Back in February this year, the Japanese chatting app, Line Messenger, dipped its toes into the world of commerce when it rolled out a grocery service in Thai. Currently, the company has extended it with a gift shop (new) for products that are available offline. This service is only available in Thailand that has got one of its largest market share of over 30 million MAUs.
The Line Company has spearheaded many services in Thailand. Such services include a YouTube-like application and a $2 music streaming service. Through such services, the company seeks to generate revenue while creating its popularity in Thai. Off this year, Line’s user growth has flattened. Therefore, it is vital for it to find ways through which it can monetize users in its largest markets- Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, and Japan that represent over 65% of its MAUs.
Currently, Line users can send one another digital goods, like stickers, although the present gift shop is about physical products and are available offline. The initial partners of line encompasses Asia Books, 7-Eleven, SF Cinema among others. Therefore, you can easily send your friends cinema tickets, a breakfast, coffee and so on.
This service has been powered by Line-Pay, that is very easy to use after you are set-up on the mobile payment service of the company. You can easily send a friend a “breakfast set” for a discounted $0.50 (14THB), which will take you a minute or less. You can also try other services like sending a Cinema ticket to a twitter friend. The process will be easy and simple to complete from start to finish.
The most disturbing question is on whether this kind of an effort can scale. For example, the U.S. messaging service – Tango that has been valued at over one billion dollars lately laid off staff after an e-commerce venture that turned out unsuccessful. Although, the Line app’s gift shop purchases are very cheap, giving an implication of getting more users to sign on Line pay as their main aim.
Line overcomes a major drawback by adding their card to the service, which could have led them to using Line Pay for larger purchases that are more regular. With the current program, they bring in small sums like $0.50. Such sums are heavily discounted. Whereas Line can never reach high scales in Thai like WeChat in China. Its pilot plan in Thailand is all about learning how it can monetize and approach markets like Taiwan and Indonesia.