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Messaging App LINE is Testing an Offline Products’ Gift Shop

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Japanese chat app LINE has unveiled a gift shop for online goods in Thailand. The new service is currently available in beta.

With February’s debut of a grocery service via the app in Thailand, it seems that the company is getting deeper into the world of commerce. The LINE Corporation has initiated a number of services in Thailand ranging from ‘Live TV’ (a YouTube-like application) to a music streaming service. The app from Japan, is aiming at becoming popular among the Thais (who constitute more than 30 million registered users) and also creating more income for the company. With its flattened user growth, it is vital for the company to create more revenue from its users in the apps biggest markets such as Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and Japan.

Service powered by LINE Pay

The new gift shop service enables the LINE users to send each other tangible, offline products. The firm has partnered with Asia Books, SF Cinema, and 7-Eleven among others to allow the users send their friends breakfast, cinema tickets, novels and many more products. Powered by LINE Pay, the service is easy to use once the user adopts the firm’s mobile payments service.

The LINE Pay is a payment feature that is available to the LINE users with the primary goal of facilitating payments via the app, thus increasing user convenience. The service works with cards from Diner’s Club, JCB, American Express, Visa and MasterCard. When this mobile payment feature was rolled out last December, it was initially meant for payments for products in the LINE Store (used to sell themes and stickers) only, though the company had future plans for enabling global online purchases, paying for goods offline and sending money to friends in the app.

By testing out this new service with LINE Pay, the company has managed to keep its promise of enabling payment for goods offline.

Will the service survive?

After a failed venture into E-Commerce, Tango, which is a messaging app, recently laid off about 30 employees. The $ 1 billion-valued U.S. chat app closed down its ‘Tango Shop’ owing it to the deficiency of fresh user metrics. With the launch of the new gift shop, LINE has to get tips from Tango so as to prevent the collapse of the service.

Tango Shop was operating within an app that was in a market that has several chat apps having huge user bases such as WhatsApp (with about 900 million monthly users), Kik (with about 240 million subscribers), Snapchat (with estimated 100 million users every month) and others. Comparing these figures with Tango’s 300 million registered users as at May 2015 up from the 200 million users it had announced in March 2014; it would have been an uphill task to popularize the service among its users.

For LINE’s gift shop, there is a possible success owing to the fact that the purchases are not expensive. The primary goal of the service also is to get the users to sign up for the LINE Pay service and hence popularize the app.