WeShop (our translation; 微选 in Chinese), a mobile marketplace embedded in WeChat powered by mini programs, has been put out for public beta starting on Thursday. Formed jointly by JD.com and fashion online retailer Meili, WeShop has reportedly attracted over 50,000 merchants and local businesses (in Chinese) to set up stores on the platform with the domain weshop.com.
JD.com, the leading Chinese online retailer, had been added onto WeChat in 2014 as the “Shopping” channel under the Discover tab, and now the new venture powered by mini programs is leveraging JD’s current position on WeChat, helping merchants to reach a broader customer base. Users can easily get access to WeShop by entering the “Shopping” channel and tapping the “Weixuan (微选)” button in the Chinese version of the app.
Although WeShop hasn’t made available the direct purchase and shopping features, shoppers can directly communicate with the merchants by tapping on the chat button on the bottom of the merchant page, or even add the merchants as friends on WeChat.
“This new JV combines JD’s unequalled expertise in customer service, logistics, retail infrastructure, and its reputation for quality and authenticity with Meili’s clear social commerce leadership and its ability to reach female shoppers, particularly in lower-tier cities,” said Chen Qi, CEO and founder of Meili Inc., who has been named chairman of the new joint venture, in an earlier statement in January.
“The new platform will change the way that sellers are able to target and serve a wide range of underserviced consumers in China,” said Qi.
WeShop has so far seen a significant amount of local merchants, especially small and medium-sized businesses. While JD.com has its own main platform, it certainly doesn’t shy away from making efforts to sell on WeChat. WeShop’s aim is to revolutionize “social commerce” by lowering the bar for both merchants and consumers. A good chunk of the trade volume is expected to come from JD’s WeChat shopping entry point.