Smaller companies go mobile to boost sales

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Smaller companies go mobile to boost sales

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The owner of Daily Deli, who asked to be identified by her surname, Kim, sells precooked meals and side dishes. She has a store front in the new city Gwanggyo in Gyeonggi, but her real business takes place on a mobile messenger platform operated by Daum Kakao.

Kim sends messages to her customers about her menu of the day using the Yellow ID service, which allows the company’s Kakao Talk messenger app users to chat to businesses. Upon seeing Daily Deli’s menu via Yellow ID, Kim’s customers place orders and make requests for other dishes.

“Prior to using the mobile platform, we used to have a lot of late customers who had to leave empty-handed because we did not have enough left over. But since using Yellow ID, I can manage the daily supply better,” Kim said.

She added that friends listed on her Yellow ID have quadrupled since last September and that sales have also jumped significantly.

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In Busan, Little Market, a tiny clothing store, saw its sales top 100 million won ($90,368) in March within three months of using Naver’s mobile shopping mall platform, Shopwindow. Little Market’s 12,000 listed customers look at photos that the store uploads on the Shopwindow platform and place orders via “one-to-one shopping Talk,” a live-chat function.

“Sales have jumped four to five times since setting up our store with Shopwindow,” said Hwang Min-kyung, Little Market’s manager. “I can answer customer inquiries more speedily and price negotiations are done in same way as at our offline store. This has helped boost sales.”

The success seen by small shops like Daily Deli and Little Market has prompted many small and individual store operators to sign up for mobile business platforms such as Yellow ID and Shopwindow.

Small business operators that lack the resources to set up their own websites are embracing these services. At little to no cost, these platforms are very convenient, allowing business managers to engage in live chats with customers and negotiate prices very easily. And this has translated into higher sales, business owners say.

There are 100,000 active Daum Kakao Yellow ID accounts, as more small business owners are attracted by the fact that it is free of charge.

“We will merge [the paid, user based] Kakao Plus Friend with Yellow ID within the first half of this year and will add a payment system [for smooth sales transactions],” said a Daum Kakao official. “This is expected to increase the size of the business platforms’ playing field.”

Daum Kakao has already started the trial use of the Yellow ID Store with the live chat and payment system.

On the other hand, Shopwindow, which launched in December, lured a lot of users when a live-chat function was added shortly after its debut.

Around 400 “soho malls” run by small businesses and 540 individual department store brand shops have opened on the platform, selling items ranging from fashion accessories and home decorations to fresh produce.

A customer can chat in real time with a salesperson, negotiate prices and make payments in one go. According to Naver, around 12 percent of payments are made through the live chat at Shopwindow.

Amid its rising popularity, the brand shops at Hyundai Department Store’s main branch have also set up mobile stores on the platform as well.

Encouraged by Shopwindow’s success, Line, a mobile messenger operated by Naver, has also set up its own business platform, Line@, in Korea. Line@ has already been in active service in Japan since 2012 and has recently expanded to Korea and Taiwan. It is very similar to Daum Kakao’s Yellow ID.

Other Internet giants are paying attention to the mobile business platform. Facebook introduced the Messenger Platform and Businesses on Messenger as an extra feature in March.


BY PARK SU-RYON,PARK JUNG-YOUN [park.jungyoun@joongang.co.kr]

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