The logistics of online shopping had already been perfectly set up in Korea before Covid-19 emerged. As the world moved toward e-shopping and online consumption, Korean industries rapidly expanded their online market, ranking second in the market size of online consumption after China.
E-commerce platforms such as Coupang and G-Market have enjoyed a surge in the sales of groceries and daily necessities. The Economist reported that Coupang’s revenue nearly doubled from $6.3 billion in 2019 to $12 billion in 2020. Many online shopping platforms, including Coupang or Market Kurly, are launching the “Dawn Delivery” services. Customers place orders by a specific time at night and receive delivery before 7 am the following day. Such platforms are also adapting subscription membership services. The customers subscribed to the membership are exempted from delivery fees. They can order any product without the limits of minimum order prices and get their products with rocket delivery services, the fastest ones possible.
The fast and guaranteed delivery systems have enabled the growth of Korean online shopping markets. In addition, the latest technologies such as AI, IoT, and VR are being incorporated into distance shopping services, adding to the customer experience.
Smart Refrigerators and Smart Kitchens
Korean major electronics companies such as Samsung and LG are developing smart kitchens equipped with smart refrigerators. Smart refrigerators made by Samsung and LG have large display screens. The refrigerators are connected to the Internet through incorporated IoT technology. They allow users to leave notes, search for recipes and even watch TV while cooking.
In addition to the use of display screens, smart refrigerators in Korea are also connected to the cloud and the customers’ smartphones. The groceries are automatically categorised and sorted out by the refrigerators so that users know what needs to be ordered in the next few days. Users can see how much of each item they have left in their refrigerators by checking applications on the connected smartphones at any time. On top of that, using the implemented AI technologies, the refrigerators know the customers’ appetites and place the order of the particular items that are running low.
Virtual Services for Clothes and Makeup Shopping
Virtual experiences are also pioneering the rise of online shopping for Korean customers in the fashion industry. Local Home Shopping giants such as Hyundai and Lotte accelerate virtual fitting and makeup services using television screen-based commerce, also called T-Commerce. The services allow the customers to create a 3D avatar on their smartphones or smart televisions to fit their size and skin tone. With advanced augmented and virtual reality technologies, customers can experience the fashion they wish to try by simply clicking a button.
The virtual items are not just limited to clothes; they also include virtual makeup such as colored eyebrows, lipsticks,, and blushers. The customers scan their faces into the screen, which analyses their skin tones, colors, and face shapes through the cameras of mobile phones or computers, and the virtual trial program shows how each cosmetic product will look on the customers. Some of the newly launched software even provides suggestions about the makeup products that fit the customers’ skin the best.
In line with the Covid-19 crisis, transitions to online shopping shed light on virtual services. Customers can easily shop for their clothes and cosmetic products while following social distancing measures and don’t have to try products in offline stores which might have been used by others.
The strong innovation infrastructure of Korea shapes the new generation of online shopping experience for customers. AI and IoT are incorporated into everyday products, and VR experiences upgrade shopping activities. More time and progress are needed for a wide implementation of such technology for the general public, but the transition towards distance shopping is grabbing the world’s attention for its strong efficiency.