Alibaba Group is upgrading Weitao, the micro-blogging feature for use on its e-commerce sites Taobao and Tmall, to bring brands and merchants closer to their fans.
Similar to Flagship Store 2.0, the new store format that Tmall revealed last month, Weitao is also updating its layout to feature more-personalized experiences for consumers – especially for loyal customers of a brand. The upgrade would help brands better leverage content to interact with consumers, while improving the shopping experience, said Weitao head Liang Hong-Liang during a Taobao merchant event in Guangzhou on Aug. 1.
“Weitao is a content-marketing hub that’s based on brand-fan relationships. We want to provide brands with a platform, where they can clearly express their value and tell their stories to win the minds and hearts of consumers,” he said.
The experience starts with a shopper’s customer-engagement score, displayed prominently in a thermometer graphic, when they visit at brand’s Weitao page, whether through the brand’s flagship store on Tmall or the dedicated Weitao tab on the Taobao homepage.
This scoring system measures the degree of engagement between brands and their consumers based not purely on transaction, but also interaction, said Miya Duan, the director of Tmall Brand Marketing. The more interactions they have with a brand – from browsing a store and adding items to their shopping carts to leaving a review and making a purchase – the higher their score. A higher score translates into increased perks and benefits for the customer.
“To measure how engaged brands’ fans are, we should look beyond sales,” said Duan, who led the development of the customer-engagement score. She said while some users are willing to buy from a brand, others are devoting their time and attention. “For brands, [both] are equally important,” she said.
Weitao said it will open up the new format to more brands and content creators on the channel in the coming months, the company said. The newly revamped channel will not only offer dedicated sections to promote new products, but also allow users to bookmark these soon-to-launch items. Instead of having to set alarm clocks ahead of the sale, the app will send reminders to users when those products hit the shelves.
In addition to the new features, Weitao also said it plans to expand its suite of marketing tools in the second half of the year, including new campaigns designed to help brands drive sales for their new products and reward their fans with special privileges.