Get inside the head of our mini program designer Travis Collins as he gives an honest critique of the mini program strategies of three popular sportwear brands: Nike, Adidas, and Puma. Collins brings you along as he explores the accounts step-by-step, sharing what was done well.... and what could have been done better.
Originally, I had set out to write a piece analyzing the e-commerce mini programs of Nike, Adidas, and Puma, but a mini program’s effectiveness is heavily tied to the corresponding WeChat Official Account strategy, so this piece takes a more holistic approach, not only reviewing the mini programs themselves, but how well they are integrated into each brand’s Official Account and other mini programs.
Let’s kick things off with Nike.
When I enter the account, I am sent a welcome message customized to promote the upcoming 11.11 shopping festival. Immediately following that, I am sent a card for their e-commerce and loyalty mini program which has been updated for 11.11. Sending a mini program card along with the welcome message is great way to drive action.
Nike welcome message
For Nike and most retailers in China, 11.11 is an important time and customer engagement and hype is the name of the game. From this perspective the welcome message is done well and gets high marks because it drives new users right into a deep 11.11 experience aka it quickly drives users into a high-priority business goal related experience.
What could have made it even more effective would have been to add a hyperlink in the welcome message. For example, they specifically mention a menu button and could have linked to that content.
They have a menu item with the same name, strange they didn’t hyperlink it
For their microsite, they've done a good job incorporating various pages of the mini program into the menu. This is a great way to call out features of the mini program instead of users having to search for them.
Like most large retail brands, the broadcasts are fantastic. Nike’s use of seamless mini program kick outs is fantastic making it easy for users to click an image or button and jump to the mini program.
Images in the broadcast (left) directly open to the featured item in the e-commerce mini program.
Each user that clicks through a broadcast and enters the mini program would have a slightly unique experience due to marketing automation. Nike binds users’ Union IDs to their Nike accounts and has integrated that into most of their WeChat experiences so that they can give each user a unique experience without the hassle of continued log-ins.
For WeChat users who don’t already follow the WeChat Official Account, the mini program also leads people back to the Official Account with a QR code at the bottom.
QR code at the bottom of the mini program leads users back to the Official Account
Their POS system is even linked through their “NikePass”通行证 program which generates a QR code connecting offline transactions to the online experience. Compared to many other brands, Nike’s WeChat experience is very connected, but unfortunately not all experiences are linked and there are not enough unique experiences to blow me away for a perfect score.
Their ecommerce/loyalty mini program is done well. It is beautiful and has shoes and clothing specifically for Nike loyalty customers. The more loyal a customer is, the more access he or she has to special product drops. This is a great strategy, but I felt the mini program lacked an e-commerce store feel without much of a product gallery.
Nike’s e-commerce and loyalty mini program
For new users, the push to sign up for a Nike account and the use of WeChat API's and a beautiful form to make the process as simple as possible is definitely a big plus. For Nike this is a great way to convert users to loyal customers for the long run and to engage and nurture brand fandom. They even have a 48h journey that continuously prompts users to register for membership.
The sign up form to become a Nike Plus member
Now the training mini program is a great idea, but it has one glaring issue. It’s a mini program designed to be your personal trainer using videos, however the videos all show up distorted and it seems like they are square videos that are being stretched to fit the screen of a smart phone. On top of that, when I tried playing it, the video didn’t play smoothly, and the voiceover track contained clicking sounds.
Distorted video in Nike’s training program
This is not a good look for Nike. Rule #1 is to make sure all images, audio, and videos are crisp.
Also, the mini program requires a second log in which means it is not linked to the Nike account that is being bound to users’ union IDs. This means it is left out of the loop and data is not being shared or incorporated.
Overall the Nike experience is quite good especially when it comes to driving loyalty program sign ups, connecting online and offline, and their long term approach to building a closer relationship with each customer, but the bad video quality of the training mini program and its disconnect from the rest of the ecosystem brought down the scores a bit.
The Adidas experience started with a welcome message which drove me directly to their Adiclub loyalty mini program using both a text link in the welcome message followed up with a MP card. It’s a very clear experience that I'd imagine they get a very high click thru rate on. Using the welcome message to drive users directly into the loyalty club is a great use of the first message as binding users is the most important goal for long-term business growth.
