SSG pulls Gmarket Global into its membership program

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SSG pulls Gmarket Global into its membership program

A promotional image for the Smile Club membership, offering discounts and free deliveries on, Gmarket and Auction. [SHINSEGAE GROUP]

A promotional image for the Smile Club membership, offering discounts and free deliveries on, Gmarket and Auction. [SHINSEGAE GROUP] is strengthening its partnership with Gmarket Global, after acquiring the company last year. 
Shinsegae Group announced Wednesday it will offer a paid membership program known as Smile Club starting May 12. Members will get discounts and free deliveries from and Gmarket Global, formerly known as eBay Korea, which runs the e-commerce services Gmarket and Auction. acquired Gmarket Global last June. 
The membership will offer free size upgrades twice a month for drinks sold at Starbucks, owned 67.5 percent by’s parent Emart. Exclusive Starbucks merchandise will be offered to Smile Club members.  
More benefits from Shinsegae Group companies will be offered members in the future to create a loyal customer base for Shinsegae.  
“Shinsegae Group has various offline channels such as department stores, discount stores, convenience stores, coffee shops and hotels, and combining them with its e-commerce services such as, W Concept and Gmarket Global’s e-commerce channels will allow it to offer a new and unique membership program,” said Park Sang-jun, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. “Most memberships that e-commerce companies offer are centered on online services such as free deliveries, online discounts and access to streaming services. Offering benefits from offline stores will be a strong point that can appeal to potential users.”  
Shinsegae's Emart owns 99.9 percent of Josun Hotels & Resorts, which runs the L'Escape Hotel. Emart wholly owns convenience store chain Emart24 and Emart stores.  
People can sign up for the Smile Club membership either on or Gmarket Global, but will get slightly different extra benefits.  
Users will pay 3,900 won ($3) a month when signing up through, and get an additional 10 percent discount coupon every month. Those who sign up through Gmarket Global's Gmarket and Auction will pay 30,000 won for an annual membership and receive 35,000 won in Smile Pay, loyalty points that can be used as a cash equivalent.  
E-commerce companies used to rely on commissions and advertising revenue, but have been offering paid memberships to enhance their profitability.
Coupang’s Wow membership program, providing free deliveries and access to its streaming service Coupang Play for 4,990 won a month, has been growing rapidly. The company started the program in 2019 and had over 9 million members as of last year, up 91.5 percent on year.  

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