LINE ignites Thai businesses for new consumer behaviours in light of COVID-19

LINE ignites Thai businesses for new consumer behaviours in light of COVID-19

Sparks opportunities for businesses through complete LINE ecosystem

LINE Thailand held “LINE FOR BUSINESS” live event under the topic “THAILAND NOW AND NEXT AFTER COVID-19” to prepare Thai businesses with necessary insights on changes in consumer behaviour during and after the pandemic. The virtual live event was streamed via LINE Official Account ‘LINE for Business’ (@linebizth) and attended by more than 300,000 viewers on April 15. The event’s main host and guests included LINE Thailand’s executives and leading marketers on Consumer analysis and Digital strategic advisory which Thai entrepreneurs should start employing now in order to best adapt during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the first session, titled ‘Next For Thais’, Ms. Somwalee Limrachtamorn, Managing Director of the Nielsen Company (Thailand) Ltd., revealed important consumer trends which would be permanently changed by the pandemic as a result of prolonged social distancing and working from home. Consumers are now learning to achieve most things they used to do in their daily lives via online, and these behaviours will very likely carry on even after the situation has been brought under control.

“E-commerce has seen significant growth, with discerning customers looking for the quality in the product and becoming less price-sensitive. Businesses can compete by offering quality products and targeting new consumer groups such as the elderly who are shopping online more and more. E-commerce and digital technology are trends that entrepreneurs definitely don’t want to miss since these will become the new normal even after the COVID-19 period.”   

“Food delivery applications and other apps that provide instant convenience at home such as home exercise will become more important during social distancing and when people are more adapted to working from home. Consumers desire speed and convenience which they’re accustomed to, and they prefer online shops that can deliver quickly because they avoid long-distance or overseas transport. This is an important opportunity for Thai brands to boost domestic sales. Moreover, social media has now become mainstream media where people consume news and information. Research shows that on average people use social media for reading the news 12 times per week.”

“Entrepreneurs must shift from the offline to the online world to meet the new normal of consumer behaviour. They also need to expand their service coverage and improve their logistics, as well as learning to use new social media technologies to support their business growth,” said Ms. Somwalee.

Other than the overall changes in Thai consumer behaviours, Thailand’s top daily life platform LINE has introduced many interesting changes. During the session ‘Now on LINE,’ Mr. Pruthisith Prateepavanich, Head of Product and Platform Management of LINE Thailand, emphasised that, “LINE designs its platforms to fulfil Thai people’s lives, including work, lifestyle and media and information consumption. During the COVID-19 crisis, use of LINE Call has increased 236% while LINE VDO Call use has increased 270%. Moreover, LINE Call via PC increased 264% in March after the app introduced a new screen-sharing feature during the call to accommodate people working from home.”

Mr. Kanop Supamanop, Chief Content Business Officer of LINE Thailand, said that, “Online content has become increasingly important as the COVID-19 situation has escalated. LINE TODAY is now the main portal that Thai people rely on to receive the latest accurate news in a timely manner, amid the sea of confusing information on social media. LINE has introduced the new ‘COVID-19’ tab on LINE TODAY as an all-in-one source of information for Thais during the current situation, leading to a tripling of readership.”

“For LINE TV, Thai consumers have now moved to big screens as a result of working from home, accounting for 42% growth in March. The habits of watching LINE TV on bigger screens and watching together with family are on the rise, with longer duration of time spent watching. In terms of content, the Y-series (depicting male-male romantic relationship) has seen five-times growth in viewership, especially among women aged 18-34 years who are the main target audience. Surprisingly, the content is also gaining popularity with women aged above 55 years who have become the second-biggest audience group. The insights we learned from this are that family time in front of TV can have a spill-over effect between different audience groups, and that more senior groups are more open to new types of content as a result of watching TV with other family members. Since schools have closed and children have had to stay home, we are also seeing a rise in popularity of anime content which in March increased 33% from average monthly views in January and February. Friday is the day of the week that has seen the biggest viewing growth, at 56%. It means that children now consider the weekend to be three days long instead of two,” said the LINE Content Business’ Chief.

