The New Style of Shopping
On March 1st, 2021, two of the biggest organizations providing internet services in Japan - Z Holdings (Yahoo!) and LINE - completed their merger. This brought a shock-wave throughout the whole digital industry, including within our team at AdVertize - a digital marketing agency in Tokyo, not just because of the humongous scale, but also because of the potential that this news brings to the industry. So, what’s gonna change for those affiliated with digital marketing in Japan, and how will this affect your marketing process? Let’s take a look.
Social Commerce in Yahoo and LINE
Social commerce is one of the hot areas that is expected to develop through this merger. This is basically a mix of communication and commerce, and yes as you guessed, it matters a hell of a lot for us digital marketers. You’ve ever received or sent a gift through the service “LINE Gift”? That’s an example of social commerce.
With the continuous expansion of the areas in which social media and the internet are affecting our lives, it’s also in its first steps to influence our purchasing decisions.
The development in social commerce will also make it possible for users to ask friends to buy products together in the native app, where 2 people buying the same product will make it cheaper than just buying one, with cost per item decreasing the more you buy, incentivizing users to collaborate in order to acquire products at a lower cost.
Another feature that we could see from this merger is LIVE commerce. This would allow for users to make purchasing decisions on the spot by watching product introductions by influencers, while also interacting with other viewers who’re also watching the livestream. Influencers would find a new and easier way into showing their influence upon users, as the system would likely also have a way to track those who came from those specific livestreams.
Check out our guide to Japan social media marketing for more information on how you could implement social into your marketing strategies in Japan.
"X Shopping" on Yahoo and LINE
As a digital marketing agency in Tokyo, we believe the merger would forge an innovation in how people buy products, by opening the path for what's called X Shopping. It's when people can choose the most convenient method of buying a product, made possible by connecting the real-time data of products between online and offline stores.
An example would make it easier to imagine what this would entail:
Imagine you are looking to purchase a frying pan. You will be able to receive recommendations on whether to get it a few days later for the cheapest price, by having it search for the best price online and deliver it to your home, or receive it on the same day with it prepaid, ready for you to pick up in the nearest retail store on your way back from work.
It is to note that in the future, there seems to be plans to bring in the dynamic pricing feature (finding the best price) to the offline system as well.
These 2 areas from this merger are the points to be wary of for marketers in the coming years. It seems that they have also announced that they're working on a new ecommerce platform where users can integrate Yahoo shopping, LINE official account services, and some analysis related tools into their website from one service, however it doesn't seem to be anywhere near polished as Shopify for the time being, so let's keep that for another day.
How You Can Prepare for the Future of Yahoo X LINE
The main points that marketers, including us as a digital marketing agency in Tokyo need to keep in mind for the upcoming changes surrounding these platforms, are emphasis on "connection" and "integration".
Gifting others, collaborating with others, and being persuaded by others; all aspects of social commerce have "connection" as a crucial component for it to work, and platforms are turning the game into something that almost makes it a necessity for any brand to be successful.
As a marketer, you need to adapt, by making your products and ad campaigns friendly to users in terms of lowering the barrier for purchase, adding fun gifts/coupons component that users can share amongst each other, and ultimately making the whole buying experience fun, to the point where potential customers would WANT to share with other people, bringing in more sales and so on.
Following the previous point on lowering the barrier for purchase, integration applies here too. Allowing for more options for people to buy your product, introducing discounts for those who buy more quantity with their friends, having a system that people can choose to pick up from a store near them or have it delivered, and utilizing LIVE commerce to allow users to purchase natively within the app are all important integrations that you need to make to the business in order to fully utilize what's coming in the matter of a few months to years.
All these changes may be difficult for you to adapt right away, but that's okay because it's normal. If you find it reassuring though, you can always come to AdVertize for support, and we'll go over any wall you may find with a breeze, thanks to our leading digital marketing expertise and us simply being used to the constant change within the industry. For more information, say hello and let's begin discussing how we can help you take your business to the next level. If you are interested to learn more about digital marketing, check out our top digital marketing agency blogs for Japan.