Social commerce is expected to make up 70% of Thailand's e-commerce market value within three years, up from 62% at present, driven by the rise of online sellers amid the pandemic, says Line Thailand.
To ride the wave of the social commerce boom, Thailand's most popular messaging app Line has vowed to usher in new features for vertical sectors for customer engagement.
"Thailand is the first country where 80% of the population is engaged with social media with the time spent standing at 2.48 hours a day. The country has the third largest number of internet users in the world," said Lertad Supadhiloke, head of e-commerce of Line Thailand.
He was speaking during a press briefing as part of Line's three-day virtual conference -- Thailand Now and Next: Rebuild & Grow with Chat Commerce -- which kicked off on Wednesday.
Thailand's e-commerce is valued at 270 billion baht, of which 62% is from social commerce – selling and buying products via social media platforms, including Line, said Mr Lertad.
Another 38% is from e-marketplaces and brand websites, he said.
In three years, the share of social commerce is expected to rise to 70% because of the growing number of vendors using Line for chat commerce.
"We will make Line a complete ecosystem that enables buyers to complete purchases and sellers to rely on the platform, instead of having to pay commission fees to e-marketplaces," he said.
Line does not charge commission fees. It earns revenue from LINE Advertising platform (LAP) and broadcasting message packages in LINE Official Account (OA).
The number of OA participants rose to 4 million in the third quarter of last year, up from 3 million in the same period a year earlier.
Lertad Supadhiloke, head of e-commerce of LINE Thailand.
Of them, 40% use OA for commerce and the rest for other purpose.
Chat commerce through Line platform, he said, can serve as a circle of trust as chatting can solidify identity and credibility in the eyes of customers while more and more customers can make purchase through to the word of mouth.
This channel makes 45% chance to close sales versus 3-5% via websites, he said.
According to Mr Lertad, Line plans to launch a new feature, such as My Restaurant which serves restaurants who open LINE OA to manage customer ordering easier and let Line users order food easier. It also have Customer Data Platform for sellers to manage customer data.
He advises brands and online sellers to invest in technology, invest in humans to answer and chat with customers with the use of Chatbot, and makes brand personality and position that users can remember.
He also highlights the importance of audio chat which can be useful for businesses to boost engagement.
"Audio chat is one alternative for sellers to engage with general users and followers, making customers understand brand identity and sellers through conversation and discussion," said Mr Lertad.
Mr Lertad said Line serves as an effective channel to complete sales with one-to-one communication and build deep connection with customers.
"Chat and audio chat provides unique engagement and serves as a different step of consumer journey and businesses can use multiple social media platforms that match with their business."