SMEs have been pivoting towards digital platforms to reach out to customers online, with the number of Line Official Account (Line OA) subscribers jumping 25 percent to 5 million last year, according to Line Thailand.

Line OA is designed to allow businesses or companies to communicate with customers and promote business events and activities.

“SMEs have become the main users of Line OA. They accounted for 90% of the total 5 million Line OA holders in 2021,” Sakulrat Tanyongsiri, SME business director of Line Thailand, said at a virtual news briefing.

A total of 1 million new Line OA subscribers were added last year, up 25 percent from a year before.

The pandemic has forced businesses to move towards online platforms and Line is a highly efficient alternative to reach out to customers, Sakulrat said.

Beauty, fashion, and food and beverages are the top three sectors which have capitalised on Line OA for business.

The greatest growth of Line OA subscribers was from the food and beverage sector, with a rise of 51 percent.

Line OA provides businesses with 1,000 free broadcast messages. They can pay for a basic plan for 1,200 baht a month to deliver 15,000 messages to potential customers.

Among Line OA features, Chat continues to be at the top in terms of usage, followed by Broadcast, which allows businesses to target customers through sales messages to introduce new products and promotions, Sakulrat said.

The fastest-growing feature over the past year has been Rich Menu, with a 232 percent jump in usage. Rich Menu can direct users to external sites and reservation pages, in addition to Line OA features.

According to Sakulrat, Line OA Call, which provides end-customers the convenience of contacting or discussing with brand or store administrators directly, saw an adoption surge of 220 percent. “Customers can call or video call with merchants via Line,” she said.

Line also supports businesses with the Premium ID feature, which helps make business ID more memorable so as to raise brand awareness, as well as Verified Account, which can add credibility to the brand.

Premium ID and Verified Account saw a growth of 8 percent and 14 percent in adoption, respectively.

Sakulrat said Line will this year customise the MyCustomer feature by supporting data management and analytics, and will increase coaching and training activities for SMEs so they would be able to use digital tools effectively.

It is also developing customised solutions for SMEs, such as new ad placements on OpenChat. Video advertising on Line Voom is also trending and is expected to become a promising platform in the future.

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