Tokyo, Japan – April 24, 2014 – LINE Corporation, owner and operator of the free call and messaging app LINE, today announced that it will be starting that it will be opening pre-registration of new accounts for LINE@, its business account service, in preparation for the release of new features to the service as well as free accounts in mid-May. The pre-registration site can be found at https://biz.line.naver.jp/ja/
LINE@ is a platform which offers businesses such as restaurants, clothiers, salons, hotels, and others the chance to use LINE to promote themselves to consumers online in order to spur in-store sales. Since starting in December of 2012, the service has grown to host over 30,000 accounts, connecting businesses to users in a variety of ways. Around 40% of customers use coupons sent through LINE@. Businesses can take advantage of LINE’s 50 million active Japanese users and communicate with them directly, creating convenience on both sides and redefining the relationship between businesses and users for the smartphone era.
A host of new features will be added to the service shortly. The “LINE Store Page” offers detailed information viewable on LINE or from the web such as store menus, coupons, photographs, videos, and more, and will help to increase business recognition as well as bring in more customers through increased exposure. The “LINE Store Chat” function will let users send messages to stores and vice versa in a way that resembles actual chats between LINE users＊1. Additionally, in cooperation with LINE’s low-cost international calling service LINE Call, the free dial feature, which allows users to call LINE@ affiliated stores for free, will be offered to businesses at no cost for a limited time. With the addition of these new features, communication between LINE users and businesses will come to resemble communication between LINE friends, further strengthening the bonds between consumers and sellers.
Under the ideal that every shop in Japan will eventually be connected via LINE@, LINE will be offering free accounts (Standard Plan) in addition to its existing paid plan that costs JPY 5,000 a month (excluding taxes). This will remove the most costly barrier to participation in the service, opening it to businesses nationwide. Free accounts will have limits on the amount of messages they may send, but all essential features, such as the LINE Store Page and the ability to reply to consumer inquiries, will be available at no cost. There are no startup fees for either paid or free accounts.
Up until now, users could only search for shops on their smartphones by using search engines or online restaurant review sites. The basis for users’ decisions to patronize a particular shop has been limited to reviews from other users or word of mouth. This has led to shallow relationships between businesses and consumers, with consumers only visiting the shop once and never returning.
The new LINE Store Page will facilitate the exposure of new businesses, and the LINE Store Chat will let businesses and consumers engage in mutual communication. Shops can send messages and coupons to users, encouraging them to visit again. This creates a cycle of exposure leading to communication, and communication leading to patronage, bringing businesses and consumers closer than ever before.
In preparation for the improvements coming in mid-May, pre-registrations will open from today on LINE@’s official site (https://biz.line.naver.jp/ja/
, Japanese only). Businesses that pre-register will receive instructions upon the renovation of the service, and after passing an internal review process will be able to open new accounts that have the new features available.
LINE also plans to further improve its content management system for businesses as well as the function that enables users to find LINE@ affiliated shops using their geographic location information. LINE@ will continue to improve upon the services it offers, becoming an infrastructure that supports the bonds between local businesses and consumers.
1. LINE Store Page
The LINE Store Page is viewable on both LINE and the web. Businesses can log in to the management screen and edit their page, providing detailed information on themselves for free.
2. LINE Store Chat
LINE Store Talk enables businesses to respond to inquiries from customers on the LINE Store Page. After receiving inquiries from users businesses may start two-way correspondence with them, answering questions about reservations or products, gathering opinions, and more.
3. Payment Plans
In addition to the free Standard Plan, which lets business send one chat message per month, there is also the Promotion Plan*2
, which will put businesses at the top of search results in LINE in addition to offering unlimited messages. There are even more plans that aim to satisfy the wide variety of business needs that exist.＊1：“LINE Store Chat” differs from chats in LINE.
＊2：Businesses participating in the 3-month free promotion event will be automatically moved to the Promotion Plan after the event ends.