Starting today, Chinese customers of WeChat will be able to buy items through the app. The creators of the social media app, Tencent, have added support for any brands to allow customers to purchase items or services from inside the app.
Customers can even use the app in retail outlets, where the user's order in WeChat , will produce a QR code that the in-store employee can scan. The app can also be used purely for online purchasing, in a similar way to Paypal and Ebay transactions.
WeChat users in China can find this option inside some of the listed brands' official accounts on the app. It only works with 'service accounts', which are those designed to support companies and retailers in offering things such as loyalty cards, customer service and online selling.
Pacific Coffee, a chain of hot beverage stores that rival Starbucks and Costa, provide an option to buy drinks through WeChat if you have an account. Customers can then select the type of drink, the size, quantity and also how they wish to pay. Pacific Coffee have their own prepaid card, so the amount spent is automatically debited to the loyalty card.
These ecommerce spending options are available through WeChat's own payment app, WeChat Payments. Additionally, they have a framework for in-app purchases, allowing the app to take the functionality mainstream to all verified vendors.
WeChat now need to secure big retailers, ecommerce sites and other companies to make use of this commercial function. The results of this look promising, as there are a number of big-name companies who already have WeChat service accounts, McDonalds and Starbucks for example, so it is simply a case of waiting to see if this new payment method catches on.