eBay Korea puts 'Smile' on users faces with its services

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eBay Korea puts 'Smile' on users faces with its services

eBay Korea, which is currently up for sale, is improving its online shopping experience with its Smile services. [eBay Korea]

eBay Korea, which is currently up for sale, is improving its online shopping experience with its Smile services. [eBay Korea]

Competition for the acquisition of eBay Korea, one of the leading e-commerce retailers in Korea, is beginning to heat up as major retail and IT firms including Kakao and Shinsegae are stepping forward as potential bidders.
 
eBay Korea operates Gmarket, Auction and G9. The company has run a surplus for sixteen consecutive years since 2005, a first in the Korean e-commerce industry. eBay Korea saw total sales of some $1.39 billion last year, up 12.2 percent from the year before.
 
Coupang, the frontrunner in the industry, seems to have a long lead on eBay in terms of revenue, however, when considering that the enterprise value is evaluated with gross merchandize volume (GMV) rather than revenue in the e-commerce industry, the gap between the two considerably narrows. While Coupang’s GMV is presumed to be around 24 trillion won, eBay’s is about 20 trillion won.
 
That makes eBay one of the three companies with GMV of more than 20 trillion won, along with Naver Shopping and Coupang.
 
The growth driver of eBay Korea is the “Smile” series.
 
Smile Club is a membership-based service of eBay Korea. Subscribers of Smile Club can enjoy unique benefits with an annual membership fee of 30,000 won. Launched in 2017, Smile Club was the very first premium membership service in the Korean e-commerce industry. More than 2.7 million members are subscribed to the service as of last December.
In cooperation with Hyundai Card, eBay presented Smart Card, a private label credit card (PLCC), back in 2018. Smart Card is the first PLCC launched by an online market place provider and sparked the trend of PLCCs. A maximum of two percent of payments made through Smile Card can be redeemed as Smile Cash, which is e-money that can be used on the eBay Korea platform. The number of Smart Card holders exceeded one million as of the end of last year.
 
Smile Pay, the online payment system of eBay Korea, also has approximately 15 million users.
 
One of the most notable features of eBay Korea is its Smile Delivery service. While Coupang is strong in quantity in terms of distribution, eBay Korea aims for maximizing efficiency rather than spreading itself too thin with expansion. Instead, eBay Korea offers a wide range of fulfillment services similar to Amazon in the United States. Smile Delivery is one of a few distribution services run by e-commerce firms that are close to the break-even point.
 
“Nothing is decided at this point,” said an insider from the industry. “But it seems the distribution industry is facing yet another huge shift, as eBay Korea has a lot of potential.”
 
 
By Shin Ha-nee [shin.hanee@joongang.co.kr]
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