The APP is dead – long live the APP

WeChat Mini Program – the app-in-app for all daily tasks

September 2020

We would not go as far to say the native app is dead. But with the emerge and increased popularity of mini-programs you maybe should ask when, rather than if, these applications take over as the main tool for daily life tasks and experiences. With more than 1 million mini-programs you can do almost anything, from order food or pay utility bills to buy a movie ticket or find love. The over 200 categories of mini-programs let you conduct basically any daily task you wish

So what is a “mini-program”?

In 2017 WeChat launched an App-in-App function for their ever so successful WeChat super app. Due to a dispute with Apple, the word APP couldn’t be used to mini-program became the term. Though, it is sometimes referred to as “mini-app”.

With a limited space of just 10mb (excluding pictures and video content) and developed with a propriety programming language (similar to HTML, Javascript and CSS), a mini-program has real fast loading speed which enables great user experience. The mini-program can be programmed to do basically anything a native app can do. With even more API’s allowed from Tencent, mini-programs can now function eCommerce platforms for both domestic and cross border eCommerce, task management, live-streaming, live information platform or online courses.

Why a mini-program?

The biggest advantage a mini-program has over a native app is that the user does not need to download nor install anything on her device. As it operate within WeChat there is no registration needed either.

The mini-program is all online based and withing the WeChat ecosystem. You simply open the mini-program when needed, use all the functions it offers and when you are done you close the tab.

Another great feature is the integration with WeChat pay which enables fast and simple payments. Both for the consumer and for the brand operating the mini-program.

Access it anywhere

You can also access the mini-program from a lot of places. Scan a QR code which functions well for O2O, link in an official account, invitation from friends and groups, or find it via the search function. You may also save your favourite mini-programs in your WeChat to for even easier access.

The future is now

WeChats mini-program is not just an upcoming “new kid on the block”. Some figures show that mini-programs will surpass native apps in numbers, both on App store and google play, by end of 2021.

Not only does most brands compliment their marketplace flagship store with a mini-program eCommerce store. But also the major marketplaces like JD have their own mini-programs too boost traffic and sales.