By Asina Pornwasin
Thai consumers have reached a new high in online commerce, thanks to Facebook Messenger’s latest deal with Kasikornbank for a one-stop shopping experience on mobile apps.
The deal makes online commerce on the giant social media platform easier and more convenient as payment can be done seamlessly with just a few clicks.
Under the arrangement, consumers can do away with making payment for their purchase in a separate online session.
Previously, buyers had to pay first and then send a payment receipt to merchants to complete the transaction, but the new collaboration allows shoppers to use Kasikornbank’s K PLUS to make a seamless payment on the same platform. Buyers no longer have to enter bank account numbers or switch screens while shopping.
This new system underlines the digital marketplace’s responsiveness to consumers in Thailand’s social commerce market which is growing exponentially.
The Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) estimates the country’s overall e-commerce value at around Bt137 billion for 2017, with 51 per cent of the transactions conducted on social media, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Facebook, which has more than 50 million users in Thailand, ranked one of the social platform’s top-five markets, says messaging is a key driver of rapid social commerce growth here.
Thanawat Malabuppha, president of Thai E-Commerce Association, said that social commerce is the largest segment of B2C (business to consumer) e-commerce in Thailand, accounting for 40 per cent of the overall B2C market.
A major strength of social commerce is its wide range of merchants or vendors where the cost of doing business is cheaper than using separate e-commerce websites or smaller e-marketplace platforms.
“Thais love shopping on social media platforms as they prefer to chat with merchants before making purchases. Currently, there are hundreds of thousands of small merchants and SMEs doing social commerce. The majority of Thais spend hours on social media on a daily basis,” said Thanawat.
Kasikornbank’s latest deal with Facebook Messenger allows consumers to do away with making payment for their purchase in a separate online session.
New deal allows onestop shopping on mobile apps for thai online consumers. Photo/AFP
According to John Wagner, managing director of Facebook Thailand, such a bank transfer solution gives businesses of all sizes an opportunity to close sales faster and boost engagement with their customers in a more secure and efficient way.
Wagner said that the modernisation and digitisation of people’s personal communication behaviour is transforming their expectations about how they should be able to communicate with businesses as more people are turning to messaging apps to connect with businesses around the world.
As of April, 2018, there were as many as 8 billion messages between people and businesses on Facebook Messenger apps, representing a four-fold growth year on year.
Wagner said the so-called conversational commerce (commerce on Messenger platform) was a trend that was gaining global traction, with a massive push in Thailand where the personalised online shopping experience via direct messaging has boosted customers’ trust and made them more likely to buy.
“Business messaging offers clear practical benefits such as convenience. But it can also play a much deeper, more meaningful role for both people and businesses. The sense of human connection that conversation unlocks can give consumers the confidence to convert.
“Among people surveyed who message businesses, the majority say that being able to message a business helps them feel more confident about the brand,” said Wagner.
Currently, 51 million Thais use Facebook each month. Thai SMEs are leading the world in social commerce and innovation as they were among the first to develop social commerce businesses, which is helping to fuel Thai economic growth, and becoming a major trend for SMEs in other countries.
On Facebook, people share more than 17 billion photos, and 400 million people use voice and video chat, while more than 150 million people use Instagram – also owned by Facebook – to connect with businesses on a monthly basis.
In Thailand, there are about 2.5 million SME pages on Facebook, with as many as 40 million people connected to these pages while about 100 million people outside of Thailand are connected to Thai SME pages.