Retail in Asia

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From TV to online and offline, Korean retailers go beyond boundaries


South Korean retailers are increasingly crossing boundaries between their commerce platforms from television to offline and online to attract more customers, market watchers said.

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Shinsegae TV Shopping Inc., the home shopping arm of retail giant Shinsegae, is set to open an offline shop for luxury goods sold through its program S-Style at the retailer’s mall in Paju, north of Seoul, on August 18.

The 159-square-meter store will mark the first case for a television-based commerce firm to open an offline mall, according to Shinsegae.

“We will provide a unique experience to our customers, freely crossing over the line between online and offline,” a company official said, adding the launch is aimed at communicating more closely with its customers.

Shinsegae is not the only retailer moving to break boundaries between its platforms.

Earlier onAugust 13, another major retailer, the Hyundai Home Shopping Network Co., opened an online mall named Hootd, gathering products from eight influencer brands. Their combined number of followers on social media amounts to 1.4 million, according to the company.

Launching the new service, Hyundai said it will actively collaborate with Hyundai Department Store to regularly open pop-up stores and use its TV channel to further raise the influencer brands’ profile.

Industry watchers say local retailers have been gradually expanding the collaboration of online and offline platforms to create synergy and make up for their respective shortcomings.

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“Despite efforts to overcome the limit of fully delivering product information, online platforms fall short of providing the same experience as offline malls,” said Kim Na-kyung a researcher at the LG Economic Research Institute.

“Especially to meet the needs of consumers who wish to check products’ traits that cannot be explained in numbers, such as texture and color, offline channels can be an effective complement.”