WeChat Barcode: A few days ago WeChat announced a new service to track the status of express deliveries in China by scanning the delivery form’s bar code (see picture below). But surprisingly few people know that with WeChat you can already pick up and scan the barcode on pretty much ANY kind of Chinese consumer product and instantly check its price and information online.
Above: WeChat’s new express delivery tracking feature
The ChCh 7Eleven Test
We went down to the 7Eleven store and used WeChat barcode scan to check the prices on some of the goods. Does the corner store offer value for money or is everything really just cheaper online?
Test 1: A bottle of Chinese Baijiu Rice Wine
13 yuan ($1.89) in the shop
9.2 yuan ($1.33) on WeChat / JD JingDong
A clear win for online WeChat shopping here. The baijiu was significantly cheaper on JD and YiHaoDian stores. In tier 1 cities in China JD can often deliver same day with their own network of bike and small van delivery drivers.
Test 2: A can of Red Bull
6.2 yuan ($0.9) in the shop
This one is a much closer. Saving a mere 2 mao online there’s not much of a difference.
Test 2: A Colgate Toothbrush
Got to get the taste of all that Red Bull and baijiu out of my mouth somehow right? Time for a toothbrush.
5.9 yuan ($0.86) in the shop
5.9 yuan ($0.86) on YiHaoDian
Comparing prices of things in store with those online is an ingrained habit of price sensitive and mobile savvy Chinese consumers. A recent report commissioned by KPMG indicated that 69.4% of Chinese consumers have looked up a product on their smartphone while in a physical shop. Using the WeChat scanner is not only convenient but also facilitates social sharing of the product information. There’s one major drawback however on WeChat, we can’t search China’s largest online market places of Taobao or Tmall.