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Online Shoppers More Savvy Than Ever

Posted July. 22, 2006 03:12,   


Websites are the first place Kim Min-hyung (26, Mapo-gu, Seoul) goes for clothes, shoes and even haircuts. Kim makes a reservation at a beauty salon only after surfing the web to find out about the latest trends in hairstyles.

Kim says, “From reservation to payment, you can get everything done more easily over the Internet. Plus, you can compare prices among salons. It’s very convenient.”

Recently, a far greater range of “intangible” goods has been made available through online and home shopping.

Shoppers are no longer amazed by the fact that they can purchase travel products or insurance policies on the web or home shopping channels.

Online sellers are getting more and more creative in their offerings, which, these days, include funeral services, skin and hair care, packing services for moving, help for household chores, professional wedding planning, shopping services, and the list goes on.

“Intangible” Products Raise Handsome Profits –

Hmall launched a “one-stop service for funerals” in early July. Registered members of Hmall can purchase the service, which include access to information on funeral procedures and help in finding a place to hold the funeral ceremony, and even helpers and goods needed for a funeral.

Though the service came with quite a high price tag, 2.34 million won, over 5,300 orders were received during three airings. Compared to 200 offline orders for the same service per month, the over-the-air promotion was a huge success.

Another online store, d&shop, has recently started a service called “On Hair.” The average monthly turnover of the service stands at 500 million won. d&shop partnered with around 2,400 beauty shops nationwide so that online shoppers could enjoy a “one-stop” service on the d&shop website from the search process to making a reservation and payment.

Every month, over one-billion-won worth of transactions is made in “intangible” products, including not only hair care, but also skin and nail care, and diet programs.

As Products Evolve, Satisfaction of Both Buyers and Sellers Rise –

Interpark followed suit by adding a new category, “Miscellaneous Services,” to its set of featured categories. Over three times more prospective buyers visit the new category compared to last year.

To satisfy growing demand, Interpark set up another category, “Services for Well-being,” in mid-July, where the number of offerings increased from 50 to 200.

Interpark visitors can shop for help with household affairs from cleaning, laundry and cooking to family functions, and wedding planning services as well as skin or health care. Even shopping services are on sale.

Meanwhile, Hmall is planning a partnership with olive9, a producer of TV dramas, to sell products featured in olive9’s dramas or goods used by celebrities.

Nam Chang-im, public relations manager at Interpark, says, “‘Intangible’ goods first appeared two to three years ago simply for the sake of creating a wide choice. Now we are putting a greater variety of goods on sale to accommodate our customers’ needs.”

Oh Seung-taek, marketing director at d&shop, explained, “Internet or home shopping is an easier way to gain information. Shoppers are satisfied with standardized quality and prices of goods.”

Lee Yong-seop, partnership division chief at Interpark, presented his outlook on the “intangible” goods market by saying, “It is less expensive to distribute, deliver and maintain inventories of ‘intangible’ goods. This is good for companies, too. Customers will get to have greater choice in their ‘intangible’ goods.”