WeChat’s new function puts direct sales in limbo

As an app with 1.25 billion monthly active users, WeChat has become one of the best options for direct sales in the Chinese market. Businesses can reach out to their Chinese consumers in multiple ways – such as creating an official account, a store, or a mini-program – but most of all, by creating group chats. Group chat has become one of the most widely used marketing tools amongst Chinese brands who want to talk directly to their current or potential customers and maintain the relationship on a daily basis. However, this picture is about to change due to a new function introduced by WeChat.

Users who have updated the app to its latest version are now empowered to hide up to six group chats in one tab and keep the tab at the bottom of the chat list. This is great news for those who want to stay in the loop about new products but feel fed up with frequent brands promotions. However, by the same token, the new function can also put up walls between the marketers and their customers and increase the cost of maintaining the relationships.

Nevertheless, this fear of being put on the shelf makes it a great time for brands in China to rethink their direct marketing strategies. For instance, how to make the most of group chat marketing? Bombarding the customers with messages will only make them end up in the invisible group; diverse and engaging interactions – such as building one-to-one relationships through personal services or making client engagement efficient by setting up a brand’s day or festival – can lead to real customer loyalty.

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