.
There are a few different routes that you might take in order to set up your WeChat shop, so it’s generally advisable to check the different options that might me more suitable for you. Many will require you to set up an official WeChat account, which will generally require a person with a Chinese ID. Also, most of these options require you to register your company first and you need to have all the required licenses and your products should be within the scope of your business. For more information on how to register your company, check out our November 2020 article “Registering a Business in China”.
Pretty much all of these options are going to require a good bit of Chinese language ability, so if you don’t have the skills, or lack a decent translation app, you might want to get someone who can read the language to help out
Weidian 微店 www.weidian.com
Weidian is a third-party shop developer that allows you to list out your products and have a basic interaction with the WeChat pay backend. Set up is free and your shop will be able to accept a variety of payment methods (but no Alipay). The shop can also be accessed from a browser, allowing for greater range of customers. The drawbacks to a Weidian shop is that it is not very customizable, so you will just have a grid with your product photos and prices and a cart for your customers.
The shop supports and English language shop in addition to a Chinese language shop, and also allows you to deposit money as a guarantee for your customers. Weidian is one of the most popular options for third-party WeChat shops, which is why much of the marketplace looks the same.
Youzan 有赞 www.youzhan.com
Youzan is a third-party paid option that allows for greater flexibility when it comes to design, at the downside of being more expensive than some other options. Packages start at around 4,800RMB and increase based on the need and size of your shop. The added design options will definitely help in making your shop stand out from the rest of shops and can add a greater range of options for your clients.
Some of these options include specific delivery times, food delivery, and in-store pick-up options. They also provide a wide variety of templates that can help you set up your shop quickly. Payment options include the usual range of WeChat options, including credit card, debit card, and WeChat Pay. As with most options, Alipay is excluded.
Lewaimai 乐外卖 www.lewaimai.com
Lewaimai is another free option that is mostly targeted at restaurants and other food delivery type services. While you have to sort out the actual delivery portion, this shop will allow you to process orders, have customers select the particular time of day and location for the delivery, and includes a much wider range of payment options that other services. (For example, they accept Alipay).
Like many other options, your design choices will be limited, but you are able to upload pictures of your products, so people have a better idea of what they’re getting. One drawback of this service is that the shop will not work on other platforms, so you will not be able to access it from a laptop.
JD.com WeChat Store www.jd.com
JD.com is a familiar face on the Chinese e-commerce scene, so it’s no wonder that they have also ventured into the WeChat space, with their own mini-program that allows users to search through their vast catalogue of goods. In addition to this, they also have an option for those with a JD.com Sellers account to set up a free WeChat store that can be used in conjunction with their platform.
Signing up for a JD.com seller’s account does require a business license, and the goods being sold must fall within the purview of the business scope. However, there is nearly no better way to provide comfort to your customers, as this type of shop comes with the full guarantees of the JD.com platform. It should be noted that JD also takes a commission and required a monthly fee, so your volume needs to be able to support that if you want to make money.
WeChat Mini Program
WeChat mini-programs have been the go-to option for many brands since their launch in 2017, and as the market has developed, the flexibility that the mini-program offers has been well-received. Mini-programs can support membership programs, shopping cart applications, and a variety of payment options.
Developing a mini-program will take either a great deal of time or money, but the end results may be the best for developing your brand and providing a better shopping experience for your customers. There are various guides online that can help guide you through the process for learning the necessary skills to develop your own program, or you can find a company that will help you through the process. Either way, you should have a clear idea of what your mini-program should be able to do and what you’d want it to look like before beginning to develop it.
We hope that this has been helpful. There are many options out there, so if we didn’t feature one that you think would be helpful to other, let us know by sending us a message to our official WeChat account or by email to email@example.com. If you’re looking to set up a WeChat shop, but are looking for more information, let us know by sending a message to us. Best of luck!