In today’s ‘WeChat Essential Tip’ presented by China Channel, we will show you how to buy beer from Walmart on WeChat and provide some general info and analysis about online shopping through WeChat. In a previous post, we showed you how to use the WeChat Specials feature, located in WeChat Wallet, to purchase beer through JingDong (JD). Why did JingDong, one of China’s largest e-commerce companies, get a special feature in We Chat wallet (with the other mobile commerce players scratching their head)?
The answer: Back in 2014, Tencent and JingDong signed a strategic partnership, resulting in Tencent becoming both a shareholder ($214 million investment) and one of JingDong’s strategic partner. But we all know that JingDong is not the only player in China e-commerce.
What about the other e-commerce companies operating in China? Can we use the We Chat platform and payment system to purchase items on their We Chat official account? Below are our findings:
The table above shows that while all companies have some kind of official account with around half accepting WeChat wallet payments. Obviously, Alibaba stores (and its recent investment in Suning) will keep using Alipay. For this case, we will use Walmart’s e-commerce platform, YiHaoDian. Walmart formally announced on July 23, 2015 that it has acquired 100% ownership of YiHaoDian. They also provided the following info-graphic:
But enough analysis for now; let’s buy some beer! Let’s go to ‘Contacts’ and ‘Official Accounts’. Tap on + to find new accounts.
If we type in the Chinese name, 一号店, we get a lot of results. Usually the accounts with a yellow check logo (verified by WeChat) and a green shield ‘R’ (trademark logged with Tencent) should guide you toward the correct account.
Once we choose and follow our desired account, we will likely need some Chinese skill or a friend that reads Chinese. For YiHaoDian we can simply enter the product we want into the message bar at the bottom and YiHaoDian will search its database and send you the results. This may differ from other e-commerce stores that use buttons on the bottom to link you to a search site. For YiHaoDian, we want Imported beer, so let’s write 进口啤酒 (jinkoupijiu).
After we enter our search, Yihaodian sends back a message with three recommendations along with a link to its search page. We go to search page to see more options.
We now pick the beer we love and then check out.
If you have not registered on Yi Hao Dian (or any other platform), you must first do this. This will include writing your address, phone number, and name. If you already have registered, sign in.
Now we come to the payment. Since we are using We Chat, Yihaodian assumes we want to do We Chat payment.
Mobile commerce platforms outside China will have 2 main points of interaction with their customers:
- a mobile friendly website or web-app
- native android and iOS apps
In China however, e-commerce companies have a third option: sell through their official WeChat account. This third point of interaction is becoming increasingly important to the point where some people are questioning the worth of creating native apps. It certainly sounds easier to develop for one universal platform rather than Android/iOS.
For We Chat users, the options for purchasing goods do not stop at the JingDong specials button on your wallet page. By simply adding the e-commerce company’s official account, your options (for beer) are much greater than before!