The WeChat M-commerce – Travel Opportunity or flight of fancy?

Of all the services travel industry avails to its consumers, its customer communication that is decisive in building and nurturing a valuable relationship. And there is hybrid opportunity opening up in m-commerce. In 2014, one-third of all m-commerce transactions were travel related. Mobile travel bookings are set to hit $39.5 billion in 2015.

As devices and mobile apps continue to rise, there is one thing we cannot ignore – the connected consumers and their ability to leverage information, commerce and services at any instant. Of all that connect Travel today, communication apps feature as a leading tool.

Most of us will recognize WeChat – the second largest global messaging service after WhatsApp. A social chat app, it combines a huge array of functions as its users connect with each other and share a wide range of content. What most don’t know it that it also has emerged as a viable sales channel for Asia based travel companies. Ex: South China Airlines is now taking bookings via WeChat (through an online travel agency’s account) and using it as a customer service channel.

Let’s consider some numbers:

There are currently 468 million monthly active users in China. (source: Tencent)

In Mobile commerce spending in Q1 of 2014 totalled $10.3billion, representing a 140.8% year-on-year increase (source: Observer Solutions).

2 million people used WeChat to pay for taxi rides in just one day in February 2014(source: Tech in Asia)

On one hand this offers tremendous opportunity to tourism industry and brands to establish connections with Chinese tourists without having to have a presence in China. And an even bigger opportunity as WeChat with established 468million users is gaining global adoption. What do you think are such apps with mcommerce functionality capable of impacting?

The possibility of having multiple touch points to leverage at every aspect of the journey is thought-provoking. WeChat impacts that elusive gap on the path to purchase (between communication and buying) making branding and communication so much more actionable.

And this 2015 we’ll find out if this trend flies or is simply…a flight of fancy.

About the Author:

Renee Kishore is digital marketing specialist, and a published author. A researcher and writer of change tactics and technologies in travel and other verticals, she frequently posts across the digital ecosystem. With 8-yrs of experience in communications and marketing, Renee has a passion for discussions and can be reached at: renee.kishore@www.igtsolutions.com

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