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Is your conversational messaging strategy working for the Asian markets?

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If you haven’t heard of super-apps, it’s time to get caught up. For much of the Asian market, life takes place on apps like WeChat, KakaoTalk, and LINE, and if your business isn’t tailoring its strategy and using messaging on these apps effectively, you’re missing a huge opportunity. 

The holiday season is here, and we all know what that means! Food, family, and fun times, but, more importantly, it calls for shopping season. You’ve had a conversational messaging strategy for a while now, and you’ve identified the top social messaging platforms you’d like to use to engage customers—WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Telegram, LINE, KakaoTalk, WeChat, and probably more. But are you actually ready to start promoting and engaging customers? 

We’ve all heard of Black Friday, but do you know about other major shopping holidays in Asia that are just as important? You can use all the same super-apps to reach customers for these holidays too! ️

Let’s look at some examples: 

Globe mapping out the big shopping holidays in Asia

1. Singles Day - China

Singles Day is celebrated on November 11 because the date 11/11 has four ones standing together. You might think being single is lonely and sad but apparently not in China! For decades, young single people have arranged meetups and parties to celebrate being single on 11/11. 🥳 

It’s one of the biggest shopping events worldwide, with many brands kicking off pre-sales events in late October. These sales attract local and global shoppers to e-commerce platforms like AliExpress, which offers a seamless digital shopping experience.  

As Singles Day has become more recognized globally, some Western brands and retailers have seized the opportunity to target millennials, ex-pats, and Asian cross-border shoppers. These shoppers crave online deals from their favorite brands during this event. Most brands use WeChat to talk to consumers in China, and millions of Chinese people will expect messages from their favorite Official Accounts. In short, WeChat offers a massive opportunity to reach customers 24/7 – it’s a must in your marketing strategy! 

2. Sale Festa - Korea

Korea’s Sale Festa, which runs from November 1 to November 15, is one of the largest shopping events in South Korea. It’s a nationwide online and in-store shopping day, where everyone from department and duty-free stores to supermarkets to restaurants joins in the fun. 

It was launched in 2016 and is now backed by central and 17 local governments – even the Prime Minister took part in the opening ceremony in 2021 to boost spending and help domestic businesses. Some products are offered at up to 80% off – now that’s a good discount! 

It’s a time when local and foreign buyers get excited thanks to exclusive deals, daily vouchers, free shipping, and even cashback offers – brands can’t afford to miss out! 

According to Seoulz, South Korean customers want to feel special, so a winning conversational messaging strategy should be packed with direct engagement and fully personalized to make them feel like VIPs on their preferred channel – KakaoTalk! 🤩 

Handset with a message from a business offering a promotion

3. New Year "lucky bags" - Japan

Black Friday sales exist in Japan, but they’re nothing compared to those leading up to New Year. Many stores offer lucky bags - an assortment of products combined with a discount. The lucky bag, or fukubukuro as it’s known in Japanese, has a long history dating back to the late Meiji era (a little more than 100 years ago).  

Even though it’s an old tradition, lucky bags are still popular today. Customers eagerly line up outside stores before they open to get their goodies – just like they did 100 years ago. Can you relate the lucky bag promotion to your home market? 🛍 

Japan’s most popular social messaging app is LINE. When you’re working on a conversational messaging strategy, it’s crucial to use the right tools and localize rather than translate campaigns, or things will look off, and customers will notice. 

Many companies have found sponsored stickers effective in campaigns - in exchange for a sticker, people will often add a brand’s LINE Official Account as a friend! According to LINE, sponsored stickers can attract up to 2-4 million followers to a specific LINE Official Account! 

With your target audience as friends, all kinds of doors open to build brand recognition, create personalized promotions, and gain insights via questionnaires.

Timeline of shopping season events

And there are more dates to note! Here's a timeline of all the holiday and shopping events to be ready for, including Double 12 shopping day, Chinese New Year, and Lantern Festival. 

Getting started with super-apps

You might think it’s easy to work with a local agency and set up business accounts on these social messaging apps, but that’s not the case! Multinational brands that copy-and-paste marketing to consumers in Asia don't tend to do very well. Preferred messaging channels vary massively across the region. Diversity means customers in Asia perceive, feel, and behave differently, so it’s vital to keep this in mind when rolling out a global marketing strategy. 

At Sinch, we’ve integrated all three super-apps (plus the more familiar messaging channels) into one unified API, and our documentation is in English! Sinch’s Conversation API helps you build, enrich, and optimize omnichannel interactions with your “friends” on any channel with a single integration. 

Want to learn more about the super-app messaging channels? Check out our ultimate guide to conversational messaging channels!