Mr. Kanop ended by saying that, “LINE is still adapting fast, even during this uncertain time of COVID-19, in order to understand new consumer behaviours and maximise LINE services to fully meet the needs of Thai people.”

Consumer insight, a vital engine for Thai businesses during COVID-19

Another special session for business entrepreneurs titled ‘COVID-19, A CATALYST FOR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION’ focused on various case studies of brands in Thailand that have adapted very fast in response to the crisis. Mr. Teerawat Ngamvitayasiri, Retail Industry Lead, Business Consulting of LINE Thailand, noted that, “All business have been impacted, both directly or indirectly, and those that learned to adapt quickly in the time of crisis have already shifted from offline to online to offer their products and services using new platforms and technologies in order to strengthen their existing customer base and expand it. This is the ‘Next New Normal’ that will continue even after this crisis. Thai brands should take note and begin their transformation now, and accordingly.”

“First, brands need to tackle customers’ consciousness by delivering the right products and services they want. They also need to reimagine the brand value by utilising online platforms to solve consumer pain points in a unique way during this crisis. For example, Peugeot Thailand has leveraged its LINE Official Account (OA) to enable customers to buy executive cars online and book a test drive at home without visiting the showroom during social distancing. Finally, businesses must realise the inevitability of social commerce as the new digital channel that will fulfil their existing channels. Brands like OneSiam and HomePro have already used their LINE OAs as the online channel to sell products after the stores have been closed, as well as for building relationships by offering customer support. By doing these, businesses will be able to increase sales and continue to thrive on innovative solutions.”

Start today and grow better after the crisis

Mr. Kritsana Ngarmsom, Director of Advertising Business of LINE Thailand, said, “The two things entrepreneurs should focus on are 1) building a strong online channel and 2) preparing for the Online Merges with Offline (OMO) era. As offline channels will return and become important once again after the crisis, LINE will support business owners, marketers and advertisers to restore their businesses both during and after COVID-19, with complete advertising and marketing solutions on the LINE ecosystem in a reliable and effective manner.”

“Business owners should start by building strong fundamentals using LINE Official Account (OA) and try to grow the number of shop followers as this will help them compete better by having more customer data for analysis. The effective tool for growing a number of followers on LINE OA is LINE Sticker, which has an average cost of 1-2 baht per new follower.”

“After having enough data, marketers can expand their consumer base further by scale on a data driven basis. Bringing in more offline and online customers to one’s own channel by advertising on LINE platforms can be done in many ways such as holding a live event on LINE OA. Not only is this an important activity to encourage consumers to shift from offline to online but it will also help grow the number of shop followers and help businesses gain more customer data. Business owners can also utilise their data and insights on LINE Ads Platform (LAP) to bid for advertising space on LINE Chat, Timeline and LINE TODAY. Display ads on LINE can boost business objectives and integrate more new customers into the main online channel.”

“Also, data can be used to drive huge conversion both with massive reach and through a single channel that can reach a large number of customers at once. Entrepreneurs must find the channel where they can reach a lot of audience and design their ads to guide customers on their journey towards conversion. Examples of such channels would be LINE Smart Channel’s Chat list tab which can reach up to 20 million customers per day, and the Story-Linked ad format on LINE TV, which can offer sequential ads that build customer interest and lead them directly to purchase.”

“As more people are spending more time on their PCs as they work from home, LINE will soon include a new advertising space on LINE PC as well as making it easier for SMEs to buy ads via the CMS app by setting their own budget to build their customer base directly. Meanwhile, LINE advises businesses to start investing in customer data and offer their products or services using effective advertisements to make the most use of their budget. For products that would like to sell or communicate with mass users, advertisers should consider tools that create the highest impact at lower cost.”

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