I downloaded WeChat app recently, till date, I have not fully put it to use. In fact, i rarely used the app since I downloaded it.
I have been wondering what I could ever need WeChat for?
Could it be chats? No. I already have WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger for that
Could it be sharing? No. I use Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus for that. Some even have Instagram, Pinterest and SnapChat for picture sharing.
But before you delete the app from your phone – if you have downloaded it – let me explain what I found about WeChat (it is actually known as Weixin in China) and how you can leverage the massive potential of this utility app.
I came to a conclusion that WeChat is the utility app to power the revolution of the mobile social commerce after reading how WeChat works and this presentation of Etop Ikpe (co-MD of DealDey) at AfricaBeta event where he discussed in 2 slides how mobile is the future of commerce.
Picture: Etop Ikpe, making his presentation at AfricaBeta event
What is a utility app……..?
There are actually few utility apps.
A utility app is a platform designed with frameworks to provide infrastructure for other dependent apps. A good example is Facebook that has grown its infrastructure to support the growth of other business on it. Remember games (like Zynga), social commerce, news distributions etc. are now facilitated on Facebook.
I believe WeChat is a significant utility app for mobile commerce.
WeChat is not your typical chat application. It has evolved as a utility app for gaming, commerce, payment and more. Here are typical ways you can leverage WeChat for your business in addition, you can get some ideas about official accounts on their blog. These revenue opportunities are what makes the average revenue per user (ARPU) on WeChat to be worth a massive $7 dollars.
Here are startup models that can work with (and on) WeChat
1. Community building
Have you read any of the recommendations from Eat.Drink.Lagos or listened to any of the motivational speakers like Muyiwa Afolabi (Frankly Speaking), Steve Harris, Lanre Olusola, Kunle Soriyan, Leke Alder or Fela Durotoye, and you really wish you can engage with them further? I think it is what WeChat is built for.
According to a PR expert, brands and personalities can leverage WeChat to build massive engagement. For example, official accounts like CliffCentral is an indication that Celebrities and personalities can build an engaging platform on WeChat
WeChat already recorded an eCommerce feat. In an exclusive WeChat-only sale, 150,000 units Xiaomi, China’s hottest smartphone-maker were sold, in less than ten minutes. This is a great opportunity for our many eCommerce platforms like Traclist, a fashion ecommerce platform that is already on WeChat.
3. Internet of Things
There is a big potential for Internet of Things in Nigeria.
I have had personal experiences of home automation and I have read about how Google and Apple are planning to smartify our homes.
This is what should make the WeChat’s Internet of Things Model appealing to developers.
There are several possibilities which can include building on WeChat’s framework to connect the offline world with online. A good example is a bluetooth-enabled stuffed animal toy called Dan Dan Man (user ID: idandanman), that integrates WeChat with the offline world. Parents in China can use it to send personal voice messages and pre-recorded English courses or bedtime stories while they are at work or traveling to their Kids who immediately get those stories or messages
There are several examples of the WeChat internet-to-offline lifestyle.
4. Food delivery
This partnership will work with food ordering/delivery networks like Waracake and RunAm [a campus-based food ordering service] or with shopping assistance platforms like GlooNG, SuperMartNG and DrinksNG. Already, WeChat has reported a similar integration with OrderIn which allows users to order food from anywhere during restaurant hours and pay for their orders through WeChat.
5. Courier Services
PicUp, a courier service like our ACE and MAX is already a good example of how WeChat can integrate courier and dispatch services
Partnership with Didi Dache has proven the power of WeChat in the transportation sector. This is what car hailing services like AfroCab, UBER or EasyTaxi as well as their ride-sharing counterparts JeKaLo and GoMyWay can leap on.
Maliyo and Pledge51’s ChopUp can enjoy massive exposure for their African-themed games to a global audience of 600 million WeChat users which they can monetize.
8. Content delivery like videos and music streaming…..
For the likes of IrokoTV that has recently gone mobile-only and music sites like tooXclusive, iRoking and NotJustOK, WeChat can offer a platform to distribute their content and build an engaging community. Radio Stations like BeatFM are currently on the platform with live broadcast available on their official account.
Blogs and news websites can also look to WeChat as a platform to deliver their news content. Take for example these blogs:
9. What else is up for grab?
For those of us not into apps development; there is potential to offer services.
An easy example is curating a blog, newsletter or review on all things WeChat. MobilityArena owned by Yomi Adegboye is a legacy blog dedicated to all things mobile, same with the recently launched androidportalNG that is focused on Android. A blog on all things WeChat tricks and premium courses like this one on EverNote should be an imminent business model.
10. Turning On Payments
Turning on payment is important component for the speedy growth of WeChat. And that is when it becomes beneficial to its users the most. For example, like using QR codes to accept payment in Physical stores to facilitating payments for myriads of in-app transactions
Looking at the current payment space in Nigeria; WeChat can seek direct partnerships with Interswitch and UnifiedPayment to make this happen. An alternative can be acquisition or acqui-hire of any of the existing payment aggregators like Paga, SimplePay4u, CashEnvoy, PayAttitude or VoguePay which has already enabled the option to send and receive payment in multiple currencies.
It is obvious that such strategic acquisition is not strange to WeChat.
While we are waiting for all this to happen…….we are asking for WeChat’s internet bundle plans.
Every major app has done this for us.
So we are waiting for WeChat to delight us with their internet bundle plans. With four major Telco’s to play with, WeChat can ramp up adoption by offering zero data or bundle plans typical of the weixin woka deal
While at the AfricBeta event, Idemudia Dima-Okojie, the Regional Manager, West Africa for WeChat claimed that 1 in every 20 smartphones in Nigeria has WeChat installed on it. Let’s hope, they can keep us engaged with this utility app every other day with the same legacy success story it has in China.