LG U+ is making it easier to buy smartphones online

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LG U+ is making it easier to buy smartphones online

Models promote LG U+'s services at a press conference held in the company's headquarters in Yongsan District, central Seoul, Thursday [LG U+]

Models promote LG U+'s services at a press conference held in the company's headquarters in Yongsan District, central Seoul, Thursday [LG U+]

 
As the Covid-19 pandemic increases the growth of contactless services, LG U+ is adapting its online sales strategy to offer customers a way to shop for a new phone while minimizing human contact.
 
Despite the rapidly growing e-commerce market, sales of smartphones are overwhelmingly still done centered on brick-and-mortar stores. Shopping in store not only gives customers a chance to get to grips with the handsets, but also allows them to purchase phones via installment plans and with various discounts designed to lure in customers.

“At the moment, our official website generates 5 percent of our [smartphone] sales. If we add other digital channels like e-commerce or portal sites, the proportion of digital sales goes up to 10 percent,” said Kim Nam-su, vice president of LG U+’s digital business unit, in a press conference at the company’s headquarters in central Seoul on Thursday.

“The goal is to expand the proportion of online sales threefold in the next three years.”

However, online retail channels also have their limits when it comes to selling smartphones. Among the complaints LG identified in user surveys was that online stores lack discount opportunities and customers find it difficult to understand subscription plans and don't want to wait for days to receive the device.

To address those issues, LG U+ launched exclusive discounts with partners like Gmarket, simplified the product description box to half its original size, replaced difficult but widely used jargon in subscription plans and launched a quick delivery service that takes your new phone to your doorstep the very same day.

The mobile carrier also launched a “live commerce” feature twice a week, where LG U+ staff appear in a live-streamed video on its official website to introduce electronics products and answer questions in real-time. The first session, aired Thursday morning, attracted more than 25,000 viewers.

As part of measures to meet the contactless trend, LG U+ also announced plans to launch electronic kiosks that issue SIM cards. This will allow customers that purchase smartphones online without a connection to a mobile carrier to easily receive new SIM cards without talking to a store employee in person.
 
Research firm Strategy Analytics forecasts that the portion of smartphones purchased without a subscription plan in Korea would reach 10 percent of all handset sales for the first time this year.

“It’s true that the domestic market for such smartphones is not very active, but we’re seeing a gradual change and we’re spotting customer needs in that area as well. Kiosks will serve for that expanding trend,” said Park Jun-dong, vice president of the strategic channel group.


BY SONG KYOUNG-SON   [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]

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