Tencent cites the success of Weixin Mini cross-border e-commerce program as Big C rides it into China markets

Tencent cites the success of Weixin Mini cross-border e-commerce program as Big C rides it into China markets

Big C launched its online store via Weixin Mini Program in January 2022.
Big C launched its online store via Weixin Mini Program in January 2022.

Tencent Thailand on June 21, 2022 showcased Big C’s successful penetration of the Chinese e-commerce market amid the pandemic with the opening of its online store via its Weixin Mini Program. The online store enables the supermarket chain to expand its consumer base and connect with millions of customers in China.

Weixin Pay’s international business team shared that over the past two years, Weixin’s ecosystem has helped many overseas merchants engage and stay connected with Chinese consumers, despite the fact that international tourism and shopping in-store remain limited due to the pandemic. In Southeast Asia, many leading merchants have launched Weixin Mini Programs to extend their reach, heighten engagement and drive conversions in China.

The number of active Southeast Asian merchants under Mini Programs grew 10 times over the past two years, testifying to the strong growth of cross-border e-commerce and the rapid pace of digital transformation the retail industry experienced.

Big C, one of Thailand’s largest supermarket chains, launched its Weixin Mini Program in January 2022, to maximise its business capacity by pioneering cross-border e-commerce. The Program enables it to offer customers all-in-one shopping experiences where before- and after-sales services, catalogue browsing and transactions can all be done in one place, thereby spurring expansion. 

From local supermarket chain to cross-border e-commerce pioneer

Jinhui Li, Big C’s senior manager of Cross-border E-commerce, shared that at the height of Thailand’s tourism boom in 2019, Big C’s flagship store, located near one of Bangkok’s most popular sites, the Erawan Shrine, attracted tens of thousands of Chinese shoppers eager to buy a plethora of well-priced goods, including clothing, beauty and health products, foods and souvenirs. Then the pandemic struck, leading to a drastic drop in tourists. 

“The company quickly sought solutions to overcome the uncertainty and explored multiple options to reach its biggest international market – visitors from China. We felt that Weixin Mini Programs were more in line with our long-term strategic needs. The Mini Program enables us to easily connect with Chinese customers who are already familiar with Big C products. They can now browse our product catalogue online, make their purchase and wait for the products to be delivered.” Li added

In January, Big C launched its cross-border e-commerce service via Weixin Mini Program, an in-app service in the Weixin ecosystem under Tencent to offer a slew of lifestyle features such as e-commerce, booking appointments, issuing vouchers, and more.

The key advantages of using Weixin Mini Programs include:  

  1. The low cost of opening a store within Weixin – Weixin Mini Programs don’t charge commissions or subscription fees 
  2. Seamless user experience through a mature ecosystem where customers can communicate with retailers, make transactions, and receive support all within one app
  3. One-stop platform for Official Accounts, Mini Programs, and community engagement that enable effective retention of customers and enhance users’ brand loyalty
  4. Flexible product listing that doesn’t restrict the number of categories retailers can include, while the Mini Programs allow for a wide range of items to be listed. 

The QR codes of Big C’s Weixin Pay and Weixin Official Account are displayed at the cashiers.

The QR codes of Big C’s Weixin Pay and Weixin Official Account are displayed at the cashiers.

Understanding the market by trial and error 

The mini program’s interface is evolving based on data and customer feedback. Initially, Big C’s mini program focused on highlighting its corporate branding. The operations team discovered, however, that a design which emphasises the selling point of the product performed better. This enabled consumers unfamiliar with Thai products to understand their benefits at a glance, leading to a higher conversion rate. 

Product design has been optimised based on consumer feedback received via Weixin Official Account, Mini Program and group chat.

Weixin Mini Programs’ flexible back-end system is also crucial as it allows Big C to update its product display based on demand. The team soon learned that there was higher demand online for local snacks and delicacies, such as bird’s nest, making them quickly change the main product display based on the numbers.  
The biggest challenge encountered so far is logistics. Big C plans to overcome the logistical issues by entering China’s bonded warehouse market to shorten the processing and delivery time and improving the shopping experience. 

The power of word of mouth online 

Businesses can easily communicate with customers and receive their feedback through Weixin Mini Programs, which helps with their customer relationships. The most popular means is through the brand’s community on Weixin, which is also known as a private domain in China’s social commerce market. 

At the same time, Big C customer support and operations teams use WeCom, Tencent’s enterprise communications tool interoperable with Weixin, offering personalised services. Consumers can enter Big C’s WeCom groups by scanning a QR code, where community operations teams interact with members for product and after-sales consultations, as well as the distribution of coupons, goods and even practical visitor information. 

“We can still improve many aspects of Big C’s Weixin Mini Program as it’s only just been launched,” concludes Jinghui Li. “But as an early adopter, the company is an important pioneer in cross-border e-commerce in Thailand and beyond. Moreover, its simple yet effective global business model has encouraged other Southeast Asian merchants to follow suit to survive and thrive during this difficult period.”

#Tencent #TencentTH #BigC #WeixinMiniProgram #WeChat #Weixin
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