Zalo for business: The complete guide

Discover Zalo, Vietnam’s top messaging app, and learn how it can enhance your business’ communication in the Vietnamese market.

Senior Content Marketing Specialist

Dan Mekinec

Senior Content Marketing Specialist

To connect with the Vietnamese audience, you need to speak their language and use the right channel to reach them on. That means getting to know Zalo, the homegrown superstar app used by 73 million people in the country, including more than 155,000 companies.

Before we dive into business use cases, let’s go through the key facts about Zalo, and why it became so popular in Vietnam.

The story of Zalo, Vietnam’s super app

Launched in 2012, Zalo is a Vietnam-based social platform that became the nation’s favorite messaging app within a decade. Like other OTT messaging apps, it enables users to text, make voice and video calls, share files and engage in group chats.

In 2022, Zalo secured its place as the most-used messaging app in Vietnam. Among the country’s 93 million smartphone users, a remarkable 87% are active on Zalo. A year later, it still leads the list with over 73 million active users, a feat that’s even more impressive considering that Vietnam is among the top 10 markets in app downloads globally.

an infographic showing the top messaging platforms in Vietnam

With an 87% penetration rate in Vietnam, Zalo surpasses global messaging giants. Source: Decision Lab

Zalo is owned by VNG Corporations, a video gaming and social media startup that rose to the status of Vietnam’s first tech unicorn. The name “Zalo” is a combination of the words „alo“, the greeting Vietnamese people use when picking up the phone, and „Zing“, a suite of online services offered by VNG.

Today, Zalo is considered by many to be a “super app“, as VNG’s ecosystem offers services that range from social interactions to seamless payments, and convenient online shopping.

Developed by locals, for locals

Like WeChat in China, KakaoTalk in South Korea, and LINE in Japan, Zalo was developed by a local company, in the local language.

Consequently, it offers a highly localized user experience that surpasses the ones offered by global competitors. Powered by its natural language processing, it secures high engagement rates through lively stickers for conversations in Vietnamese.

example of Zalo stickers

Localized stickers are one of the reasons why Zalo triumphs over other apps. Source:

Zalo implemented end-to-end encryption in May 2022, offering the same level of security similar to chat apps such as WhatsApp. On top of that, seamless integrations to services like ZaloPay, Zalo Shop, and Zalo Bank enable users to pay their bills, transfer money to friends and family, buy products online, and even get micro-loans — all in an already familiar setting.

This widespread adoption is why many organizations, such as government agencies, and enterprises have also also started using the app to connect with users in Vietnam.

How businesses can use Zalo

From authenticating user accounts to sending important updates, Zalo offers many ways to engage with users and customers. Let’s explore the different business use cases of Zalo:

Authenticate and verify users with verification codes

The most popular way of using Zalo is sending verification codes for authenticating users (also known as 2FA). This means that, for example, when a user registers their account on a platform, they can get a Zalo message to verify their phone number or account.

You can see two examples below (for a bank on the left, and a web shop on the right):

example of zalo verification codes for banks
example of zalo verification codes for ecommerce

Top tip: Did you know that sending authentication messages on Zalo offers significant cost savings compared to SMS? You can use Infobip’s Authenticate solution to send verification codes on Zalo, combining it with the SMS failover option to ensure maximum deliverability and cost-efficiency.

Confirm or update information about transactions

Zalo also supports sending notifications about transactions, or confirmation of customer requests. This includes order confirmations, successful booking, registration for services or events, order delivery updates, etc.

Examples of notifications on successful purchases and transactions on Zalo

Examples of notifications on successful purchases and transactions.

Send support messages after transactions

Businesses can send automated Zalo messages after transactions have been completed. For example, customers can get confirmation messages with details about successful deliveries. Other types of post-transaction messages include:

  • Warranty activation notices
  • Periodic maintenance notifications
  • Feedback or survey requests
  • Simple expressions of gratitude for using your services
Examples of post-transaction support messages on Zalo

Examples of post-transaction support messages.

Notify of account information updates

Zalo enables businesses to send support-related notifications to existing customers. This can be used to:

  • Confirm account creation
  • Notify about password changes
  • Notify about membership status and promotions
  • Warn of suspicious activity
Examples of Zalo notifications regarding membership status and account risks.

Examples of notifications regarding membership status and account risks.

