Facebook, Line bet on social commerce

Social commerce has grown at 15-20% per year, on par with the growth of e-commerce.

Social media giants Line and Facebook are stepping up efforts to attract merchants and offer new features to improve shopping experiences to drive the growth of the country’s burgeoning social commerce market, valued at Baht 160 billion.

“The pandemic is prompting merchants to turn to online channels as evidence shows an increase in the number of new sellers on online shopping,” said Lertad Supadhiloke, e-commerce manager at Line Thailand.

More than 7 million users engage with Line Shopping, a doubling from last year, he said, noting that there are currently around 200,000 merchants on the platform. , a multiplication by seven from April 2020 to April 2021.

Online merchants on Line Shopping earn between 150,000 baht and 500,000 baht per month, an increase of 272% from last year.

By 2021, social commerce is expected to account for 60% of Thailand’s 270 billion baht e-commerce market.

Social commerce has grown at 15-20% per year, on par with the growth of e-commerce.

Mr Lertad said social commerce presents a major opportunity for businesses reeling from the new lockdown cycle. Many micro-businesses are also joining Line Shopping.

Line is also looking to help small businesses overcome this difficult time and ensure they are less dependent on electronic markets, he said.

Line, which has a total of 49 million users in Thailand – all of whom are potential buyers – plans to release new features to help merchants better understand and reach customers more easily, he noted.

It also supports merchants with payment, logistics and chat systems for a better shopping experience, according to Lertad. No commission fees are applied to merchants who join online shopping as the revenue can be generated through advertising.

Line recently announced a collaboration with Thailand Post for parcel delivery service, starting at 19 baht.

Popular items sold on online shopping are mainly in the fashion, health and beauty, food and beverage, home appliance and computer segments.

About 80% of buyers use bank transfers to make their payments, while the rest pay by credit card and Rabbit Line Pay.

“Online shopping can be a social commerce platform that enables merchants and brands to connect with their customers in accordance with Direct-to-Customer [D2C] trend, ”said Lertad.

Meanwhile, a new feature in the pipeline known as Line Social Graph will help drive more engagement between stores and users.

Facebook also recently launched Facebook Stores in Thailand, making it easy for business owners to set up online stores on Facebook and Instagram.

With more than 1.2 million active Facebook stores per month and more than 300 million monthly visitors worldwide, Thai businesses can gain exposure to local and international customers, according to Prae Dumrongmongcolgul, country director of Facebook Thailand.

“We also anticipate an increase in cross-border commerce in the future, as conversational commerce allows businesses to connect with overseas customers,” she said.

Facebook, she said, is developing new technologies such as the application programming interface (API) for Messenger and Instagram to facilitate conversation between businesses and customers.

Tools like Instagram’s visual search for shopping and augmented reality ads will encourage people to “try” the products, Prae said.

She said 63 million people access Facebook every month in Thailand and more and more people are turning to online shopping.

Eight in 10 Gen Z and Gen Y Thais prefer to contact businesses through messaging apps, and four in five Thais say they feel closer to businesses after interacting with them, according to a Facebook and BCG survey. them via chat.

This reflects the growing interest of consumers in immersive shopping experiences that invite participation and foster connections, she said.

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