What are mini programs?
Mini programs are small applications that function within WeChat. When they were first launched, they were technically simpler than the standard native apps; however, since 2018, when Tencent opened up more APIs for developers to access, they have become quite similar to native apps with regards to their complexity. Mini programs function like standard smartphone apps. Tencent officially refers to them as ‘mini programs’ due to a dispute with Apple over the use of the term ‘app’; however, the term ‘mini app’ is also sometimes used when discussing these programs.
Sample QR code of mini-program
Why should merchants choose a mini program instead of an app?
The launching of a mini program is inevitably compared with that of an app. We will now highlight the advantages of using a mini program instead of an app.
- Lower entry threshold
The point-and-click feature of mini programs eliminates the hassle of downloading an app. At the same time, the entry threshold is lowered, and the program can be accessed without becoming a follower.
- Notification function
Although customers are not required to follow the related account to access a mini program, they still enable the account owner to send notifications or reminders to users, just like the WeChat Official Account; for example, to send customers order details or business information.
- Low memory usage
Because there is no need for installation, a mini program does not take up extra storage space on a smartphone.
- Eliminating risk of deletion
Mini programs exist on the ‘Discovery’ page of WeChat and do not show up as apps on devices. This advantage helps merchants to avoid the risk of the user deleting the app, as they can with an app.
- Same visual display ability as apps
The WeChat Official Account generally provides services via H5, the functions of which is not comprehensive than app. However, mini programs compensate for the shortcomings of H5. Dependent on the technical characteristics of particular mini programs, they can provide an experience exactly like that of using an APP.
What is the relationship between WeChat and WeChat mini programs?
WeChat mini program is an application program on WeChat.
What are the functions of mini programs?
The aim of the mini program is to create a friendly, efficient and consistent user experience within the WeChat ecosystem. Every effort has been made to cater to a range of needs and to ensure that both users and service providers benefit from the mini-program platform. The functions of mini programs are summarised below:
- Sale of commodities
Mini programs are suitable for all industries, such as restaurants, shopping centres, hotels, etc.
- Domestic services
Mini programs are suitable for hotel reservations, housekeeping services, venue reservations, etc., as well as searching for accommodation, sports facilities, gyms, and other lifestyle services.
- Information enquiry
They can be used for flight enquiries, point enquiries, exchange rate enquiries, etc.
- O2O service
They are suitable for use in the catering industry, clothing industry, education and training industries, hospitals, banks, etc.
- Utility tool
Users can view weather forecasts, manage calendars, pay utility bills and rent, internet and phone bills, etc.
- Mini games
Users can even play mini games to keep entertained in their spare time.
Mini-program of Starbucks
What are the advantages of mini programs for a business?
- Mature WeChat Ecosystem
Customers can share products, compare products, place orders, and pay in one place. Mini programs significantly reduce development costs, save time and rapidly expand the market.
- Powerful Functions
Mini programs can integrate images, audio and video, geolocation information, gravity sensors, QR codes, WeChat login, and WeChat payment, and provide all the functions of a larger app. They are suitable for all industries, individuals, enterprises, governments and media outlets.
- Fast Operation
Mini programs are like a lightweight app right at your fingertips, and they can be used without any downloading or installing.
- Large User Base
There are currently around 800 million users on WeChat. Businesses can connect with consumers via one-click sharing, spread their brand quickly, expand their exposure, and improve their overall sales efficiency.
Why should merchants choose WeChat mini programs as promotional tools?
- Attract more users
A mini-program interface can be attached to 500 WeChat Official Accounts. Small programs can switch between each other, and can also switch to H5, to attract more users.
- The Nearby mini-program function
The Nearby function allows WeChat users to find any participating merchants within five kilometres, a playful solution to some business advertisers’ problem of not being easy to locate. Stores are ranked according to distance, regardless of the size of the brand.
- The mini-program code
Smaller stores have their own brands. A mini-program code can become a direct channel for consumers to get to know a specific business. For offline stores, promotions can be made available to users via a mini-program code.
- No need to install
Mini programs are a kind of application that customers are not required to download or install in order to use them. They can be used absolutely anywhere, at any time, without any special requirements.
Can overseas merchants use WeChat mini programs?
WeChat has authorised overseas companies to register their own mini programs. Currently, companies in 167 countries and regions can register for WeChat mini programs, including the US, the UK, Japan, Hong Kong, etc. However, domestic mini programs can be registered by individuals while overseas, only companies are authorised to operate mini programs. It is also worth noting that the functions of overseas mini programs are not as comprehensive as those of domestic mini programs.
How can I apply for a WeChat mini program?
Applications for mini programs can be made in the management platform of a WeChat Official Account. The documents required for registering a mini program are: business licence, company number, bank information, director’s ID, and an email address that has not been registered for a WeChat Official Account. GlobePay now provides a complete service for merchants to open mini programs, and we can also help you to promote your products with your mini program. For further details, please click: