Do you shop online? If so, which websites are your favourite? Do they provide you with an unique experience?
One of my favourite online stores is called Gmarket. It’s a South Korean online shopping portal selling anything and everything to clothes, shoes, bags, pet food, stationary, electronics, … pretty much anything and everything you can imagine!
Anyway, so gmarket acts an intermediary, where South Korean sellers can have their own little ‘shop’ where their products are listed. Sellers can sell multiple products… it is very similar to ebay .. probably because it was recently purchased by ebay.
One of the great things about shopping on Gmarket is the fact they reward you for your shopping… and reward you heavily as well. They have multiple programs and systems which reward you for your continued purchases. One of them is the VIP member system. This is where you are rewarded on the amount of purchases or orders you make each month. The more you orders you make, the higher the VIP status you are. Last time I checked, I was on SVIP which is the highest status, but I haven’t made any orders recently…
One of the benefits of this VIP loyalty system is that there are even greater discounts and coupons available to you, such as discounts on shipping. They are small discounts, (about 2,000won= about 2aud), but every bit goes a long way.
Other aspects of the website include a discount coupons, which everyone can redeem. They are categorized into different categories, such as Apparel, baby, perfumes etc. Coupons can also be exchanged for gstamps, which is another form of credit on Gmarket.
I think the reason why the big push for coupons is the fact that their customers are a younger audience, between the ages of 18 to 30 year olds and from overseas markets such as China, Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines. Furthermore, they have a ‘Best Seller’ section which is lso categorized into Best Sellers per country, so customers can see what is popular in their country and overseas.
Another interesting aspect of Gmarket is the fact that they reward customers who blog about their experience with Gmarket. The top 7 bloggers who review their purchases and shares their experiences are rewarded. This encourages feedback and product reviews, and helps to generates a wider Gmarket community where customers can share their experiences.
While these are not new techniques to drive sales and generate more user generated content, it does show that how markets also need to listen to the target audience, as the users and buyers on gmarket are predominately from generation Y. The use of blogging to generate more engagement and interaction,and rewarding that aspect, shows that online websites are looking for more ways to connect with buyers, rather than the typical direct selling. Here is a link to a gmarket ‘haul’, where bloggers post their shopping experience and rate the products they have used : here and here. Not surprisingly, these blog posts do generate a fair amount of conversation, as other shoppers are genuinely interested the products purchased and the person’s review.
Another interesting fact is that Gmarket has a dedicated portal for Chinese speaking users. This mean that they recognize the large amount of chinese users and are actively looking towards generating more sales and pursuing their loyalty and active engagement. Further to this, Gmarket has spawned more local sites, they have a Singapore and Malaysian version (now called qoo10) to connect with more customers. I have not made any purchases from the Singaporean or Malaysian site, but I assume that the products are still from South Korea.
One main obstacle is that users may not be able to read Korean, as most of them list their products in Korean, which is another barrier to customers. This needs to be rectified to allow a better online shopping experience.
What do you guys think? Do you guys shop online on websites that are foreign? Do you hav any unique shopping experiences online?
*my original post got deleted.. 😦