Amazon is a minor player in China, with about 1% of the local e-commerce market. To drum up interest in its products imported from the U.S., Amazon just put a video ad on WeChat, the all-purpose mobile app, with a link guiding people to its online shop.
H&M sent its followers a pinball-like mobile game to win discounts; once finished, the game deposited players inside the brand’s e-store. Even Dior has used WeChat to push sales: In August, it hosted a WeChat flash sale for a customizable limited-edition powder-pink Dior handbag selling for $4,130.
WeChat, the mobile app that Silicon Valley scrutinizes for what the future might hold, hosts many experiments in social shopping. To drive sales, brands are trying ads, coupons, flash sales and games sent out to their WeChat followers—all with the hope people will share them with friends. A lot of it feels like a test to see what works.
With its 806 million monthly active users (the average user in China spends 70 minutes a day on the app), and its integrated payment system, WeChat has become a prime place for retailers and brands to play. As McKinsey reports, 31% of users initiated transactions on the app, which is double the percentage of last year.