WeChat assists retailers in face of COVID-19

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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WeChat is introducing measures to facilitate retail recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in China.

The leading Chinese payment, messaging and social media platform has launched an official “WeChat Retail Growth Plan.” This includes opening up the WeChat Live livestream communication platform to help businesses interact with customers and generate sales via livestreaming. Consumers can watch the livestream while making purchases and communicating in real time.

In addition, WeChat's 1 on 1 Consultant social media service can assist retailers in tapping into existing user bases and managing fans, helping to drive traffic and sales through their networks of social connections. Service staff can initiate direct conversation with followers of retailers’ WeChat official social networking accounts, offering personalized services and relevant information designed to increase repurchases.

Meanwhile, the WeChat Work collaborative work platform launched a livestreaming function at the beginning of the pandemic to enable users to initiate livestreaming, conduct online meetings and share them with WeChat customers.

In one example of a global retailer leveraging the WeChat platform to aid performance during the pandemic, travel retailer DFS established its own membership program within WeChat. Specifically, the "DFS T VIP Club Mini Program" converts overseas brick-and-mortar shoppers into online members by allowing users to continue using various member-only services following purchases. Over one million members have joined since the launch of the DFS Mini Program.

Additionally, DFS has expanded its operations into new, online sales channels, creating a "Friendly Shopper" sales model allowing users to make purchases on products offered at the offline store via the official DFS WeChat account. Then, users send a link of the purchase to shoppers overseas to assist them in picking up the purchased items at the DFS store. The entire process is designed to broaden participation in shopping at DFS stores for Chinese consumers unable to travel, while simultaneously optimizing the overall shopping experience for them.

"Maintaining customer support is no easy task," said Zac Coughlin, CFO of DFS Group. "We need to constantly innovate through this innovation. We discovered that Tencent is an excellent partner, and we are honored to have a place in the WeChat ecosystem. This is a social network built on public preference. DFS uses content to attract consumers and create the seamless experience they so desire, so that they can make the best use of their money."