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Operating in China means having a presence on the ubiquitous WeChat platform. That much is clear for anyone even considering operating a business in China. But when it comes to how to move your products through the platform the road forward is much less clear. Here's a breakdown of the primary options available to most customers

Third Party WeChat Store Platforms

At first glance, this may seem the most attractive option to many new businesses especially considering the price. There are dozens of options to choose from, offering a ready-to-go solution where you just need to upload your products and start selling (for a small monthly or yearly fee). The downside is that you will lose most control over your user experience, from the way the site looks to the smoothness of the checkout process and eventually the fulfillment experience of your shipped products.

This would be recommended for start-ups who are very cost-conscious, but at first glance you run into the danger of appearing to your potential customers as unserious. This can be incredibly damaging depending on what kind of products you are selling on your WeChat store. Small community-based company selling a small line of products just looking to expand their sales channels to WeChat? This could be a great practical solution.

However, if you sell any product which requires an immediate relationship of trust between your company and the customer, you may want to look at more serious options. When the customer needs to get a sense of quality from just an initial perusal of your shop alone, you'll need to show them that you're willing to invest in your product by having an awesome e-commerce shopping experience

Responsive Websites that are WeChat Compatible

Another popular method is to create a responsive website (one that works on any browser, including WeChat's web browser) so that you can catch any shopper, no matter what device of payment method they prefer. Your e-commerce site would show different designs depending on the screen and be integrated with multiple payment methods.

Hook the site up to your WeChat Official Account and they can pay for your products in-app. If your product line is vast or complicated and is easier to browse on a laptop, the customer could have Credit Card, WeChat Pay or AliPay for checkout options. Connect with an ERP system so that your products ship out smoothly without additional management from your team.

Get in touch with us to learn more about building a responsive e-commerce website

WeChat Mini Programs

WeChat Mini Programs sit in a funny place between responsive websites and full-blown mobile apps. They can fool most people into looking just like a mobile app, if not for the slight performance decrease. Generally, it's more expensive to develop than a responsive website but much less expensive to launch and maintain than developing two apps for iOS and Android.

This is a good option if you expect to have return visitation to your shop—basically, if you can realistically expect your customers to come back several times a month to buy or at least browse. You'll also need to be confident that you don't need exist outside of WeChat and WeChat Pay, unless of course you decide to build a website alongside of this