As Western markets are being severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, brands are rapidly turning to China as their beacon of hope. With virus outbreaks reportedly under control, the Chinese economy is rapidly rebounding. Bloomberg Economics even estimated China’s economic output had already returned to over 85% of the normal rate as of March 20th.

Confined to their homes, people spent more time on their phones, averaging 7.3 hours per day. Much of that time was spent on WeChat, causing mini program store sales volumes to surge 50-1000% during the peak virus period.

While this surge in traffic is beginning to decline as offline retail reopens, now is still a key time to launch an e-commerce mini program. Many consumers are still fearful and cautious of offline shopping, continuing to use e-commerce as their primary shopping channel. What’s more, many consumers who had been less likely to use e-commerce prior to the epidemic have now become accustomed to purchasing everything they need through online channels and will be more likely to continue to do so now that they have experienced the convenience first-hand.

For brands who have a WeChat Official Account and want to launch an online store in China fast, a mini program is the best choice. Here at ChatLabs, we can get brands up and running with a fully-integrated WeChat mini program store in 30-days or less. Here’s a detailed look at our process:


Week 1:

Configure ChatLabs Marketing and Service Modules: In the first week, we would configure the ChatLabs Marketing and Service modules and connect them to your Official Service Account. This configuration includes setting up tagging to track all user interactions on your Official Account. Tagging is very useful as it helps you understand what elements of your Official Account users are interacting with the most and also allows you to segment users based on their behaviors and preferences.

To configure and connect the modules, your brand simply needs to provide the ChatLabs team with admin access to your Official Account and we can take it from there. During this process we will also need to assign designated users from your team to access the modules in the ChatLabs backend.


Commerce Mini Program Design Template: Your implementation manager would also work with you to choose one of the predefined templates we have available for the front end of the mini program store.

Once the template has been chosen, you would need to provide us with your brand assets and branding guidelines so that we can begin development.


Week 2:

Deployment of WeChat Journeys: Your ChatLabs SCRM manager will work with you to create and deploy initial journeys for your Official Account and define commerce journeys which will be deployed once the mini program is ready to launch.

For those that aren’t familiar with WeChat journeys, they are preset messages similar to email sales funnels that get sent to users when they first add your Official Account, scan a QR code, click a link, send a keyword, or take any other actions that trigger the journey.

Setting up journeys is crucial to driving traffic to your new mini program store. For example you can send new users your mini program store card with a coupon as soon as they follow the account. An example of a commerce journey would be if you are a beauty brand and a user sends the keyword ‘mascara’, which then triggers the account to send them a mini program card leading them directly to the product page of your most popular mascara along with a follow up message asking them if that was the product they were looking for.

Your ChatLabs manager will work with you and guide you with best practices for creating WeChat journeys, and much of the content can be pulled from your existing email and SMS campaigns.


Setup Data Binding: Here at ChatLabs, we want to get your account set up to allow users to bind their data from the get-go.

Why? Well, with data binding, WeChat user information can be transformed into actionable data for segmentation, retargeting, and measurement of a customer’s lifetime value. Without it, all of your WeChat followers remain anonymous, providing only aggregate data and no means of doing targeted marketing.

In order to gain a user’s Union ID (the key identifier we want to obtain), you must apply for an Open Platform Account where you can bind all of your brand’s WeChat properties such as your Official Account, mini programs, and WeChat Pay. So of course we’ll help you do that first.

Then, we will work with you to figure out the best ways to get your followers to share and bind their Union IDs and PII (Personal Identification Information such as a phone number or email address) whether that is H5 registration forms, mini program login, or scanning a dynamic QR code.


Commerce Mini Program Configuration: Starting in week two, your implementation manager will begin to configure the commerce module. Just like when we configured the Marketing and Service modules, during this process we will also need to assign designated users from your team to access the commerce module in the ChatLabs backend.


Week 3:

ChatLabs Commerce Integration: Your implementation manager will work with you to populate the Commerce Module with product information, categories, pricing, and inventory. They will also hold training sessions to train your e-commerce managers how to use the ChatLabs Commerce backend and operate your mini program store.


WeChat Pay Integration: Your implementation manager will integrate your brand’s WeChat Pay account into ChatLabs Commerce. To do this, the manager will require access to your brand’s WeChat Pay account.


Week 4:

Launch: After weeks of development and review, we will present you with the final mini program. Once it has been signed off by you, our client, we will then send it to Tencent for review. Once it has been approved it is ready to deploy!


Complete training: During week four, your manager will finish up training with your team so that they have a complete understanding of how to operate the mini program and ChatLabs modules.


Launch Promotional Campaigns: Once the mini program ready, it will be added to your WeChat Official Account menu and incorporated into your customer journeys. We also suggest you place the mini program QR code in various offline locations as well as link to your mini program in braodcast articles.

For even better results, we highly suggest you run both Tencent ad and influencer campaigns to drive traffic.

Hopefully this will give you a better idea of what is required to get a fully-integrated e-commerce mini program off the ground. If you have any questions about this process, feel free to reach out to us or schedule a demo


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