Social commerce is making it big in Thailand today - and it’s not going anywhere. Social commerce itself accounts for 61% of the total eCommerce value. A large chunk of this growth stems from the recent pandemic including the fact that Kepios Analysis stated that internet users in the country increased by 108 thousand (+0.2 percent) in 2021 and 2022. Social media users also grew by 1.9 million (+3.4 percent) between the same period. The country is no stranger to the use of social commerce tools like QR Codes in day-to-day life: from the Thai Post using scannable codes to keep personal information secure to streamlining traveler information when they first opened their borders with the Thai QR Pass.
An example of the Retail QR code that brings users to their online store with Linkout Implementation
Thailand’s digital ecosystem and eCommerce use cases give us a preview of what the Philippines can apply to ride the post-pandemic economic growth. Last November 2022, Ragde and Nico visited Bangkok to meet potential partners and to learn and explore how we can apply their best practices to our own In-Store Commerce execution. This article contains screen recordings and detailed breakdowns of some notable execution of In-Store Commerce in Bangkok.
Smart Retail, as a whole, is mainstream in the city. QR codes with Webstore Linkout Implementation are utilized to offer online transactions, detail product information on packaging, and even advertise and offer products on billboards. The use case is present in a variety of executions: Scan-to-Order, Scan-to-Redeem (discount vouchers and the like), and Scan-to-get-Exclusives (exclusive collections and products).
One In-Store Commerce execution, Scan to Order, is a prevalent use case in Bangkok. For example, one of Thailand’s largest telecommunication companies, True, showcases their phones and post-paid plans with the use case. Users can apply for a plan instantly with the phone by simply scanning the QR code, selecting their chosen product and product variances, and paying. This use case makes the tedious process of applying for a phone plan frictionless - both online and offline.
Here’s a closer look at why Thai banking apps can be considered Super Apps as well. Customers can directly shop inside KBank through their K+Mall.
Another key learning is that the predominant modes of payment are online banking apps as opposed to mobile wallets such as Ascend and TrueMoney. Thai banking apps are Super Apps in their own right and give users the chance to pay bills, get vouchers, earn points, and shop from internal marketplaces - apart from the usual features of online banking. These banking apps are more comparable to the Philippines’ own GCash than our banking apps.
The AIS app is one of the most popular free Thai apps that allows users to redeem vouchers, promos, and more. The telco app is similar to its Philippine counterpart, GlobeOne. In this video, this works in coordination with the K Point app.
Additionally, we noticed a successful use case of business messaging in Thailand’s LINE Shopping. It was revealed that they had over 4.7 million users (with a penetration rate of 92.8%) in the first half of 2022 alone. Similar to our In-Store Commerce use case, their QR codes were a common sighting in retail shops. An extra initiative for shoppers to purchase products from their LINE account was offered in Vouchers and Discounts like our Scan-to-Redeem use case. Apart from that, they have also been successful in offering eCommerce from within the messaging app similar to the Philippines' Viber.
Before, 85.6% of businesses in Thailand were micro-businesses with under 5 employees who weren’t well-versed in digital marketing or eCommerce. Brands, both big and small, were initially reluctant to use the platform for sales due to their traditional commerce and marketing approaches. Now, results could not be anymore encouraging with them having onboarded 370,000 shops on its platform and facilitating 5.3 billion baht in GMV by the end of 2021. They are currently gunning for a 150% growth in participating shops and 200% in GMV based on their 97% increase in GMV in the first quarter, in comparison to the same period in the previous year. Similar to our approach, LINE Shopping bridges in-person shopping experiences with online transactions. That said, a double-pronged marketing approach was also taken to boost sales with them spearheading initiatives to encourage traffic to the shops with online campaigns and promos.
The effects of the pandemic have caused unprecedented changes to consumer behavior. While astronomical growth in the global eCommerce market was seen in the earlier years, with the highest being a 28% CAGR increase in 2020, there has also been a downward trend of 14% in 2021 as stores start to re-open again. However, that isn’t to say that eCommerce was a passing fad. eCommerce sales has always grown faster than retail sales and digitizing businesses should remain to be a priority post-pandemic. As the lockdown urged businesses to transition to online sales, recent developments also emphasize the importance of adapting to a hybrid sales set-up that brings the convenience of online sales into day-to-day life.
Having seen the widespread use of the In-Store Commerce use case in Bangkok, we are confident it is only a matter of time until we see the Philippines follow suit - with ChatGenie leading the charge. In-App Commerce was the solution for struggling brick-and-mortar establishments when lockdowns hit by letting businesses seamlessly digitize at a moment’s notice. Now, with the changes in daily life post-pandemic, in order to help online businesses cope with the decrease in online sales post-pandemic, In-Store Commerce is an innovative experience that will help boost sales, allow merchants to explore new avenues of income, and help drive traffic to stores. With the sudden but lasting changes in consumer behavior, this use case enables customers to bridge online sales with traditional commerce by making eCommerce’s convenience and voucher availability the norm even in offline transactions.
Smart retail features such as this IKEA use case allow commuters to shop anywhere they want in an instant. Billboards in high-traffic areas contain product-specific QR codes that take shoppers directly to the product page and let them buy anything within minutes.
This year's new developments to merge eCommerce to everyday life is already happening. One use case present in Bangkok is an IKEA billboard featuring QR codes that show the exactly what smart retail can do. High-traffic areas like train stations are a great place to advertise products and give commuters a chance to purchase products directly off the billboard - something that will soon be possible with ChatGenie.
While similar to the hybrid shopping experience available in Thailand, the ChatGenie In-Store Commerce customer journey is optimized to skip linkouts entirely. First, users will have to scan the appropriate QR code which will then direct them to the GCash app and lead them to the exact GLife store’s catalog. Users can then add to cart, checkout, and pay.