4 Korean e-commerce startups known for their personalized recommendations

Recently, commercial services in the form of personalized recommendations or “curation” have been getting a lot of attention, through startups and open market platforms. In the early days of online distribution, prices were an important factor for customers deciding whether to shop online or offline. However, recent trends point to ‘reasonable consumption’ as an important criterion for customers.

Decreasing the time required to search and compare among a wide range of of products has now become critical for customers. Personalized recommendations win customers with a higher level of satisfaction and trust by offering reliable and quality products at reasonable prices.

In this story, we would like to introduce four different e-commerce aggregators that value consumers’ convenience, such as a service that sells high-quality ingredients at reasonable prices, a service that regularly delivers flowers for the season, and a service that suggests enjoyable hobbies.

■ ‘Market Kurly’ offers healthy food curated by a professional MD at reasonable prices.

It’s more common and easier for people to purchase food online, but we always have to worry about the reliability and safety of the food. What if there was a food curation service which suggested high-quality food for our family, and also fixed our eating habits to become healthier?

Market Kurly is a mobile store that sells organic food, fresh food, and overseas groceries that local consumers cannot easily buy. The difference between Market Kurly and other online or mobile markets is that the former gives personalized recommendations from professional MDs.

Unlike the ‘channel-through’ method that sells products through hundreds of different channels, this ‘merchandise’ curation service provides products by having the professional MDs and the product committee thoroughly inspect 70 strict standards that they have set, such as raw materials, ingredients, and manufacturing facilities.

Only products that have passed these standards are selected and sold. Directly purchasing products from suppliers reduces suppliers’ inventory burden, which also makes it possible to introduce and sell high-quality products to customers at a more reasonable price. In addition, they also curate different ways to enjoy good food, such as recipes, and provide food-related content that are customized for customers’ culinary lifestyle.

■ ‘Kukka’, brings you flowers daily at a reasonable price

Everyone understands how a small bunch of flowers can turn a normal day to a special day. Even if it is not your birthday or any other special occasion, there is a service that delivers flowers at a reasonable price so people can enjoy them in their everyday lives.

Kukka has amassed over 40,000 subscribers since its inception about 3 years ago. Kukka is a flower subscription e-commerce startup that delivers a flower bouquet every two weeks. The bouquet is designed by professional florists and composed of fresh flowers for that season.

Flowers sold in flower shops are curated at a basic level but at a high price. Kukka deals directly with flower merchants and their internal florist designs bouquets, each of which range from USD 10 to USD 30, and which are delivered 2 to 4 times per month.

Thanks to the popularity that Kukka has gained as a flower brand, they have opened offline showrooms in Itaewon and Gwanghwamun. The Itaewon store operates under the ‘coffee and flower lab’ concept, and Gwanghwamun store is run with European traditional market style combined with French bakery so customers can enjoy flowers in their everyday lives.

■ ‘Hobby in the Box’ will find your hobby that you did not know about

Having launched its first service in October of last year, ‘Hobby in the Box’ is a service that regularly delivers products that can be enjoyed every month, through a subscription box.

For a certain price, professional curators will select a variety of activities that you can turn into your hobby. For instance, products that customers can try making themselves without any additional tools, such as DIY neon signs, natural leather pencil cases, and pinhole cameras.

They have been getting positive feedback from users for their meticulous product recommendations. Even similar types of products can be made differently depending on the customer, and they can go viral through SNS since users share their work on various channels.

■ ‘Pet Box’: a comprehensive pet care service tailored to the lifecycle of companion animals

If you are a PetFam, or a person who thinks your pet is part of your family, you will always be careful when choosing food, plates, toys, and other products for your pet.

‘Pet Box’ recommends suitable products for your pets through real-time consultations with a ‘Pet care life manager’. If you register information about your pets, they recommend products such as toys and food that are curated based on the pets’ life cycle and nutritional status.

It handles over 5,000 kinds of organic branded products for dogs and cats and reduces the price through direct dealings with suppliers. In addition, ‘Pet care life manager’ will directly talk to pet owners on a real-time basis, through instant messenger apps like KakaoTalk. If you apply for a regular subscription box, you can experience the latest pet products every month.

(Top photo from 58pic.com)

This article, entitled “4 Korean e-commerce startups known for their personalized recommendations”, was written in Korean by Minjung Kim of Platum, edited by AllTechAsia.

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