WeChat recently announced a new feature called “store mini-app” (门店小程序), in its latest efforts to promote the application of its “mini-apps” (小程序).

The new feature will allow merchants to quickly create their own store mini-app on WeChat Media Platform (微信公众平台) while dispensing with the necessity of complicated app development.

The store mini-app feature is now available to official accounts registered by enterprises, media agencies, government organs and other organizations, while those registered by individuals cannot use the feature for the moment.

After official account owners fill in information on the WeChat of their business or stores, a mini-app akin to “shop name card” will be quickly generated. And store information will be displayed such as store name, store introduction, business hours, contact information, geographical location and images.

The mini-app feature was officially launched by internet giant Tencent in January, enabling users to access mobile services directly in-app. The innovative feature had a mediocre showing due in part to the feature’s limited use cases. It is time for the mini-app feature to shine as the introduction of the new store mini-app is set to increase more use scenarios.

This store mini-app can not only help merchants save costs (no need to hire third-party app developers again) and create an online display platform in a short period of time but is convenient for users to find merchants quickly.

In addition, the new function will promote the formation of a benign business path in which official account owners publish store information on WeChat while users buy services or goods offline guided by the feature. This will effectively connect online and offline channels, an uplift to the current mini-app feature which is more limited to online services.

WeChat, boasting a vast user base of 889 million MAU, has gained a significant amount of traffic through its tie-ups with third-party services such as Mobike, Didi Chuxing, JD.com, and Meituan.

With WeChat’s edges in user base and traffic, this new feature may help change the offline business landscape.

Sheila Yu is a Shanghai-based technology writer. She brings readers the biggest news from Chinese language tech media. Reach her at sheila@technode.com.

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