How and why Western brands are experimenting with WeChat

With almost 400m active users and a growing global audience, Tencent’s WeChat app is the new king of Chinese social media.

Often touted as the Chinese alternative to WhatsApp, WeChat actually offers a far broader range of features and tools.

Alongside text, video and voice messaging, users in China can make mobile payments, browse ecommerce stores, play games, or book a taxi. It even offers access to an online investment fund.

All this, coupled with the fact that the messaging app offers a veil of privacy cherished by young Chinese, makes it easy to see why WeChat has become central to its users’ lives.

Which in turn made it inevitable that marketers would seek to get in on the act, with official brand accounts first being made available around September 2012.

How Mulberry recreated the luxury in-store experience on a responsive site

Mulberry recently launched a new responsive ecommerce site that aimed to get one over on its competitors by recreating the luxury shopping experience online.

The developers were asked to focus on delivering comprehensive product information, useful imagery and a short, user-friendly checkout process that worked across all devices.

I reviewed the new site last month and overall I felt that Mulberry had achieved its aims and created an excellent ecommerce site that successfully fits within its luxury brand credentials without undermining the user experience.

To find out whether the brand itself was happy with the new site, I spoke to Mulberry Head of Online Charlotte O’Sullivan…

Mulberry’s new responsive site shows luxury brands how to do UX

Recreating the luxury retail experience on an ecommerce site is a particularly difficult task and one that many high-end retailers have struggled with.

Effective web design is supposed to be about creating a simple, convenient user experience, but luxury brands apparently find it hard to resist the temptation to design convoluted sites that value glossy imagery over user experience.

In fact we’ve previously highlighted 17 luxury brands with poor web UX, as well as looking at why luxury brands need to focus on user experience and SEO.

Therefore when Mulberry recently launched a new site my expectation was that it would be another unusable but great-looking ecommerce store.