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LINE triumphs as the king of ‘Chat Commerce’

Uncertainties continue as the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of going away and threatens more outbreaks at any given time. The contactless business trend that reduces physical contacts is no longer an option but a necessity.

It became a main approach to conduct a business that entrepreneurs should seriously consider. More and more consumers — regardless of their age and gender — embrace e-commerce and online shopping, contributing to the growth of “Chat Commerce”, an already lively trading channel that still has more room to grow.

“LINE” is, undoubtedly, a strong market in the field, having the “number one chat platform in Thailand” title under its belt, with at least 47 million users utilizing its features for works, personal affairs, or e-commerce.

Although, there are a large number of transactions going through LINE Official Accounts (LINE OA) of various vendors, these business chats also spilled over on personal LINE accounts, with a common goal of completing transactions.

The revelation proves that “Chat Commerce” on LINE remains an opportunistic approach to generate income for businesses of all sizes from SMEs to large corporations in this New Normal era.

Norasit Sitivechvichit, Chief Commercial Officer of LINE Company Thailand, stated that since the COVID-19 pandemic began sweeping across the country last year, about 83% of Thais have a history of engaging in online shopping and 71% of them made transactions from smartphones.

The figures are in line with data from LINE Thailand which found 62% of Thai online shoppers enjoy and prefer to use “Chat Commerce,” reflecting the Thai culture of making conversations about the goods before making a purchase. Furthermore, vendors also can use the opportunity to create bonds with their clients through chats, which becomes one of the deciding factors for customers to make their purchasing decision aside from price tags.

Thai vendors and clients continue to choose LINE as their preferred business venue, reflecting the confidence people have in the platform which enables them to create “Circle of Trust,” leading to more business opportunities.

This is in accordance with the trend of e-commerce in the new era, whose vendors are not only competing with the prices of their offerings but with customer services in terms of quality and how fast they can take their clients through “Customer Journey” from the “Pre-purchase” to “Purchase” and “Post-purchase” periods.

Vendors must be able to quickly provide information on products, sales promotions, order confirmations, product delivery status, and post-sales services to their customers. CRM (customer relationship management) is especially important in e-commerce, as Thais usually base their purchasing decisions on trust and will usually make more purchases from the same vendors again, if the vendors have their trust.

LINE has numerous useful features to help facilitate vendors and customers, enabling LINE to offer satisfactory e-commerce experiences, unlike other platforms.

“Chat Commerce” on the LINE platform is not only suitable for SMEs. Large corporations also choose to use their LINE OA to contact their customers to strengthen their marketing strategies. An example of these include a new “Omni-channel” retailing approach that allows customers to inquire vendors about their products and make purchases right on LINE OA. Another example is luxury businesses that want to offer exclusive experiences to clients can also make unique contents though LINE chats.

In order to maintain its status as the number one “Chat Commerce” platform, LINE continues to develop new features to satisfy the needs of Thais in doing business digitally whose customers often desire on-demand services, offering the best online shopping experience for both vendors and customers,” concluded Norasit.

Another important element that help vendors in making business transactions on Chat Commerce on the LINE platform is “MyShop,” an optional solution for LINE OA that help manage tedious tasks that all vendors have to endure, such as cataloging, stock managing, order receiving, making purchase reports, and delivering goods.

Having “MyShop” handling these dreary tasks enables entrepreneurs to focus on making marketing plans and taking care of their customers. Currently, there are more than 50,000 vendors using the “MyShop” feature.

BackJoy Thailand is a great example of a brand effectively combining the use of LINE OA and “MyShop” to send updates, promotion information, to creatively offer services to customers, and provide after-sales services. BackJoy Thailand — which offers items such as back cushions and massage sticks — started to broadcast its advertisements on its LINE OA shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic hit Thailand, making it immensely difficult to make traditional business transactions. The move resulted in BackJoy Thailand being able to increase its sales by many folds.

Another good example is a spa service provider “Divana Thailand” — which has a multitude of foreign customers — which was able to generate a lot of its income shortly after communicating with its clients through its LINE OA about its services, promotions and was able to expand its customer base to include more Thais, with an impressive conversion rate of 80-90%. Furthermore, the Chat & Shop feature being offered by many leading department stores on their LINE OAs is becoming another popular “Chat Commerce” trend on LINE.

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