The Line instant messaging service develops an e-commerce business
Three years after it first appeared, Line, the Japanese instant messaging application, has become a key player on the messaging market in Asia and boasts 181 million active users. After launching a taxi booking service then a streaming service, the company continues to diversify its business model. It now offers its 36 million Thai users (the second largest market for the firm, after Japan) the option of doing their shopping on their mobiles. With Line you can buy water, coffee or even noodles, and it promises to deliver the goods free of charge the day after the order. To attract user, the company offers special deals three times a day and intends to extend the model to other countries in South-East Asia. Payment can be made through the Line Pay e-payment service, launched in 2014.
To accelerate its development, Line is now looking further afield. The company has announced the launch of an investment fund, which will acquire interests in providers of all kinds of services: e-commerce, payment, media, entertainment… to diversify its sources of revenue.
In its “Commerce Reloaded” report at the beginning of 2015, Echangeur pointed up the emergence of “Buy” buttons on all social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest). The fact is that social media applications are the ones most viewed on mobiles. For instance, 8 out of 10 users of smartphones or tablets in France access them as a matter of course. Enjoying large viewerships, they represent an additional sales channel for brands.
New factor: chat on social media. According to Forrester, in Great Britain chat applications on social media already represent over 37% of time spent on applications every day. Besides the frequency of interactions, chat platforms exploit 2 important drivers to enhance the consumer experience: connection, and facilitation. That being the case, no wonder that Facebook in the United States or Tencent in China see in that the possibility of monetizing their audience and developing real marketing platforms .
Wechat, Tencent’s instant messaging service, is showing the way: the Chinese company was the first to transform its chat application by adding media, social capacities, commerce and payments. Tomorrow, Galeries Lafayette, spurred on by its Chinese clientele, could quite easily accept Wechat as a means of payment.
As far as Facebook is concerned, it has announced that it has included 40 in its Messenger application, positioned for brands as an easy tool to implement to manage their customer services.