Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Brilliant Marketing Ideas In History, Comment, Creativity, Culture, Design, ECommerce, Innovation, Insight, Marketing, Technology
One of the things that makes me smile is when I hear – or read – Western articles talking about how things like iPay will change the way people spend/transact forever.
The reason for my amusement is not just because this has been happening in China for at least 2 years, but that iPay is a massively inferior product when compared to something like Wechat wallet.
Now, to be fair, lots has been written about Wechat.
From how it has become a hub for almost every aspect of daily life in China – from messaging, to ordering food and taxis to spending, borrowing, investing or sending money – right through to it’s ability, in 2016, to transact more mobile payments in 14 days that eBay & Amazon did globally in an entire year.
[UPDATE: During the 2017 Chinese New Year, Wechat say 46 BILLION red packets [envelopes with money] were sent through their app over the 7 day holiday period. This represents 5 times the volume that occurred in 2016]
And all that is true and fascinating … but unless you live here, I don’t think anyone can truly grasp the way China has embraced technology based spending.
What makes it even more amazing is that prior to Wechat, China tended to be quite protective in how they used their money.
They were one of the slowest nations to embrace internet banking.
There’s millions upon millions of people who still won’t put their money in a bank.
And yet Wechat has come about and despite not being a bank, if has fundamentally changed consumer habits and sentiment regarding their cash.
Which has fundamentally changed retail habits and sentiment regarding how they offer service to their customers.
So how did they do it?
Well, there’s a bunch of reasons.
Without doubt one is they appeal to a different generation to those who were there before.
A generation brought up in the digital age.
A generation who have a ‘I want it now’ mentality.
But it’s more than that.
You see Wechat’s genius was they refused to take any advertising for years.
In a nation where making money is everything, Wechat resisted the lure of ‘easy cash’.
This might not seem a massive thing, but to the people here, it felt like they’d found a brand that actually cared about them.
A brand that wouldn’t sell them out to line their own pocket.
This gave Wechat an integrity few brands could ever hope to achieve – especially in such a limited period of time and in a place as suspicious as China – so when they launched their ‘wallet feature’, there was no doubt people would embrace it because the level of trust in them was so high.
Of course there’s many other reasons for their success – and arguably, Wechat did this so they could ultimately win the long game with advertisers and partners – but with so many brands talking about ‘changing behaviour and perceptions’, it’s worth remembering part of Wechat’s success is as much because of what they didn’t do, as it is what they did.
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