WeChat Wallet functions like Apple Pay, which allows users to purchase products and services with select credit or debit cards (mostly from Asian banks; Chase and Bank of America are not available, for instance.) Unlike Apple Pay, WeChat Wallet has integrated its parent company Tencent-owned services to let its 800 million-plus monthly users do things like pay for utilities and manage personal finance, within WeChat. It has also partnered with a limited number of third-party companies to make them more discoverable on the platform.
Many stores in China take WeChat payments. But for the time being, only eight — outside of Tencent — have their own digital portal on the platform. Here is how three brands — Starbucks, JD and Didi — utilize WeChat Wallet.
The coffee chain is the only international brand on WeChat Wallet, for now. Its 2,500 stores in China started taking WeChat payments back in December of last year. As part of this partnership, Starbucks introduced digital coffee gifts on WeChat Wallet this month.
When users enter into Wallet, they will see a Starbucks logo under “Powered by third-party operator.” Clicking on the square directs users to a branded microsite where they have the option to send a coffee drink or a gift card to a friend. Users can also choose different themes like Valentine’s Day, birthday and friendship for your gift and customize a message upon purchase.
Recipients can redeem the digital coffee gift in store.
Having spent many years in China, Saul Gitlin, principal for Gitlin Global Consulting, thinks that Starbucks’ integration with WeChat Wallet can help the brand drive in-store traffic and incremental revenue. “Without availability on Wallet, people may not even think of gifting a Starbucks coffee,” said Gitlin.
E-commerce giant JD is one of Alibaba’s biggest competitors in China, and Tencent holds more than 20 percent of stake in JD.com. A click on “Specials” takes users to the JD site where they can adjust their shopping cart or make a purchase.
Josh Gartner, vp of international corporate affairs for JD, explained that WeChat has been critical for the company since 2014. In general, 25-30 percent of first-time site visitors to JD.com come from WeChat, and that number can go up to 50 percent during major shopping events like Singles’ Day, noted Gartner.
There is also a data play. Under a strategic advertising partnership, Tencent shares data on user demographics and which public accounts people follow on WeChat. JD, meanwhile, has transaction data. When the two companies combine their data, they can help advertisers target specific demographics on WeChat, explained Gartner.
“We can help a brand narrow down its target audience on WeChat from 800 million people to 1 or 2 million, for instance,” he said.
Like JD, Didi is backed by Tencent and was integrated with WeChat Wallet back in 2014. A presence on WeChat Wallet allows users to hail a cab without downloading the Didi app, and gives Didi a competitive edge over Uber.
Uber sold its China operations to Didi last August.
While WeChat Wallet provides convenience to the end user by adding the above brands and services, Gitlin thinks that its expansion outside of China faces many hurdles. A big one: WeChat needs to grow its users overseas and convince international brands to transact on the platform. And its biggest rival, Alipay, an Alibaba-affiliated mobile wallet, started expanding its vendor relationships with European processors in August of last year to make it easier for Chinese tourists to use Alipay when they are abroad.
“Outside of China, there is little understanding about Alipay or WeChat Wallet,” said Gitlin.
Why a CBD brand is experimenting with OOH advertising to counter e-commerce buzzkills
As the digital marketing landscape continues to be murky for niche brands, CBD brand Sunday Scaries looks to OOH as a workaround.
How work-anywhere trend helped Vista attracted senior talent from heavy hitter brands
A remote-first, flexible working operating model has enabled Vista to snag top talent from major brands like Nike, Spotify, Converse and Netflix in the last year.
Quontic Bank’s metaverse outpost demonstrates the importance of brand utility in metaverse activations
Legal concerns notwithstanding, Quontic’s plans for its Decentraland location show that the bank is approaching the metaverse as a functional space for every day use, rather than an escape from reality.
SponsoredHow marketers and retailers are unlocking the true value of retail media
Ben Kneen, senior director of product management, Xandr It’s a challenging time for retailers in the advertising industry. As they cope with supply chain woes and inflation-related pressures, they seek high-margin revenue streams amid evolving privacy regulations and massive shifts in identity solutions — including IDFA, the deprecation of third-party cookies and more. In light […]
‘Cost conscious consumers, restrictive economy’: Advertising’s tough ride in 2022
The big issue for advertisers from an ad spending impact isn't the war in Europe. It’s the supply chain woes emanating from china, the pandemic and the lockdown
In-game advertising experts question Microsoft and Sony’s gaming advertising plans
The importance of free-to-play titles is one reason why some in-game advertising experts are skeptical about the tech giants’ ability to succeed in their chosen business.