How to use WeChat location feature for business?

Apr. 17, 2015

This post is the third part of the five-week-long Flow WeChat Marketing Special series in which every week we introduce and explain the practical use of selected WeChat features.

 

This post is the third part of the five-week-long Flow WeChat Marketing Special series in which every week we introduce and explain the practical use of selected WeChat features.

Leveraging location based WeChat features

WeChat location based functions can use the mobile network, the Global Positioning System and the wifi network to identify users location.

Leveraging WeChat followers’ location information can be beneficial for online and offline businesses as well. Brick-and-mortar stores, restaurants or event venues can increase foot-traffic by providing directions to WeChat users based on their geographical position. Online businesses can provide relevant location specific information and services based on the user location. WeChat official accounts can send out customized messages to their followers based on their location.

WeChat users can choose if they want to share their location information when following a WeChat account. If the location sharing is switched off by default, service accounts can ask for permission to access their location data whenever they need it.

There are many great examples of businesses using this simple WeChat feature. A perfect day out can be planned just by communicating with WeChat service accounts that are using WeChat location features.

By following MoJi Weather China‘s (墨迹天气)Wechat service account, users can receive  weather and air quality information for their City. Users can also get weather updates for other cities just by texting a city’s name to the account.

ChuMenWenWen (出门问问)  is a service to find places of interest close to your location. Their WeChat service account cleverly combines the benefits of WeChat location features and the ability of sending message based responses. Users can send messages saying what they would like to do and ChuMenWenWen sends back the options based on their location. Once the users have selected the option they liked the most, ChuMenWenWen can generate the route to the location right within WeChat.  Furthermore, the service also uses voice recognition, but this requires a fairly good pronunciation from the users.

Accessing location information is also a fundamental tool for taxi hailing and personal transport apps including YiDaoYongChe (易到用车) or DiDiDaChe (滴滴打车). If the access to the user’s location is permitted then apps can prefill the users‘ address or suggest potential close addresses based on their location. Once a driver takes the order, the users can track the drivers distance from the pickup address and the estimated time till the drivers arrival.

Integrating WeChat’s location related functions into your website is great way to provide location specific information, content and services. Using WeChat’s publicly available software development kit, your web page can access powerful location related functionalities if it is opened in the WeChat browser.

After getting the users’ location,  the information can be retrieved for further processing and edits on your own server. It can then be reused and sent to trigger other programmed functions and events.

There are many practical ways to leverage WeChat‘s location features in your promotional campaigns, services or in other web based communication:

  • event promoters can send notifications to visitors of an exhibition or remind users who signed up but did not arrive yet
  • send coupons to users shopping nearby your store or restaurant
  • show content on you website more relevant to the user’s location
  • show direction on your website’s contact page based on the users location

 
Overall, WeChat location features can be beneficial for both online and offline businesses. Apart from serving followers with location specific services and information, location data can also be used to discover and understand consumer behaviour patterns based on the time and place of the user interactions.

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