King Power International Group (Thailand) has developed its own WeChat mini-program store to cater to Chinese tourists.
The e-commerce channel is embedded in the WeChat ecosystem, and allows Chinese tourists to reserve and pay for products online, and pick them up at a designated offline retail store, writes Marketing Specialist Ker Zheng, of China cross-border e-commerce solutions provider Azoya Group.
King Power joins other travel retailers, such as DFS Group, in creating a WeChat mini-program store. The only difference, Zheng points out, is that tourists have to pick up their products at stores in Thailand’s airports.
“Tourists can search for King Power in WeChat and can either go directly to the mini-program store, or click on the link in its official account,” writes Zheng. “WeChat official accounts are where you can read about content and new promotions, and WeChat mini-programs are where you can browse and purchase goods with WeChat Pay.”
King Power’s mini-program store offers leading brands such as L’Oreal, Estée Lauder, MAC, and La Mer. Beauty and cosmetics are some of the most popular categories for travel retail given the high import taxes on them in China.
Users have to fill in their flight and passport details to qualify for duty free items, although the payment process is straightforward as the below diagram shows. “The customer just has to confirm and pay by WeChat Pay,” writes Zheng. “After that, they can pick up the item at the airport duty free store.”
Zheng says there a few key reasons why mini-programs for travel retail are important:
- It shows dedication to the Chinese customer experience.
- Retailers can pay for WeChat ads to market to Chinese tourists before they even arrive in the country.
- Mini-program stores give more time for the customer to browse and select products. This way they don’t feel rushed the way they would at an airport before getting on a flight.
- Customers don’t have to deal with long lines or become frustrated with sold-out inventory at an offline retail store.
- Customers can pay online with WeChat Pay without having to switch currencies.
WeChat mini-programs ultimately give retailers the opportunity to provide a better customer experience for the Chinese customer, Zheng says.
“Since retailers tend to sell the same brands and products that other retailers do, they can choose either to compete on price or customer experience. Creating a better customer experience prevents one from having to rely on price wars to survive.
“In the world of travel retail, the customer experience is oftentimes rushed and fragmented, because customers have to visit different venues and have a limited amount of time to browse and shop.
“Setting up a WeChat mini-program store where they can avoid the hassles of shopping offline and complete transactions online can make customers’ lives a lot easier.”