Naver focuses on mobile shopping

Naver is trying to finally crack the mobile business, which it admits has been its Achilles’ heel. Naver is the largest search engine and portal in the country. However, as people steadily shift away from PCs to access the Internet, Naver has been seeking new businesses in the mobile sector. Naver said Tuesday it is introducing a one-stop mobile shopping platform in the first half of this year that forecasts the needs of users and reflects them in search results. It hopes users will shop and pay for goods using its payment system Naver Pay.

“Everyone knows that Naver is not No. 1 in the mobile business,” said Han Seong-sook, head of Naver’s services departments, at a press conference at Naver Partner Square in Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam, southern Seoul Turesday. “Naver lacks content and sharing functions, which are the most important component in mobile. We have a sense of urgency.”

Social networking services such as Google and Facebook are also competing in the mobile shopping market to compete with Amazon, Alibaba and eBay. Naver said it will use an Shopping Trend Graph algorithm that shows relevant information about shopping in search result and the algorithm can predict the users’ interests. Around 34 percent of keywords in Naver searches are already shopping related.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

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Mobile shoppers want fewer and better choices

2015_01_online shoppingKim Jin-young was looking for a birthday present for a friend and thought a pair of gloves would be just right. But when she used the keyword “gloves” in a search on G-Market, a popular e-commerce site in Korea, she was faced with a daunting 227,100 results. Even when the 28-year-old sorted the results by a single brand, hundreds of different gloves from the label were offered. Overwhelmed with the results, Kim was turned off the purchase.

Consumers like Kim are pushing online retailers to jump onto the curated commerce bandwagon. All major online retailers – including G-Market, 11st and Coupang – now either have a separate curated commerce site or designated a section for items that have been selected specially.

In the early days of online shopping, people were excited by the fact that a vast assortment of products could be seen with the click of a mouse, something that would have required hours or days of shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. But large online retailers such as G-Market, Auction and 11st went too far by showing hundreds of thousands of products in a single search. Shoppers rebelled against the cognitive overload.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Mobile shopping heats up at night

A growing number of so-called “thumb shoppers” Kim attest to the rising trend, and Internet shopping malls like 11st, Shinsegae Mall and Lotte.com are working to win customers and gain an edge in the market. KT’s research institute Digieco expects the size of the mobile shopping market to pass 1 trillion won ($900 million) this year.

Transaction traffic is at its heaviest from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m., which accounts for 40 percent of the day’s take, the online retailers say. The most popular items are processed foods – like instant noodles, instant rice and sweets – healthy foods and products related to fashion or beauty, with daily necessities the undisputed favorite, they add. Male shoppers go more for IT and electronic appliances.

Fresh produce is not popular because it is easily perishable and same-day deliveries are not yet possible when shopping by smartphone. Mobile shoppers also make their minds up faster about whether to buy something rather than spending a long time browsing, according to the online stores.

For full article see Joongang Daily.

Smartphones reshape retail landscape

The growing use of smartphones has entirely changed lifestyles in the 21st century, expanding to online shopping and changing the landscape of the retail industry.

According to data from the Korea Online Shopping Association (KOLSA), monetary transactions via mobile online shopping totaled 3 billion won in 2009 when there were only 750,000 smartphones users at the time.

But the numbers have surged since then: in 2010, transactions amounted to 14 billion won from 7.18 million users. Last year, the “market” grew to 200 billion won with 22.8 million people using the devices.

This year, KOLSA expects 34.8 million Koreans will be using smartphones and shop via the device with the amount of monetary transactions exceeding 600 billion won.

The report also states that the online shopping market grew 17 percent last year and will increase by 13 percent this year. The organization said Korea’s overall online shopping market was valued at 39.4 trillion won in 2011, and expects new revenue pipelines for firms via the new mobile platform.

For full article see Korea Times.