Send updates on business, product, or service changes

To keep customers up to date, businesses can send Zalo messages to notify of important changes, like working times during holidays or scheduled system maintenance. Other examples include:

  • Notifications about service policy changes
  • Product or service suspensions or shutdowns
  • Distribution of product manuals, payment instructions, and guidance
Examples of Zalo messages about holiday working times and scheduled maintenance

Examples of updates about holiday working times and scheduled maintenance.

Send after-sales notices to previously engaged customers

To ensure an ongoing relationship with their customers, businesses can send after-sales notices or ask previously engaged Zalo users for feedback.

In some cases, it is possible to announce upcoming products/services and send promotions or gift vouchers. However, this depends on the content of the messages, which need to be approved as templates by Zalo for each case.

Examples of sending reward vouchers and promo codes on Zalo

Examples of reward vouchers and promo codes.

How to get started with Zalo

There are two ways you can start using Zalo for your business, depending on whether you have a legal entity in Vietnam.

  • You can only send verification codes (account registration and verification). A fast and easy way to get started would be to use Infobip’s solution called Authenticate.
  • You can use a non-branded, generic sender, or we can create a special Zalo Official Account for your brand, exclusively for sending verification codes.
  • You can also use the SMS failover option to ensure users get an SMS in case they don’t receive a Zalo message.
  • You are eligible to create a Zalo Official Account (ZOA) and Zalo Cloud Account (ZCA) for your business. This allows you to send one-way notifications, alerts, and reminders to customers using Zalo Notification Services (ZNS).
  • When using Zalo Notification Services through Infobip, you can get your daily message quota and information about your account’s quality through Infobip support teams.

You can see examples of a generic sender (left) and a branded sender (right) for sending verification codes below:

example of generic sender for OTP
example of branded sender for OTP

Video walkthroughs: sending Zalo messages with Infobip

Here is a video on sending Zalo messages with the Zalo Notifications Services (ZNS) via Infobip’s web platform:

And here is how to connect Zalo via API:

Why it’s important to keep your Zalo notifications high-quality

When using Zalo Notification Services, the feedback you get matters. If Zalo users report your messages as bad, it can affect your status.

Zalo grades Official Accounts (OA) into three categories: Good, Medium, and Low. Your grade depends on how many negative reports you get. The features you can use, like how many messages and what kind of content you can send, depend on your grade. If you’re doing well, you can send more messages. But if you get too many bad reports, Zalo might limit your messaging or even stop it for a while.

Your grade can change based on the quality of your messages over the past week. Zalo checks this every day. If your grade changes, you might have to wait a bit before you see any new features.

To illustrate all this, here are some examples: the below image shows a message template that users reported as bad. It is written in a very formal way, with the purpose of informing customers on due payments. This information can be both unpleasant to read in a Zalo message, and also unnecessary if a customer had already paid.

Example of a Zalo message template that received negative feedback

Example of a Zalo message that received negative feedback.

On the other hand, the image below shows a good example of a Zalo message. It is written in a warm tone, asking for a review of a customer order. This increases the chances of getting positive feedback, especially for orders customers are happy with.

Example of a good Zalo message asking for customer feedback

Example of a well-formatted Zalo message asking for customer feedback.

To sum up: Zalo helps you save messaging costs and improve CX

Zalo is more than just a chat app. It has become a way of life for millions of Vietnamese people, which has already led to more than 155,000 companies using it. If you want to start using Zalo too, here are the key things you need to keep in mind:

  • Zalo supports the sending of verification codes for authentication and verification purposes, as well as one-way notifications, alerts, and reminders
  • Businesses without a legal entity in Vietnam can only send verification codes on Zalo using Infobip’s Authenticate, while those with legal entities can create a Zalo Official Account and send other types of messages using Zalo Notification Services
  • Zalo evaluates the quality of Zalo Official Accounts according to the sender’s bad reporting ratio (when users report messages as bad, the account may be paused)
  • To send promotional messages, like after-sales notices, new product announcements, and gift vouchers, you need to submit each type of message as a template for Zalo’s approval (it gets approved on a case-by-case basis)
  • You can send Zalo messages via API or web platform (broadcast)

If you’re an international company without a legal entity in Vietnam, you can start sending verification codes and save on messaging costs with Zalo using Infobip’s Authenticate. If you have a legal entity in Vietnam, you can also send many other types of messages using Zalo Notification Services (ZNS) through Infobip, reaching your Vietnamese audience in the way they prefer the most.

Start using Zalo as a business

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Mar 25th, 2024
8 min read