Two weeks ago, we were sharing in a webinar on how to identify your clients among your WeChat contacts. One of the first takeaways was your need to uniquely identify a user when he/she is using your Mini Program, browsing your H5 site, or using your Official Account. And this is not possible by default! You need to activate an option with WeChat called the Open Platform 微信开放平台, which will grant a unique ID to each of your WeChat users: the UnionID.
UnionID: a unique identifier across your entire WeChat ecosystem
It is indeed very common for any business in China to have an increasing number of WeChat touchpoints: multiple Official Accounts (e.g. one per venue if you are a hotel brand), multiple Mini Programs etc. For each of these, a user will have a different OpenID. The uniqueness of a user can be distinguished by what Tencent calls the UnionID. As long as it is a mobile application, web application, and official account under the same WeChat Open Platform account (including Mini Programs), the user's UnionID is unique. In other words, the same user has the same UnionID for different applications under the same WeChat Open Platform.
Myself as a WeChat user as captured by the Splio backend. UnionID allows me to be identified uniquely across a H5 page visit, a Mini Program visit and following the Official Account.
How to setup the WeChat Open Platform for your business to enable UnionID?
1. Register a open platform account on https://open.weixin.qq.com. There's no specific requirement for registration.
2. Complete developer qualification. Verification Fee: Mainland China: 300 CNY; Outside of Mainland China: 99 USD. Login Open Platform (open.weixin.qq.com) - Account Center - Developer Qualification.
3. Bind your WeChat touchpoints to open platform: Official accounts, Mini Programs etc. Login Open Platform (open.weixin.qq.com) - Admin Center - Official Account / Mini Program - Bind an Official Account / Mini Program.
4. Each Open Platform instance has limitations of binding accounts and times.
Entity means a verified individual or company (you can register WeChat Official Accounts belonging to a mother company and its subsidiaries in the same Open platform).
The moment you have more than a WeChat touchpoint (multiple Official Accounts, an Official Account and a Mini Program), you need to setup the Open Platform. This will allow you to uniquely identify your users across all your WeChat ecosystem. A customer loyalty management platform like Splio will use the resulting UnionID to match your customers everywhere they interact with you, out of the box.