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How can LINE, KakaoTalk boost mobile commerce?

June 14, 2013 CK Wong Category : , , , , , ,

Before we start, you might want to read our post earlier on LINE vs KakaoTalk and M-Commerce Battle.

Mobile messaging apps like LINE and KakaoTalk are gaining traction so how should e-commerce businesses leverage on this mobile opportunity?

The key is to have a brand account, labeled as "official account" in LINE or "plus friend" in KakaoTalk. This works quite similar to Facebook page where brand owners will be able to broadcast messages to followers.

Groupon & Zalora on KakaoTalk, Rakuten on LINE

Why need messaging app while you can use SMS or FB page?

  1. Malaysia smartphone penetration is at 30% and it will continue to grow.
  2. Malaysians spend considerable time in instant messaging while SMS usage might drop.
  3. Users tend to treat SMS ads as spam and click-throughs in SMS are reasonably weak.
  4. Users might use feature phones without browser for SMS but only smartphones for messaging app.
  5. Users are likely to have data plan on smartphone as compared to feature phones.
  6. Messaging apps can push notification to users and seek for their attention.

What does messaging app mean for online retailers?

  1. For a start, it is not "free" to setup a brand account, brands are usually required to sign yearly contract and pay substantial cost.
  2. Only bigger brands are willing to invest into this channel during initial stages, at the same time messaging app providers are selective too.
  3. Once it has reached mass adoption, brand account *might* open to smaller brands with lesser cost just like what is happening in LINE Japan.
  4. Anyway, brands need to justify the ROI with considerations of reaching out to sizable followers plus messaging cost.
  5. Messaging apps work best with mobile site, helping online retailers to reach out to smartphone users.
  6. If you don't have any mobile app nor specific strategies, messaging app is your best go-to-market partner on mobile commerce.

What are the success factors for online retailers?

  1. Growing followers during initial stage is the key.
  2. Deliver attractive content and exclusive deals to followers, at the same time keeping block rate at minimum.
  3. Try not to send too many messages, maximum once in a day or two.
  4. Learn what kind of products people would buy via smartphones.
  5. Good to leverage on messaging app to reach out mobile users especially after working hours, weekends or holidays when they are on the move.


What say you?