Through this deal, Groupon will be offering exclusive ‘LINE only’ deals, weekly deals and a ‘Manic Monday’ deal offering freebies to its followers on LINE. The deal period or the financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
It looks like LINE is also taking an ecosystem approach in India, similar to its competitor WeChat, in order to position itself as a better product among a plethora of existing mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp, Hike, BBM, Imsy, Plustxt and others. Damandeep Singh Soni, the recently appointed India business development head says they are aiming to create a marketplace within the app with strategic partnerships like the one with Groupon, which will target young consumers in India.
The success of such a marketplace will however depend on how many exclusive (or unique) partnerships LINE will be able to sign up in India, which in itself is dependent on how many active users it has here and how many of them actually follow these official accounts. LINE claims to have 16 million registered users, up from 15 million in December last year. However, this doesn’t really matter since its a messaging app, which should instead be judged on the number of monthly active users it has. LINE’s competitor WhatsApp had claimed to have 36 million monthly active users in India as of December 2013.
Last month, Getit Infomedia’s local search engine AskMe had partnered Tencent’s mobile messaging app WeChat to provide location-specific local searches, deals and classifieds through an official account ‘AskMeSearch’ on WeChat. The company had said it will also provide information on trending restaurants and deals of the day, apart from providing classifieds on vehicles, mobiles, properties and jobs.
Earlier this month, One97’s consumer services brand Paytm had also revamped its iOS app to introduce mobile shopping with an integrated messaging feature which allows consumers to bargain with merchants before purchasing a product. The messaging feature is powered by Plustxt which One97 had acquired for $2 million in August 2013.
WhatsApp, which is probably the market leader among messaging apps in the Indian market, has deliberately stayed from offering these type of additional services, since this service in a sense can also be viewed as an advertisement from an user’s perspective and it has been really vocal about not selling ads on its messaging service.