In the world of retailing, customers are oxygen.Mini Programs came at a time of sluggishness in the retailing industry which was in dire need of something fresh. Offline stores hit a bottleneck due to the bourgeoning of mobile phones in China. Except for spending large sums of money on advertising, Mini Program is the only option available for companies that want to acquire customers.

In recent years, brand owners pay much heed to Mini Program because it is easy to make, reaches a large audience and can be utilized in multiple scenarios, not to mention the fact that it has better traffic gaining abilities than apps and better operation abilities than H5.In the future, retail companies should skillfully leverage three applications of WeChat Mini Programs: influence extension, data analysis and precision marketing, with which they can transform traffic and revolutionize brand marketing.


01Influence Extension

Since its start, which is marked by the beta version of “ads in search” function, Mini Program’s abilities to acquire offline and online traffic have been constantly improved.



Merchants with physical stores can reach a wider range of customers and provide targeted service with features like Store Mini Program and Mini Programs Nearby. These can help them obtain more traffic and boost conversion.“Store Mini Programs” are in effect business cards for stores in the eyes of operators, with which they can attract, retain and convert new customers. In addition to providing basic information like names, profiles, open hours, contact info, locations and pictures, the applets also incorporate “Cards and Offers” to boost consumption. If a store has a Store Mini Program, its location will be displayed in Tencent Maps as well for potential customers to check out.



Mini Programs Nearby resembles billboards in that it provides information of stores to people within their vicinity. Companies can utilize this cost-efficient promotional method to extend the radius of the areas they cover from several hundred meters to 5 kilometers.



The categorization function in Mini Programs Nearby can simplify customers’ searching process so that their experience is improved. Meanwhile, retailers can leverage it to enhance precision of their targets so as to gain more traffic and increase conversion rates.




Many international companies that aim to enter China’s market would set up stores on third-party platforms like Taobao or JD, but they are not the best choice: they take considerable time and efforts to manage and cost companies money for deposit and management fee.Western luxury brands, often with rich history, may have a hard time charming Chinese customers who are not familiar with the western culture. In this context, WeChat Mini Program is a favorable option for luxury brands to introduce themselves and sell products.

Lane Crawford rolled out a Mini Program in May, 2015, which was the first luxury retailer to do so. The applet, which is divided into New In, Category and Brands, helps customers quickly find what they want and make purchases on the applet. The applet also encourages customers to register or bind their Lane Crawford membership with their WeChat accounts.



As the market outside China gets sluggish, more and more international brands are expanding to China. To do so, Swarovski also built its own WeChat Mini Program. Donna Pang, Managing Director of Consumer Goods Business of Swarovski in China, said that the applet has helped the brand to accomplish another innovation in the era of social network and e-commerce.

Mini Programs can promote brand image, connect online and offline stores and disseminate latest updates. They can also help brands change their mindset in the e-commerce era, for Mini Programs are innately better than other e-commerce platforms in traffic acquirement, not to mention its ability to precisely obtain customer data.



02Data Analysis


Compared with the traditional superficial “consumer portrait”, the data accumulated in Mini Programs about pre-order, purchase and favorite can assist with companies’ digital operations. Experience is no longer the only guide for companies to stock products. Instead, data can help them implement more accurate and bold stocking plans and boost sales per unit.

Tencent released “Mini Program Data Assistance” to keep retailers updated. The statistics include views, entrance, frequency, length, depth, retainment and clicks of “Read more”, with which retailers can analyze how well their Mini Programs are doing. The function also tells retailers about the age, gender, location and device of their customers to help paint consumer portrait.



In addition to the basic information, the customized analysis functionenables retailers to analyze behaviors of their customers in a flexible, multi-dimensional and quasi-realtime manner. Retailers can set “events”, a series of actions that get reported when triggered by customers. Such functions satisfy their special need for analysis and facilitate targeted operations of the stores.

For companies, any statistics generated by applet users have an impact on decision-making on operation and marketing. Therefore, by delving deep into customers’ preference and conversion of orders, operators can have a comprehensive understanding of the current situation, quickly identify problems and formulate effective strategies, which increases efficiency of management.

Traditionally, Customer Relationship Management of retailers is focused on keeping records of purchase and follow-up, which is mainly passive information management. But with data-driven thinking, operators can make predictions about current and future demands based on every single data entry and achieve positive CRM that fits the development of market, so that more purchases are made.


03Precision Marketing


A.User-generated content marketing

It is common practice for luxury brands to hype a topic on social media to attract users to partake and boost brand influence. To cater to Chinese customers’ purchasing habits, they would offer freebies and special discounts to build a complete UGC community. For example, Longchamp encourages users to upload selfies, post reviews and participate in daily punch-in activities to diversify the content in its community.



B.Precision marketing by means of user portrait on Mini Programs

WeChat Mini Programs can create user portrait with users’ behaviors and features. With such information on hand, brands can make targeted marketing plans and improve user stickiness.To help foreign students in Singapore rent houses, we created “One-click Property” Mini Program. Students can search for places for rent by location; landlords can also post relevant information on the platform. Thus, the information imbalance between landlords and tenants is eliminated. What’s more, data is generated whenever a user logs onto the applet, so decision makers can optimize recommendations of information based on user portrait. The precision marketing will give order numbers a leg-up.



In marketing, companies seek to identify needs, instead of creating needs, so it takes insights from decision makers to finding current and existing users. In the mobile era, user portrait is indispensable in the marketing war, which means the winners are those who win users.User portrait generated from big data allows decision makers to reach and analyze users from a higher perspective. After fully understanding customers’ need, they can accurately find customers by pushing ads and content. With the help of labels and weights in user portrait, retailers can choose who and how they want to reach.

For long, the retailing industry has upheld values centered on products, which is both the start and end of all services and transactions. The pools of traffic and data created by the three applications of Mini Programs have extended the connections between retailers and customers to service and scenario experiences, thereby opening up possibilities in smart retail. For example, retailers can establish smart retail stores that integrate online and offline resources, restructure their companies with data, and achieve precision marketing.