“I bought BTS’ album and poster, and they arrived the very next day, which was surprising. I have never seen such a swift delivery. When I bought those ‘brothers’ (BTS) posters in the past, they would be delivered wrinkled or torn apart, but this time the delivery was made really well.”
A staff member of an international courier service company breathed a sigh of relief after reading this comment on its customer bulletin. If souvenirs that are delivered to overseas fans of K-pop stars are not delivered properly, the company can receive collective complaints from their fans.
According to the Statistics Korea, the total amount of goods purchased online by overseas buyers amounted to about 1.3 trillion won (approx. 1.07 billion U.S. dollars) in this year’s second quarter, up 49 percent year-on-year. The amount represents an all-time high for quarterly numbers. As more overseas consumers purchase goods online from Korea, they are more frequently using international courier services. DHL, a leading international courier service, saw its B2C (business to customer) deliveries jump by 48 percent from 286,000 cases in 2016 to 425,000 last year.
The logistics industry say that rising overseas shipments through courier services result from a surge in online purchases of K-goods amid the immense global popularity of K-pop. Against this backdrop, international courier service firms are scrambling to strengthen customized services for overseas buyers to capitalize on the trend.
DHL kicked off its “on-demand delivery” service in 2018. The service provides real-time delivery information by emails and text messages for shipments to overseas customers, just like to domestic customers. Notably, customers can choose from menus including change of delivery date, change of delivery address, delivery without the recipient’s signature, handing over deliveries to neighbors, and deferred delivery for long-term absence simply by logging on to the mobile app. Therefore, customers can also select timeslots for delivery and change delivery time and address in real time.
Other global courier services such as UPS and FedEx have also introduced “My Choice” and “Delivery Manager” solutions, respectively. These solutions are designed to allow customers to not only check delivery situation but also adjust delivery schedules to suit their needs by providing alerts one day prior to scheduled delivery or real-time alerting services.
As K-pop fans have made a flurry of requests including “would you make same-day delivery of cheering batons for use at a concert?” and “please keep my purchase of K goods secret from my mother,” certain companies are installing more unmanned storage boxes. “Since delivery of K-goods can determine logistics companies’ corporate images, companies are fiercely competing with each other to develop safer, more customized delivery services for customers.