How WeChat enables O2O Commerce using QR code

WeChat has successfully managed to promote QR coding in China as part of an o2o (Online to offline) marketing strategy. Users will capture QR coded posters on their smartphone camera and interact with the brands marketing efforts digitally. WeChat has arguably revitalised the QR code, which has largely struggled with being used widely. By connecting the QR code technology directly to WeChat’s 500 million users’ smart phones, the way was paved for QR codes to be a daily part of life for many consumers. QR codes are a great source of marketing as they enable offline marketing efforts such as billboards become interactive with their audience, enabling the audience to go digital to learn more information from the original advertisement in a more enjoyable experience.

QR codes accompanied by internet access on smartphones now means that potential consumers can engage with advertisements they have encountered in public instantly. Before these advancements in digital technology, a potential consumer would have to wait until they got home to engage further with the offline marketing tool they had seen earlier in the day. In today’s world we are all processing more information daily than ever before. Due to this, our expectancy of stimulation has been increased and therefore so too must be the opportunities to engage and be entertained be increased in marketing campaigns.


An interesting case study on the capabilities for o2o is Sandro, a French fashion brand recently entering the Chinese market. Upon the opening of their retail store in Beijing, they allowed for customers to take part in a photo session by a professional. This was conducted to serve the purpose of promoting their entrance to the Chinese market as well as promoting their new range of clothing. In order to receive their photo, customers had to scan a QR code using WeChat. Once the event had passed, customers received their own “Sandro-look” via WeChat. Customers could then share their photos on Moments, China’s alternative to Instagram. The Sandro case study highlights practices that can be adopted by combining o2o marketing strategies. The result of Sandro’s Beijing marketing campaign was that one third of the participants ended up purchasing clothing products from the retail store.

Whilst QR coding has been around for some years, the significance of WeChat’s adoption of the technology is more than just a significant increase of potential QR code users in China. There are over 100 million active users of WeChat outside of China. Whilst it is unlikely that WeChat will be adopted by Westerners, the millions of WeChat users outside of China could potentially export their culture of QR coding in advertising leading to Western social media channels adopting the QR technology to the same success it has had in China.

If you operate in the retail industry and would like more information on how utilising WeChat’s potential for your own o2o strategy, Please follow our link to learn about the opportunities in Emerging market and strategy & planning  or contact us via the contact information details below.


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