SEOUL, Nov.11 (Korea Bizwire) – The American membership-only warehouse club ‘Costco Wholesale Korea’ opened its online shopping mall (www.costco.co.kr) on November 10.
It is the first among the Asian countries Costco has entered, and the fifth online shopping site after the U.S., England, Canada and Mexico.
Customers that are Costco members who register online can shop at the online store.
The products sold are categorized under 11 different groups: digital, home electronics; furniture, home interior, toys, Christmas; sports, fitness; garden, patio; clothing, fashion accessories; jewelry, watches, accessories; beauty, health; tools, living, cars; stationary, office supplies; and food.
Compared to other online malls that don’t have a paid membership, the number of items offered is much lower. All prices include shipping.
Costco has chosen to abstain from selling fresh food online. This could be interpreted as an acknowledgement that the company currently doesn’t have a distribution system fast enough to assure the freshness of the products. For now, customers will be able to purchase processed foods, grains, dried foods, and snacks.
Industry watchers comment that since Costco’s online mall lacks fresh food, and has a lot of foreign brands among the products it carries, its pool of consumers should not overlap with domestic retailers.
Furthermore, the fact that only customers with membership in good standing can use the online mall is another limitation of Costco’s internet efforts.
However, based on the great success Costco has achieved through its domestic offline stores, some are predicting that once Costco expands its logistics infrastructure, increasing the number of products it can handle and distribute through the online site, its influence on the domestic online market could be great.
Costco already ranks No.1 in consumer satisfaction among the five stores that record the highest sales (Emart, Homeplus, Lotte Mart, NH Hanaro Mart, Costco), according to a report from the Korea Consumer Agency.
By Francine Jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)