In this IT Consultis case study, you will learn how we helped Vetreska - a premium cat food brand - develop 2 e-Commerce WeChat Mini Programs with Magento and Laravel for Chinese customers.
Vetreska is a leading premium cat food, toys, and accessories brand founded in New York City.
Thanks to its skillful craftsmanship and eye for captivating designs without sacrificing functionality, Vetreska has been expanding very fast in China and the rest of the world.
Far from being a simple pet brand, Vetreska has created its own warm and welcoming cocooning universe for pet lovers and their furry companions. Customers can easily recognize the elegant and colorful brand that developed a smart referral strategy to increase its B2B and B2C sales.
Thus, the brand had a similar aim when branching out to China. And this is where IT Consultis (ITC) stepped in as an expert in digital transformation in China to help Vetreska realize its vision.
By then, the cat brand was already present on common marketplaces - public platforms - to attract public traffic.
However, these were only templated solutions. They do not allow Vetreska to develop its own design and limit its customer experience offerings. In other words, its Tmall, JD.com, and Youzan stores were looking like any other cat food brand.
Although Tmall offers a bit more customization, it is still not distinctive enough for sellers to really differentiate itself from competitors.
Therefore, Vetreska was looking for more autonomy in terms of the visuals and configuration of the e-Commerce stores to create more personalized experiences that strongly reflect its brand image.
And its answer was to build an online-to-offline (O2O) e-Commerce WeChat Mini Program (MP), a private sub-app on a private platform that enables boundless customization.
To further enhance the customer experience, Vetreska also wanted to add a loyalty and referral program, which would also help effectively boost brand awareness.
In addition, aside from selling cat food and accessories online, the brand was planning to open a Cat Cafe in Shanghai as well. Thus, it needed another dedicated WeChat Mini Program for these separate operations, including appointment bookings and menu orders.
Overall, the general objectives that Vetreska wanted to achieve in the China market were:
Firstly, ITC helped Vetreska build a WeChat Mini Program as a shopping platform for both its B2B and B2C users with loyalty programs and referral bonuses included. Each user could manage their own account, check the closest cat food shop, and order online.
Since it is a Mini Program on WeChat, ITC enabled users to easily connect using their existing WeChat accounts. However, the process was not as simple from the developers' side as it required some technical and administrative expertise.
Particularly, thanks to years of experience and knowledge in the China eCommerce ecosystem, our ITC developers decided to leverage Magento and Laravel as the backend of the Mini Program to successfully build an optimized and secured WeChat login solution for Vetreska.
Our native Chinese team also ensured to obtain and handle the necessary paperwork and authorizations for the Mini Program creation.
Here's a plus: We asked first-time users visiting the Mini Program to follow the brand's WeChat Official Account to boost its returning private traffic as well.
Keep in mind that Vetreska is not only a business-to-consumer (B2C) brand. In addition to selling to direct consumers, the premium brand is also selling food to pet clinics.
Despite the difference in targeting, Vetreska wanted to enable its business clients to conveniently order through the same Mini Program as well. This way, it could also gather all of the orders on the same platform.
Thus, to effectively target each audience, ITC decided to segment them during the login process by providing 2 login methods. Individuals could log in using their WeChat Accounts, while companies could register with a different approach.
The entire WeChat Mini Program is designed by the ITC team to provide a smooth and elegant experience and appropriately reflect Vetreska’s brand image.
The main background colors were white and grey which are easy on the eyes. Simultaneously, Vetreska also featured pops of colors here and there in the illustrations, CTA buttons, and other icons. This matched the idea of a fun, adorable, and approachable cat brand for cute furry friends.
Navigation-wise, users could seamlessly move from the Homepage to the Product Category, Product List, and, finally, individual Product Details pages where they could find specifications and reviews for each item.
Product reviews are powerful, especially in China where collectivist culture is the norm. According to KPMG's report, over 60% of Chinese consumers reportedly searched for reviews and recommendations online before purchasing, which is much higher than America's 39.4% and the global average of around 55%.