Adidas welcome message
My only issue here (and why I couldn’t give them a perfect score) is that the welcome message doesn’t include a description of the OA so as a new follower I don’t really know what the account offers outside of the loyalty program.
However, despite that I did find the microsite quite easy to navigate. Their Official Account is well-organized with a focus on branding, e-commerce and loyalty, the three pillars of retail digital strategy. The only out-of-place feature was e-invoice, which was tucked under Adiclub, but since it's not one of the most important features it wasn’t a big deal.
Adidas OA menu. The only thing that seemed out of place was the e-invoice (right).
Almost every time I click through on the welcome message or a menu item, I’m taken to a mini program, which in my opinion is a better choice than an H5 page and can generally provide a better user experience.
The account features two mini programs: A loyalty MP and an e-commerce MP.
The loyalty club has similar functions to Nike’s loyalty MP but Adidas has also included events. The MP’s feature set is solid but the lay out could use a redesign to better showcase the features. The main issue I have is the long loyalty sign up form. They should look to shorten this up if possible.
Sign up form is a bit long which reduces conversion rate
The store is absolutely beautiful and was extremely well done. The user experience of the menu/search page really stood out to me. It gave a sense of luxury and ease when browsing the merchandise.
Adidas’ e-commerce mini program.
Integration between the store and adiCLUB
What's more, the integration of the e-commerce store into the Adiclub mini program and loyalty system is seamless. For starters, the login for the store was synced with the loyalty app. So once I log in here I’m logged in there and vice versa. That gives the user a sense of trust in the company.
Registering in the adidas membership center
Only prompting profile access API when I enter adiCLUB, did not need to fill out sign up form again
Offline event participation is also integrated with loyalty, so users earn more points for brand engagement. Having check-ins at events and linking to loyalty is an excellent initiative.
Adidas’ broadcast messaging is also done very well, and the integration and usage of mini program CTAs is top-notch. Their e-commerce MP does not require the user to be a part of their loyalty club to purchase so click-to-purchase from broadcast messaging is even more potent.
Adidas’ broadcast messages are well-designed
Adidas has a great ecosystem of mini programs that are all linked. Their data is flowing, but I think their services could be stated better. They need to clean up the loyalty app design and even more importantly the loyalty form. Other than that, they have a very nice mini program + Official Account ecosystem.
Lastly, I checked out Puma. Puma's main WeChat service account pushes users to join the Puma loyalty club as soon as they follow the OA. As I’ve mentioned with the other two accounts, this is a great call to action. It is done in a text link, so it probably doesn’t convert as well as if they also sent the mini program card, but it’s a great start.
Puma welcome message
I clicked the link and entered the MP but unfortunately upon entry it feels like there isn’t much going on. They do have loyalty system integration linking points to every purchase which is a great driver for loyalty. Other than that, the MP shares upcoming events but not much else. And there’s no e-commerce MP, for e-commerce users must go to the website. To make things worse, there’s a tab for “Puma Mall” in the loyalty MP, but nothing happens when I click on the products, which is misleading and can confuse users.
Puma loyalty MP
Puma e-commerce H5
If I go back out to the microsite it is fairly easy to navigate. It's simple, with not as many use cases covered as the Adidas account, and some of the menu items are a bit vague making it a little unclear what they are for.
Vague menu items
The broadcasts are quite cool, but they are missing good CTAs. For products they provide codes the users must remember and type in later on the website to search for the item. This is by far the worst experience possible, even a Taobao link would be better for conversion as that can be copied and pasted in to find the exact item. This lack of easy CTAs or ability to purchase makes it hard to give a better score.
Requiring users to search for product codes is a surefire way to get low conversion rates
After Adidas and Nike, Puma‘s OA and MP seem quite lacking, they’re still leaving a lot on the table.
Note: We are in no way at all affiliated with the 3 brands highlighted here (but we’d love to be, *wink wink*) and they were arbitrarily chosen by the author for the purpose of writing this article. We do not intend to offend anyone with our criticisms and are merely giving an open and honest UX review.