With the holiday season almost upon us, it is once again that time of year where we exchange gifts with friends, families, and loved ones. Many consumers are hunting down the Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts, as both “events” provide a viable alternative to pick up some discounted goods. For the creators of popular Japanese social messaging app Line, this seemed to be the perfect time to announce their new service for sending real-life goods to others on the network.
Line Brings The Gift of Sharing To Social Messaging
Japanese social messaging application Line has been making a fair amount of headlines over the past years. Rather than just banking on the social messaging business model, the company has ventured into grocery services, music streaming, and streaming video content in recent months.
Even though social messaging is becoming a global market, Line is not putting their eggs in one basket. The addition of their new service – a gift shop for offline products – is another attempt to captivate a larger audience. However, this gift shop service is currently only available to residents in Thailand.
There is a simple explanation to starting this effort in such a localized manner: Thailand is one of the four major markets for Line. Other countries, such as Japan, Indonesia, and Taiwan – combined with Thailand – make up over 60% of the social messaging app’s monthly active user base.
This entire project is built to promote Line Pay, which acts as the company’s mobile payments service. With so many different players active in the mobile payment industry, competition is heating up. By creating additional options to use one mobile payment option over another, companies can increase the brand value of their tools.
Services such as the Gift Shop offered by Line will stand or fall depending on how easy and convenient they are to use. The entire process is fairly streamlined, once users have set up the mobile payment option, according to an article by TechCrunch. Sending real-life goods only takes a few minutes, and products available range from movie tickets to cutlery.
While this concept may look interesting right now, scalability remains one of the key hurdles to overcome. Combining social messaging with e-commerce is quite risky, as the US messaging app “competitor” Tango had to lay off staff after an unsuccessful attempt to bridge the gap between both markets. But there is a major difference between the service offered by Line, as all of the items offered are inexpensive.
Furthermore, one might argue this service is just another “ploy” by Line to invite users to try out their Line Pay mobile payment application. If this were to be the case, there might be an uptrend in platform users, which could serve as an indication to further expand the Gift Shop project in the future.
Whether or not it is advisable for consumers to link their financial details to social messaging apps, is a topic for a different discussion. Convenience does not trump everything, especially not the security of financial details. But there are alternative payment options that do not disclose any of the consumer’s financial details.
Integrating Bitcoin In The M-Commerce Sector
Rather than relying on traditional payment methods, Bitcoin is a far more viable option for both the e-commerce and m-commerce market segments. Due to Bitcoin’s borderless and frictionless nature, as well as its low transactions fees for global payments, there is little reason not to include this digital currency as one of the supported payment methods. In addition, customers will not be exposing sensitive financial data, such as a credit card number.
Even for services like Line’s new Gift Shop – which revolves around small transactions for the time being – Bitcoin payments can be a valuable alternative. Processing small transactions at little to no cost is beneficial to both consumer and retailer, and with near instantaneous transfers of value between users, Bitcoin is a logical choice.
Bitcoin is a mobile payment method that works across country borders, and the digital currency can be converted to local currencies whenever needed. Retailers would be able to open up their business to a global audience at little to no additional costs without being encumbered by the trials and tribulations of plastic cards and bank accounts.
What are your thoughts on the role of Bitcoin in the e-commerce and m-commerce sectors for the years to come? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Press Release via Email
Images courtesy of Line, Shutterstock
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