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How to Collect the Most First-Party Data in China and Use it to Convert Customers with Salesforce?

February 21, 2023 | Joyphie Yu

If you are still relying on third-party marketplaces for your sales in China, you may be facing the issues of data inconsistency, lack of transparency or comprehensive view of your business performance in the China market, and unable to build personalised experiences. 

These issues are the reasons why international brands in China should minimise their reliance on major Chinese e-commerce marketplaces such as Tmall and JD in order to collect the most first-party data through WeChat and WeCom that would help them better understand customer preferences and create hyper-personalised experiences on social commerce channels for more conversions. 

It is also important to note that any collection of customer data in China has become more complex with the tightened regulations on China’s Personal Information Privacy Law (PIPL), so in this article, we will walk you through how to collect the most 1st-party data in China while remaining compliant with China data regulations. 

What are First-party Data in China

First-party data of Chinese customers can be retrieved and aggregated from WeChat Mini Program and brand Official Accounts. Data points such as user location information, conversion path data, purchase history, wishlist, app activity, and click data are all considered 1st-party data. 

How to Collect the Most First-party Data in China

1. Get User Consent through 1-on-1 Online Customer Support

Brand WeChat Official Accounts (OA) are where Chinese shoppers usually come first for any questions or any information about the brand, which is why brands should optimise their welcome journey (the first messages sent after a user follows the account) to engage and initiate conversations with users. 

A great example from the luxury jewellery brand Graff shows how customers can book an offline appointment through its OA simply through a series of automated text questionnaires. The automated user survey allows the brand to collect data on user's residing cities and preferred stores. To take it a step further in connecting with the user and offering dedicated services, Graff then provides the WeCom contact of a sales agent (SA) from that particular store to begin building a one-to-one relationship with the customer. This form of personal clienteling of connecting with Chinese customers in private messages has become an industry standard for services from luxury brands in China. 

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After users add the SA’s WeCom contact, they would receive important consent information: ‘to protect your legal rights and ensure service quality, the conversation (between the user and the SA) may be archived by the brand. You can decline the consent collection. Check Service Terms.’

This would then allow the brand to conduct chat archiving. Chat archiving allows international brands in China to save chat messages between the SAs and customers for the brand to gain transparency on the private clienteling their SAs are conducting on WeCom and gather information on the customers’ tastes and preferences as revealed in the conversation. Collecting all of this behavioural data would provide brands with a true 360° view of their Chinese customers. To further keep track of the opportunities and retain data on the entire sales cycle in China for performance measuring and improvement, brands should integrate WeCom data into their CRM systems such as Salesforce Sales Cloud.

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2. Collect Consent with the Right Incentives at the Right time

With the tightened regulations on China’s Personal Information Privacy Law (PIPL), brands need to be extra cautious when it comes to collecting and handling user information on different consent levels (to learn more about this, read this blog). 

Montblanc uses pop-up windows to request for consent at three critical stages of its user journey: at first entry, checkout, and when adding products to wishlist. 

Montblanc gives users two options of how they would like to proceed at the three aforementioned stages: as a member or a visitor. Upon checkout and adding products to wishlist, the brand offers incentives to users so as to encourage them to give consent and log into their accounts.

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How to Use First-Party Data in China to Convert Customers with Salesforce

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To help international brands fully leverage the power of 1st-party customer data in China for conversion while staying compliant with PIPL, ChatLabs launched Dataflow in 2022, a secure, scalable, and compliant data solution that connects all China data from any social channel.

ChatLabs’ Dataflow architecture is composed of 4 layers: User Interface Layer, Core Layer, Integration Layer, and the Config Layer. 

The Integration Layer would then connect your 3rd-party marketing, sales, and service automation platforms with ChatLabs' social marketing, social service, and social storefronts solutions, to aggregate all of your Chinese customer data. 

Based on the collected 1st-party data such as location information, conversion path data, purchase history, wishlist, app activity, click data, your marketing and sales teams can then build targeted hyper-personalised campaigns based on the consent levels acquired on Salesforce or other marketing automation platforms.

In the case of any consent level edits, the most recent consent events would be generated by these configurations and synced to Dataflow from your automation platforms' backend. The most recent consent events from Dataflow can also be synced to the automation platforms of your choice.

The Salesforce connector can be used by your marketing/sales/IT team to sync all user consent and processed China customer data to Salesforce. 

In conclusion, there are 5 advantages for international brands in China to use first-party data collected through WeChat and WeCom to improve marketing, sales and service:

1.Targeted Advertising: With first-party data, brands can create targeted advertising campaigns that are tailored to specific user groups. By using data such as user behaviour, preferences, and demographics, brands can create personalised ads that resonate with their target audience.

2.Personalised Content: Brands can use first-party data to create personalised content that speaks directly to the interests and needs of their audience. By analysing data such as search history, menu click and purchase behaviour, brands can create content that is relevant and valuable to their users, increasing engagement and loyalty.

3.Product Development: First-party data can also be used to inform product development. By understanding user preferences and behaviours, brands can develop products that better cater to the needs of their target audience, improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.

4.Customer Relationship Management: Brands can use first-party data to improve customer relationship management by understanding user preferences and behaviours. By analysing data such as purchase history, customer feedback and product review, brands can tailor their interactions with customers, optimising the overall customer experience.

5.Sales and Marketing Strategy: First-party data can also be employed to inform sales and marketing strategy. By understanding the customer journey and user behaviour, brands can optimise their sales and marketing efforts, improving conversion rates and ROI.

ChatLabs Dataflow is a China data privacy solution for brands to collect and leverage 1st-party data compliantly to build 360° profiles and experiences. To ensure compliance with domestic data collection, storage, and usage regulations from WeChat, Red and Weibo, our solution provides granular consent and access for global teams. Additionally, it has been designed to comply with China's Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) by creating anonymised cross-border synthetic profiles. With our solution, users can rest assured that their data will be collected, stored, and used safely and securely. 

Photo: <ahref="">Image by upklyak</a> on Freepik

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