Shopping agents see spike

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Shopping agents see spike

The same coat that would have set you back 580,000 won ($516.43) last month can now be had for much less, though you’ll have to look outside Korea’s borders to get this deal.

It’s the magic of overseas shopping - aided by a growing number of so-called overseas shopping agents.

These Web sites, which started to sprout up in the early 2000s, are helping Koreans buy products sold at Internet shopping sites operated outside of the country by handling everything from payment to delivery.

In exchange, these agents get handling fees on top of the price for the goods and delivery.

Such overseas shopping agents, popular among young Korean women hoping to buy products at the Web sites of famous U.S. fashion brands or department stores, saw their once-massive popularity plummet in late 2008 when the Korean won dramatically weakened against U.S. dollar, which made the products more expensive.

But things are changing now as the Korean won strengthens against the greenback and a growing number of shopping sites in the United States roll out more products at cheaper prices during post-Christmas clearance sales.

Plein, an overseas shopping agent operated by GS Shop, an online retail subsidiary of GS Group, is seeing its business suddenly boom again.

“For products brought in from overseas, the changing won-dollar rate is reflected into the sales price immediately,” said Kim Joo-young, public relations manager at Plein.

The agent’s sales for the past two weeks have soared about 15 percent compared to a month ago, something the company has not seen for a long time because of the won’s weakness against the greenback.

“We see more customers coming back to us when the won fares well against dollar,” Kim said.

Auction (www.auction.co.kr), an online auction and shopping Web site, also said sales via overseas shopping agents operating within the site have jumped about 40 percent over the past month.

The site said that massive clearance sales offered at major retailers in the U.S., which are aimed at clearing out inventories left over from the holidays, are also contributing to the trend. Internet-savvy customers can get some products for about 30 percent to 70 percent of their normal prices.

A small Marc by Marc Jacobs tote purse, a secondary line of luxury brand Marc Jacobs, can be had for 59,800 won, about 60 percent lower than the initial sale price of 146,600 won.

A DKNY wool blend coat costs 159,000 won, about 70 percent lower than its initial price of 363,900 won, more than making up for any agent fees and delivery costs.

“Customers are feeling that they are getting far bigger bargain opportunities than before,” said Lee Seong-joon, fashion department director at D&Shop.


By Kim Ki-whan [hawon@joongang.co.kr]
구제역 저지 ‘3㎞·3주·돼지’가 관건
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결제·배송·구매 대행해줘,외국 안 나가고 환율 차익, 반품·수리 어려운 건 단점



‘지난달 초에 샀으면 58만원. 이달 초엔 56만원’. 미국산 500달러짜리 코트를 샀을 때 얘기다. 한 달 전 달러당 1160원대였던 원화가치가 1120원대로 오르면서 생긴 변화다.

눈치 빠른 쇼핑족은 다르다. 환율에 민감하게 반응한다. 이들이 움직이기 시작했다. 해외상품 구매대행 인터넷 쇼핑몰이 인기를 끌고 있는 것이다. 이 사이트를 이용하면 국내에서 팔지 않는 해외 브랜드 제품을 살 수 있다. 수입품보다 저렴한 것도 장점이다.

인터넷 쇼핑몰 GS샵(www.gsshop.com)이 운영하는 ‘플레인’과 디앤샵의 ‘포보스’(www.fobos.co.kr)는 최근 2주간 매출이 한달 전 같은 기간보다 10~15% 올랐다. 옥션(www.auction.co.kr) 해외쇼핑 매출도 이 기간에 40% 성장했다. 플레인 김주영 대리는 “해외 상품은 달러에 대한 원화가치의 변동이 곧바로 가격에 반영된다”며 “요새처럼 원화가치가 강세일 때 해외상품 구매대행 쇼핑몰을 찾는 고객이 많다”고 말했다.

미국 현지 마감세일(Clearance Sale)이 겹친 것도 호재다. 이달은 크리스마스 세일 기간 동안 남은 재고를 방출하는 때다. 할인폭이 30~70%로 크다. GS샵은 ‘마크 바이 마크 제이콥스 샤이니 스몰 토트(14만6600원)’를 5만9800원에 약 60% 할인 판매한다. 포보스는 DKNY 울 블렌드 코트(36만3900원)를 약 60% 할인된 가격(15만9000원)에 내놨다. 디앤샵 이성준 패션팀장은 “환율 효과에다 세일까지 겹쳐 소비자가 느끼는 할인율이 커졌다”며 “최근 폭설·한파 때문에 부츠·방한 의류가 인기를 끌고 있다”고 말했다.

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