Ask yourself: how many vital messages or calls did you convey over a regular phone call today? Think how many more people your business could reach, and how much more information you could convey quicker using an instant messaging service.
Worldwide, over 3 billion people use messaging apps to communicate, whether it’s voice calls or instant messaging. Many of those people use these features to contact businesses through social media messaging via Instagram or Facebook or instant messaging apps such as Line, WhatsApp and WeChat that allow direct communication. One such ‘business messaging’ app Whatsapp Business enables you to convert a Whatsapp number into a business line.
Business messaging has become popular with the ease of adding such features to your contact info on a website or storefront.
Why are messaging apps important?
Firstly, messaging apps are important because they allow customers to reach you quickly and easily. This means that you will be able to respond promptly and effectively to whatever concerns they have, which is critical in a competitive market.
Secondly, messaging apps are a great way to keep your customers engaged with your brand. The ability to send a message in real-time allows you to engage with them on topics that matter most and get answers quickly without having the time or resources to reach out themselves.
Thirdly, messaging apps allow you to connect with customers when they feel comfortable doing so. They expect to go through an automated bot before seeking additional information from your business. But an instant messaging app gives the impression that they are interacting with a human salesperson, increasing the human interaction from a digital experience.
Popular messaging apps in Asia
There are several messaging apps used in Asia, including Line and Whatsapp.
Line, like WhatsApp, is free to download, allows users free voice and video calling, and allows free file and location sharing. While it has over 178 million users in its key markets of Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia, Line also has a solid customer base in Thailand with over 50 million users there.
Part of why it’s popular in Thailand is its unique marketing strategy, which sees its adorable mascots spinning off into merchandise marketing. Another reason is the active use by consumers, government sectors, and small-medium enterprises(SME) in Thailand.
In fact, the Nation Thailand reports that over 50% of newly-opened Line accounts during the pandemic were from SMEs and global fashion brands. Public and private sectors also utilise Line Official Accounts to distribute Covid-19 pandemic news and information. Several hospitals even offered ‘Telemedicine’ services via Line.
Unlike WhatsApp, Line allows users to call other non-Line users via the social messaging app. You can also have group calls of up to 200 people. In addition, Line’s social networking features are more developed. For example, you can share posts, status updates, and more on a timeline feature which disappears after 24 hours – a function WhatsApp does not currently feature. For a more thorough comparison, you can refer to Lifewire’s report here.
With that said, WhatsApp does have the widest reach. As the market leader, it has 1.6 billion monthly users worldwide as of October 2019. Moreover, in some Southeast Asian countries like Singapore, WhatsApp still maintains its presence as the top communication tool. Although Line Singapore’s marketing strategies have included tie-ups with trendy fashion brands and promoting its merchandise spin-offs, its reach remains lower than WhatsApp.
So what can your businesses do with all this information?
It’s clear that instant messaging apps, be it Line or WhatsApp, are used by consumers. So, as a business, it’s essential to remain visible and easily contactable.
Traditional communication networks such as phone calls or emails are no longer the only way consumers can reach your business. An instant messaging presence means giving your customers an additional way to learn about your products and services.
Especially if you’re a new business expanding regionally, the cost of engaging a marketing agency or hiring a marketer may be prohibitive. For example, if you’re trying to establish a foothold in the Thai market, having a Line presence helps locals identify your business. It gives a sense of familiarity, more so than an email address on the website.
Besides, whether it’s a WhatsApp or Line account, the cost of both apps is zero!
Perhaps the only cost will be time. You will need to ensure that first, your customers are aware that you have an instant messaging contact. Second, you need to ensure staff regularly check the instant messaging apps to provide timely responses to incoming enquiries or have an automated response message that acknowledges customers’ questions.
It’s also about increasing customer engagement pre-and post-sale. Providing a channel for users to clarify their doubts helps ease buyers’ regret. After purchasing the goods, a QR code on the receipt can lead to an instant messaging app. This way, customers can contact you for after-sales service.
Adding a smart pos solution such as Qashier will allow you to print a QR code on your receipt. Apart from business messaging apps, a smart POS solution will help you digitally optimise your business.
Qashier promises a seamless setup within 10 minutes without needing technical expertise. It boasts a user-friendly interface that is simple for anyone to learn and use. In addition, you’ll find 7-days-a-week responsive technical support from the local team if you require assistance.
Digital solutions for businesses include QR code table ordering, table management (F&B), employee management, customer relationship management (loyalty programs), inventory management, data analytics, and cashless payments in an all-in-one device.
One Qashier POS solution comes with integrated payment processing. With just one terminal, you’ll be able to accept an array of payment types, from major credit cards, e-wallets and EFTPOS. Speak to us to see how Qashier Smart POS can meet your business needs. Schedule a meeting with us here, or reach out via email [email protected].