Why and how to build a chatbot for Line

A chatbot for Line – Line is one of the most famous instant messengers in the Far East, not a geometric series of points – can fuel your business and expand it quickly throughout the most promising economic area of the world.

The fact is that this popular freeware reaches over 80 million users each month and dominates the mobile messaging market of Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand. Line has generated over 200 billion Yen of revenues with a constant growth at rates of 15-20% per year, and a parallel exponential increase in the number of users (data of 2020).

Line is also a pop culture icon, as it frequently shown in pop musicians ’videos. In 2012, the American rapper Big Sean used a Line application in his video for his song “Guap”, and the same did the Italian pop singer Annalisa in 2014.

Line appears again and again in many TV shows and movies, not only in Japan but also in Korea, a country where this social network has become a constant presence on TV.

Using a chatbot for Line then means not only to exploit the opportunity to reach a huge market, but also to leverage Line’s popularity and massive presence in media, culture, and arts.

The company is aware of the potentiality of its messenger for chatbots and conversational AI marketing. In 2016 they launched a bot API that targets even small businesses and individuals (before, this service was available for large businesses only).

This innovation opened Line to a huge segment of small businesses like hairdressers, restaurants, and salesmen. In Bangkok, the Line man is a specific Line app that handles food deliveries.

line man food deliveries
A Line Man that delivers you food

A chatbot for Line can exploit Line’s unique features

Line offers much more than WhatsApp. On this popular Asian social network, users find a huge availability of functionalities, applications, and tools, like digital wallets, online shops, online games, news, TV streams, even taxi services and fast manga comics delivery!

But, despite its many services and features, the secret of Line (and chatbots for Line) success lies in a quite trivial feature, stickers. This does not come as a surprise, as in Far East Asia lots of people loves anime and emojis.

Through Lime, downloading, creating, and trading any kind of sticker is quite handy.

There are even animated and sound stickers. For a company, making its logo available for free on Line or creating a character that personifies its brand and then turning it into a sticker is thus a quick and easy way to promote the business.

More in general, stickers are not a purely Asian affair. Stickers work like emoji and emoticons: they greatly enhance engagement in places like chats and messenger chats in almost every part of the world.

The reason is that stickers leverage the visual language that is by far the strongest and most immediate way of communication for humans.

But what do stickers have to do with chatbots? Well, sticker bots – bots that enable users to create, exchange and manage stickers through messengers like Facebook and Line – are the newfound land for chatbot marketers.

Why? A sticker bot works by automatizing the whole process of creating and using stickers. For example, if you run a restaurant can instruct your bot to use stickers to reply to clients’ comments and messages.

In other words, sticker bots work like text bots, the difference is that while text bots send textual messages, sticker bots send visual messages. But the principle is the same, to create engagement.

Other useful applications for sticker bots can be to make one’s business stand out from the crowd by creating and sending customers new, original stickers or to build some stickers by using one’s portraits.

In conclusion, a sticker bot gives any organization the possibility to make the most of its Line account in a market like Asia where emojis and stickers are proved to be a powerful fuel for any type of business.

line friends characters
Line Friends : Cony, Moon, Brown & James

The conversational AI marketing on Line

Using Sticker bots can be a winning strategy on Line, but we must not forget that this Japanese messenger is a perfect field where to deploy also the traditional conversational AI text chatbots.

The reason is evident: Line merges the functionalities of a traditional phone messenger like WhatsApp with the possibilities that only networks like Facebook offer. The idea behind Line is to create as much engagement as possible for users.

But where there is engagement, there are many conversations (not necessarily textual, they can happen in the form of videos exchanges or any kind of content sharing), Consequently, the chances for conversational marketing are the highest on Line.

The Line management seems to be aware of Line potentiality in this field, at the point that they have developed a specific API to allow the birth and growth of chatbots for Line, as we have said in the section above.

However, as Bruno Mircevski pointed out in his article: “Advantages of Conversational AI for Your Business” in this blog, 24/7 automated services (especially customer services) and text-chat management are just one side of the coin.

Indeed, another big benefit of a chatbot for line that automatizes your daily conversation marketing operation is data collection. As this benefit is common to any messenger, the reader could thus object that a chatbot for Line is anything else than a specific case of application of conversational AI chatbots.

However, in the specific case of alien organizations at their first attempts to penetrate the Far East Asia markets, there is a plus in using a chatbot for Line that collect customers’ data. Entering a foreign market means jumping over formidable barriers, one of which is the total loss of information.

Exporters (this is the case for many European firms that wish to trade with Far East Asia) will find out that deploying a chatbot for Line that interacts with potential Asian customers is going to be a powerful mean to collects a large amount of data in a very short time and at a very low price.

This could be a great benefit at the stage of the early development of a business in the areas that Line covers. In this regard, consider that this platform is spreading throughout China, the Philippines, and Thailand; in other words, Line is not focused on the Japanese market only.

Some examples of chatbots for Line

What are some best examples of utilization of chatbot for Line? Let’s start with Microsoft Japan that has built a bot with the features of a Japanese high school girl.

Rinna – this is her name – can engage customers in small talks and answer their questions. Her tone of voice is warm, friendly, and informal.

But the social abilities of Rinna go far over these petty clerical tasks. This bot can also weave common expressions into haiku (a popular form of poetry in Japan), grade the user’s conversation ability, and join chat groups.

Rinna Line Chatbot
Add Rinna on Line and talk to her

Another example of a chatbot for Line is the one of Domino’s Pizza. Their bot accepts pizza orders after an informal conversation. The bot went over 100 million yen in sales in the first month from its launch.

Last example: H.I.S., an international travel agency that uses a chatbot for Line to help people to book international plane tickets through the platform.

How to build a chatbot for Line

Building a chatbot for Line is quite easy, as Line offers bot developers a specific API, several SDKs, and good integrations.

Line makes available for developers an API to fetch data from the server where the bot is hosted to Line servers through the client’s Line account.

When a user interacts with Line, a webhook event is sent to the client’s bot which processes it according to the definitions that the client set up. The bot works out a response that is sent to the user through Line in the form of a specific behavior.

Line offers multiple API SDKs in several languages (Java, PHP, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, etc.) that can be utilized to build a chatbot for Line in a relatively simple way.

A solution that we suggest is to use a good chatbot framework, as it assures an excellent integration with Line and allows access to robust Natural Language processing. Do not forget that NLP is part and parcel of any effective conversational AI chatbot.

Another advantage of chatbot frameworks is that they can be deployed on multiple platforms, which means that it is not necessary to have a specific chatbot for Line. This one-size-fits-all solution makes the management of any conversational AI marketing strategy more straightforward.

Life becomes even easier when the chatbot framework includes a specific module to interact with Line, as in the case of Dialogflow. The instructions to integrate the chatbot with Line are contained in the module.

At Ideta, we developped a no-code chatbot builder that enable you to deploy your chatbot on Line and more. Our interface is easy to use and you can connect your NLP configuration to any providers you like.

Book a demo with a member of our team, and lets talk about your use case !

In conclusion, Line can be the perfect tool to make business in Far East Asia because of its deep penetration and popularity.

Building a chatbot for Line can be a great idea if conversational AI marketing is a pivot of the marketing strategy of the organization concerned.

Dialogflow offers a convenient and easy way to build your chatbot for Line because it includes a specific module of integration with Line.

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Written by
Marco La Rosa

Marco La Rosa is a blogger, writer, content creator, and UX designer. Very interested in new technologies, he wrote Neurocopywriting, a book about neurosciences and their applications to writing and communication‍

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