Aurelien Rigart is a co-founder and vice-president at digital production firm IT Consultis. The company provides strategy and tech solutions on WeChat Work, mentioned in this article.
Tencent is poised to disrupt the social commerce landscape once again, this time by leveraging WeChat’s sister app—WeChat Work. WeChat Work has undergone a constant stream of upgrades in recent months. With the latest update on Dec. 23, WeChat Work rolled out a long-awaited function—Moments. Those moments can be shared not only with colleagues on WeChat Work, but consumer WeChat users. And this is why this is so powerful.
Tencent introduced WeChat Work in 2016 as a dedicated tool for business communication. Over time, the app has evolved to serve social commerce better.
The platform provides an instant messaging with internal company functionalities, similar to those of Slack, and also connects seamlessly with other non-work chat apps. Tencent connects the app to WeChat to maximize interaction and minimize friction and, more importantly, create a champion in social selling. By utilizing the platform, employees can engage with everyday WeChat users, while administrators maintain a high degree of control over the relationships they build. In this way, WeChat Work is a dream tool for social commerce.
Social media are growing increasingly important to sales in China, as customers prefer to buy products recommended by a familiar face. What we call social commerce includes livestreamers, brand-focused networks like Little Red Book, and brand participating in social media to drive sales. One of the best ways to reach consumers is to get your customers to add you as a WeChat friend.
Why are WeChat Work Moments a big deal?
Before the latest update, the lack of Moments was one of the biggest complaints that brands had about WeChat Work: sales reps often shared pictures and company content on their WeChat moments to keep customers up to date. They also often shared their private, more human side with WeChat contacts to establish a relationship beyond a product purchase. With the new WeChat Work Moments, brands not only have the feature they requested, but they can prepare posts and updates on behalf of sales reps to maintain consistency across the communication spectrum. This update closes the gap between the app and WeChat.
Why WeChat Work, and not WeChat, is ideal for social commerce
WeChat Work improves on WeChat capabilities when it comes to engaging in social commerce. Brands have leveraged WeChat social commerce by having some of their employees connect directly with customers via direct conversations, or by adding them to group chats where discounts and company news were shared. This method can be successful, but has drawbacks:
- The sales reps are in control of the relationship with the customers, not the brand itself. When the sales reps leave the company, they take away their client database and the associated revenue.
- Brands have no visibility into interactions between the customer and the employee.
Leveraging WeChat Work for social commerce
With WeChat Work, brands keep control of the relationship with the customers. Brands can leverage WeChat Work in three main ways:
Acquisition and Connection
WeChat Work provides brands the ability to get insights into the salespeople’s activities and retain customer data after salespeople leave. Customers can use their own WeChat to scan the salesperson’s WeChat Work QR code and be connected immediately, while all sales staff activity on WeChat Work can be easily tracked by managers. When a sales rep leaves, the brand can easily reassign these customers to a new salesperson in case of employee turnover.
Using the app, salespeople and brands can get a full knowledge of customers by integrating social customer relationship management systems (CRMs), so that they can learn when to engage with the customers at the right time with the right content, and easily track all the selling progress from a centralized KPI dashboard. The sales team can now connect directly to their KPI system and track real-time their progressions. This gives a substantial boost in terms of motivation and, therefore, sales.
Building long-term relationships with key customers
WeChat work can build a 360-degree customer profile so that brands can create more behavioral-based tasks for salespeople to drive better conversion rates. Beyond that, the sales manager can oversee the selling progress on a macro level by tracking the number of chats or response time.
Which industries can benefit from social selling the most
Any industry can make use of social selling. One of the most notable examples would be the luxury industry, which can leverage WeChat Work’s capability to create long-term relationships and personalized experiences. Retailers can also benefit from WeChat Work O2O capabilities. Other industries can benefit thanks to the flexibility and scalability of the platform’s ecosystem. Brands can build customized apps and Mini Programs and integrate them into the app, enhancing the customer experience and streamline the sales process. The B2B sector will also see huge growth in the upcoming months in those areas.
WeChat Work’s goal
The end goal of the app is to give brands a tool to achieve a sales concept known as “whole team sales”: having all your team aligned on one platform with a consolidated marketing strategy, and capable of driving more sales for your brand. To achieve this, Tencent is once again disrupting social selling by enabling companies with a fine-tuned tool at the center of brands’ omnichannel ecosystem. This way, Tencent can drive more traffic away from marketplaces and redirect it into private traffic channels where brands can maximize revenue and nurture relationships with customers, ensuring long-term growth.