WeChat Mini Program Helps Japanese Merchants Achieve New Cross-border E-commerce Growth in Chinese Market despite the Pandemic

TOKYO, Nov. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The rampant global pandemic in 2020 has battered the retail industry in Japan, with those retailers heavily reliant on foreign consumers and tourists most affected. 

WeChat Applet Helps Japanese Merchants Achieve New Cross-border E-commerce Growth in Chinese Market despite the Pandemic
WeChat Applet Helps Japanese Merchants Achieve New Cross-border E-commerce Growth in Chinese Market despite the Pandemic

Facing a stagnant tourism market and restricted foot traffic in brick-and-mortar locations, the retail industry is trapped in a financial downturn. Against this background, cross-border e-commerce solutions, mostly dominated by WeChat Mini Programs, have received much attention. By setting up cross-border direct-mail online stores in WeChat and leveraging products in the WeChat ecosystem including Mini programs, Official Accounts, WeChat Groups and livestreaming, more and more Japanese brick-and-mortar retailers have successfully connected with Chinese consumers, bringing much needed relief and recovery to businesses.

From this emerging market trend, TSURUHA Drug stands out especially as a key player. 

Diversion through WeChat Ecology Achieves up to 20% Share Ratio for TSURUHA Applet 

As the largest cosmeceuticals group in Japan, TSURUHA Drug officially launched its TSURUHA Drug WeChat Mini Program in October 2020. Unlike physical stores which charge a consumption tax on top of products, the Mini Program store exclusively sells products at prices exempt from this tax and offers 1400+SKUs, allowing Chinese consumers to shop for cosmeceuticals online at home. 

According to public data, WeChat has more than 1.2 billion monthly active users in China and worldwide, and WeChat Pay has more than 800 million monthly active users. Utilizing WeChat Mini Program as part of a merchant’s cross-border business strategy provides access to these 1.2 billion WeChat users and prospective customers. On this basis and facilitated by the social sharing function of WeChat, friends and WeChat groups can be directed to share information. In addition, official accounts, recommendation upon payment, and other marketing capabilities can help facilitate continuous user conversions and bring incremental users to merchants’ applets.

In the TSURUHA Drug WeChat Mini Program, the Mini Program, product pages, coupon activity and other information can be shared promptly via WeChat social chains, enabling compelling word-of-mouth product recommendations and special offers among friends, creating exposure and increased conversion for brand owners. According to the Mini Program’s background data, the share ratio of the TSURUHA Drug Applet is as high as 20%, which means that for every five persons, there is one actively involved with the sharing and recommending of the Mini Program, bringing additional traffic and business growth to the brand.

As said by Miura Kazuyuki, Managing Director of TSURUHA: "With WeChat, TSURUHA Drug is able to connect with 1.2 billion Chinese consumers and focus on transforming corporate and brand fans into core fans and building private domain traffic pools by leveraging private domain tools such as official accounts, WeChat communities, and Mini Programs, which help TSURUHA achieve business growth while better supplying quality local Japanese products to consumers across China." 

Compared with the time and space limits imposed by physical stores, the merchants use WeChat Mini Programs to make available their shops 24/7, enabling Chinese consumers to do "cloud shopping" at home at any time. 

Through the "Mini Program + community + official account", WeChat not only helps TSURUHA Drug form an "integrated online and offline independent brand management position", but also builds a core environment to activate and maintain fans. The official account lies at the entrance to traffic acquisition and maintenance, while the community is the site of traffic growth and maintenance. Finally, the Mini Program enables transaction conversion, thus enabling a total private domain transformation platform to be built.

Since its launch, the TSURUHA Drug Mini Program has achieved significant transactions growth, reaching about 50% of their offline WeChat payment sales in the same period of 2019 during its opening period. Moreover, the average number of visits to the TSURUHA Drug Mini Program is up by 80 times per day, with high user viscosity and strong shopping demand.

Uniquely different from other e-commerce platforms, WeChat Mini Program can drive user traffic and user data accumulation back to merchants themselves, which is useful for merchants to continue their operations and build their brand data assets. In addition, compared with the original "once-for-all deal" (the idea of consumers returning to China after a once-off offline purchase), it can more effectively improve the re-purchase rate of Chinese consumers and bring continuous growth to merchants.

According to the background profile data of the Mini Program, more than 70% of users are female, which makes TSURUHA Drug confident in the increment of Chinese market, "with the help of the WeChat Mini Program, we shift from physical stores in Japan to an online platform facing China, providing Chinese consumers with a new channel to buy Japanese cosmeceutical products. We’ve had pretty good growth since we started a month ago, and this is just the beginning."

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