This year, Line is turning five years old. And at the end of March the company announced its new concept at Line Conference Tokyo 2016.
Line CEO Takeshi Idezawa said that Line would become more open and focus on bridging the gap between businesses and consumers. This means a new major focus on mobile purchases.
Up to this point Line API was only available to a limited number of corporations that used instant messenger (215 million + active users every month) to reach consumers. Line will be a single point of entry or “portal” for a number of services that the big brands or companies will be able to incorporate in their official Line accounts.
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Automatic login will become one of the new Line functions for users to be able to move from Line to unrelated services without having to visit them again. Users in Japan will also be able to transfer payments to vendors via Line Pay. This service will be available to companies for a monthly fee of $177.
Coupons, digital discount cards and commercial functions inside the applications will become other new functions for brands. Businesses will be able to open stores in Line messenger and receive payments. One has to pay a transaction fee of 4.98% for such a service.
These functions will become available next month, along with the emergence of companies’ accounts, through which Line users will be able to view profiles of shops, make restaurant reservations, follow the discounts and write reviews.
To make the Line platform more accessible to companies of all sizes, Line Corp will open API as well. It can be used, for example, to control the beacons (which notify shoppers in physical stores about promotions) or the creation of artificial intelligence (AI) for automatic support services. Developers will have access to API for chat bots. In addition to this, the bot shop will be opened where developers can sell their own bots to businesses.
Images: Line Conference Tokyo 2016