SEOUL, May 12 (Korea Bizwire) – Coupang, a Korean e-commerce website, is expanding its platform to an open market, offering direct sales and purchases between consumers and suppliers. Coupang is a social commerce platform that previously focused on curated commerce in the form of special ‘deals’.
It’s an attempt to make up for its weakness in product assortment, and experts are anticipating fierce competition between existing open market websites such as Gmarket and 11ST.
Coupang revealed that it launched a new open market platform called ‘Item Market’ on its existing website.
The biggest difference between Item Market and other competitors is that it offers only a single product, called ‘The Winner’, on the main search results page. The Winner is determined by various factors such as price, product reviews, and delivery service.
“Consumers have had difficulty finding the right products in existing open markets, due to long lists of overlapping products that appear in search results, and we tried to fix this,” said a Coupang official.
The vendors won’t have to pay for premium advertising to get their products on the main page. They themselves will have to compete for the honor. The assessment for The Winner takes place in real-time, which means the title can change hands anytime.
“As a matter of fact, we’ve had a seller who had a monthly jump in sales from 2 million to 200 million won during our trial period,” the Coupang official added.
In a different approach, 11ST has expanded its platform to direct purchases and sales. 11ST has been focusing on mediating business between buyers and sellers, but it’s now directly purchasing products sorted by merchandisers and selling them back to consumers.
“We have a greater pricing advantage when we make direct purchases from manufacturers. We will be providing more convenient and faster delivery services as well as our in-house customer support,” said an 11ST official.
By Joseph Shin (email@example.com)