Thus, Vetreska made sure to include clear ratings and reviews on its Product Details. The signature rating stars were even replaced with hearts to maintain the cutesy image of the Mini Program.
Overall, ITC helped transform the Mini Program user journey into a pleasant and intuitive experience suitable for the Chinese market.
To enhance personalization and further improve the customer experience, Vetreska also implemented a referral program that would incentivize users to speak, comment, and share its Mini Program.
In particular, the cat brand developed a special point system. Each time the user shared the WeChat MP, regardless of whether they were a cat owner or not, they could receive points to use in future purchases with Vetreska or convert into money.
This ingenious referral campaign was fascinating to users as they could literally earn money by merely sharing Vetreska’s Mini Program.
As a result, the brand could encourage effective word-of-mouth and raise brand awareness while strengthening its relationship with customers and increasing sales.
Keep in mind that this idea would not have been possible on third-party providers like Tmall or JD.com. They do not provide any alternative payment methods and point systems like what Vetreska was planning.
Thus, with the help of ITC, the cat brand could successfully incorporate this referral program into its WeChat Mini Program built from scratch using Magento and Laravel.
Having access to all their customer data was also essential for Vetreska. This would permit the brand to build personalized targeted campaigns and know its audience better.
Sadly, public third-party platforms do not allow brands to capture and visualize all of the users' data, especially when it comes to eCommerce.
Thus, building a private traffic acquisition channel like WeChat Mini Programs is a great way for Vetreska to gain full ownership of the data. And more insights into consumers' behaviors mean better targeting strategies can be developed.
In fact, this was possible thanks to the utilization of Magento as the back-end framework. This e-Commerce platform allows brands to collect all data from the Mini Program, from the type of products selected and not purchased to the average basket of orders.
As a result, the cat brand was able to closely monitor and analyze orders, promotions, and other eCommerce data to make better decisions for growing its cat lovers fanbase.
Furthermore, Vetreska also needed to build a robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) as a pillar to leverage sales.
To provide our client with ease of use and a variety of CRM tools, ITC connected the Social CRM tool Jing Digital with the backend. Then, we developed a user-friendly Chat Bot to guide the Mini Program users throughout their journey to maximize conversion.
Aside from the e-Commerce WeChat Mini Program, ITC also helped Vetreska develop a second one for its offline Cat Cafe store. Below are the main functions of this MP:
First, the Mini Program allowed users to create their own profiles and book an appointment at the fancy Cat Cafe.
Similar to the eCommerce Mini Program, the visual elements properly conveyed Vetreska’s brand identity and the customer journey was entirely personalized.
In addition, customers could also browse and order from the in-store menu via the WeChat Mini Program. They could easily purchase a drink or snack to enjoy in the peaceful and cozy Cat Cafe among new furry friends. No need to move an inch while cats are laying on your legs!
Other than the basic functions of a restaurant-like Mini Program, users could also find a cat catalog containing profiles of all the cats at Vetreska Cat Cafe.
The catalog was designed like a card game, enabling users to:
As a result, this gamification created a fun and engaging community of cat lovers on the Mini Program, matching the brand's image and goals.
In 4 months, ITC managed to:
To quote our Project Manager Stacy Z.:
"One thing I will consider successful is that the clients were happy. They were pleased with the design, the look, and how the requirements were successfully translated technically, and implemented. This is what I consider a measure of success".
What about your WeChat Mini Program project?
IT Consultis is a digital transformation consultancy based in Shanghai. With over 10 years of experience, we are strongly committed to researching, creating, and executing the best digital solutions, ranging from strategic projects to entirely tailor-made web developments, WeChat Mini Programs, apps, e-Commerce websites, and in-store experiences.
Let us know your next steps in the China and Asia markets and we will help you maximize your ROI with the best digital transformation strategy!