BANGKOK – Japanese based text messaging company Line is launching an online grocery delivery service in Thailand offering discounts on everyday groceries such as coffee and water, plus there will be free delivery for Thai shoppers.
Beginning in Thailand this week, Line will offer both perishable and non-perishable items which can be purchased using the messaging app. Line promises free, next-day delivery for everything purchased.
The Japanese-owned Line app is especially popular in Thailand, where there are more than 36 million active users and rising.
As Sedong Nam, head of service at Line Plus, said of the new venture, which goes live on February 4: “Food and consumer goods-based ecommerce businesses have been around for quite a while now, especially in developed markets like the US and Korea.
However, only recently are we starting to see the shift towards mobile-first with on-demand businesses that extend to every part of our life.”
The new service is also indicative of the steps that social messaging apps are taking in order to differentiate their services and to become more profitable.
Line is huge in Southeast Asia, particularly Japan and Korea.
However, in other parts of the world its user numbers are dwarfed by those of WhatsApp, Viber and of course, Facebook Messenger, all of which offer a very similar core service free or almost free text and multimedia messaging by sending and receiving messages via a mobile internet or wifi connection.
Line has been very active in expanding its reach and making itself more attractive and ‘sticky’ to existing and potential users.
As well as messaging, it carries branded content, offers online auctions, games, and now supports mobile payments, too.
Line users can sign into the app to pay for goods at participating physical and online stores.
Line’s new groceries store is expected to expand into other parts of Southeast Asia later in the year, but it’s most likely to be only for specific cities rather than everywhere.