As WeChat continues to improve the efficiency of its platform, it recently introduced WeChat mini programs, a new network for creating mini apps. With this change, users can easily access the services of merchants without having to download their apps. What are Mini Programs? WeChat’s “Xiaochengxu,” which translates as “mini programs,” are light programs that do not require the download or installation of apps. As a result, users can access the apps anytime and anywhere. Users just scan a QR code to launch, use the application without downloading it, and leave the application after use without the need to uninstall it. With mini programs, the process and is simpler, faster and more efficient. What are the benefits of WeChat Mini Program? Users can benefit from WeChat mini programs in several ways. First, they offer a new online-offline gateway. When a mini program is linked to an official account, a message is sent to all followers of the account notifying them of the new mini program. This feature helps steer traffic to mini programs linked to popular WeChat service/subscription accounts. Also, they provide a new pathway to revolutionize the client experience. While mobile apps share mini program pages directly to WeChat conversations or groups, users open the mini program rather than the app so they don’t have to install the app on their phone. Even scanning the QR codes is more straightforward. Users link their current offline app download QR codes to their mini program so scanning the QR with WeChat goes to the mini program. WeChat mini programs bridge the gap between social media and apps. Users are already accustomed to using the WeChat dashboard. Is Social Sharing part of WeChat Mini Programs? Moments are the center of WeChat social networking activities. However, mini programs cannot be shared in WeChat Moments; they can only be shared with WeChat chats and groups. The design purpose of the sharing feature is mainly for collaboration. Also, the sharing feature is on a page level, which means a user can easily share the app and specific information from the app to the WeChat Groups. How Do Mini Programs Differ from Official Accounts? There are some differences between WeChat official accounts and mini programs. WeChat official accounts are based on subscription and updates. The purpose of official accounts is to grow subscribers and followers, while keeping them engaged via daily or weekly updates. Additionally, users must subscribe to obtain the content or application from official accounts. With WeChat shared information, users just need to scan the QR code to launch any WeChat mini program and no further action is required. Another difference is that users of WeChat official accounts are followers and fans and this relationship does not exist with users of WeChat mini programs. With WeChat official accounts, users that follow receive push notifications with updates, but these notification are not enabled when accessing mini programs. If a user performs a specific action within a mini program, app owners can send notifications to the user via the mini program. Can Mini Programs and Official Accounts Be Connected? WeChat has designed connections between these two systems. Users of an official account are able to see and access all available mini programs developed by the same company. What Are the Key Differences between WeChat Mini Program and Mobile Apps? As mentioned, users of WeChat mini programs do not need to download or install the program. And, once users are finished they can just leave without uninstalling the program as they do with mobile apps. Another difference is that a central location with all WeChat mini programs, like a mobile app store, does not exist. Users cannot locate any mini program on WeChat unless they first launch the app. Also, only a 2D code is needed to enter WeChat mini programs. The end result is that mini programs are simpler and more efficient experience for users as well as more cost-efficient. It is about 20% of the development cost of mobile apps, particularly beneficial for businesses with limited capability compared to mobile apps. How to apply for WeChat Mini Programs? Applying for WeChat mini programs is easy. Just visit mp.weixin.qq.com, select mini-app registration, and enter your email address and password for registration. Interested in testing out WeChat’s mini programs? If so, contact Tolmao Group today.