Luxury brands Louis Vuitton, Volvo tap Line chat app to connect with Thai consumers

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Line Corp is seen at the company's headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Luxury fashion and auto brands in Thailand have turned to selling their products on Japanese chat app Line amid the coronavirus pandemic, tapping the country’s growing appetite for social commerce, a top executive said on Thursday.

Brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Volvo were among those that opened official accounts on the messaging app, which outranks Facebook’s WhatsApp and Rakuten’s Viber in Thailand, aiming to connect with users during a coronavirus lockdown.

“The luxury category was forced to adapt because their stores were closed,” Line Thailand chief commercial officer, Norasit Sitivechvichit, told Reuters.

Thailand earlier this year imposed a nationwide curfew and closed malls for nearly two months to contain infections.

“During the pandemic, sellers became very active,” Norasit said, adding that others sold cosmetics and fast-moving consumer goods.

Line, which charges sellers for sending messages and live streaming, said its monthly active users in Thailand grew from 44 million to 47 million this year, its second-largest market after Japan.

Volvo successfully sold cars on the platform after launching in May and studying customer data, its Thailand head of marketing and digitalization, Jean-David Harel, said.

“We have an understanding of which models they own today, which interest they have and when they plan to change their existing car,” he said.

Social commerce is widely popular in Thailand, where merchants sell directly to customers through social media like Line and Facebook’s Instagram.

Line last year introduced a feature for merchants to organise inventory and online store fronts, which now has over 50,000 users.

Another tool to support sellers with customer relationship and data management is slated to launch next year.

E-commerce platform, JD Central would also launch services for sellers. Line will soon introduce “MyRestaurant” with its food delivery app, Line Man Wongai, to support restaurants, Norasit said. The company also has video-on-demand products.

Reuters

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.