As the world adjusts to shopping online since COVID-19, South Koreans are already used to it. South Korea already ranked inside the top 3 for online shopping even before COVID-19. Now, South Korea ranks second behind China in terms of online consumption. It is estimated that a little over 50% of residents in Korea shop online. Ecommerce sites like Coupang and G-Market have seen a sharp increase in sales for groceries and other daily necessities (over 90%). Ecommerce companies in Korea are now working harder than ever o make the consumer shopping experience in Korea the best in the world. In order to achieve this, they will need to incorporate new technologies in the AI and IoT space.

Online Consumer Shopping Experience in Korea with AI

Consumer Experience in KoreaCan online shopping in South Korea get any better? The logistics are set up perfectly in Seoul. Consumers in Korea can place an order at night and see their delivery the very next morning. The future looks bright for many eCommerce companies and startups in Korea. More and more consumers are getting familiar with online shopping due to COVID-19. Even after the pandemic calms down, a vast majority of people in Korea will stick with shopping online. The number of Korean consumers shopping online has increased every single year. With new technologies like AI, consumers in Korea might not even have to order online.

Smart Kitchens with Smart Refrigerators

Samsung and LG are creating smart refrigerators for smart kitchens. Smart refrigerators are connected to the cloud. Therefore you can connect your smart refrigerator with your smartphone to see what you have inside. Samsung has created the Family Hub refrigerator comes with a large display screen that lets you search for recipes, watch tv, and even leave notes.

The goal is to incorporate AI technology into these smart kitchens. Think of smart kitchens where an AI will be able to stock your refrigerator itself. Big corporations like Samsung and LG are creating smart kitchens that will be able to order groceries for you. Whenever the consumer is running low on a particular item, the smart kitchen will place the order itself. An AI will make all the inventory decisions for your home.

Offline Consumer Shopping Experience in Korea with IoT

Many Koreans still shop offline. However many might have already noticed that more and more self-checkout cashier services are springing up in places like LotteMart, Homeplus, and Emart. Many of these chains are also incorporating their own eCommerce sites. With new technologies like IoT, grocery stores will be able to match smart kitchens with smart aisles, along with AI. They will use retail-specific data that can learn the behavior, patterns, and preferences of consumers. Therefore many grocery chains in Korea will have an accurate forecasting model that they can now use to make the best promotions for their consumers.

Scan and Go

Consumer Shopping Experience in KoreaImagine walking into a grocery store in Korea and just seeing wall-to-wall imagines of products. As a consumer, you will just need to scan each item and once you get home, it will be in front of your door. There will be no need to carry bags and bags of items and check out can be easy as pushing a button.

This is why big data is so crucial in the 5G era. However, the data from consumers needs to be processed quickly, efficiently, and in real-time. If done correctly, chains can turn data into real intelligence that they can use to personalize the consumer shopping experience in Korea. Koreans constantly get discounts and promotions via Kakao or SNS. Imagine if these promotions were tailored-made for you. Imagine getting a personalized discount that is crafted just for you while you are shopping at the store. Once you click on the discount, the app will tell you exactly where you can find the item in the store. All this has to happen in real-time which is why more and more companies in Korea are looking at AWS and cloud architects that understand AWS services.

The future of the grocery industry in Korea belongs to those organizations that can process data at the edge of your network. In that way, the concept of edge-to-edge intelligence is tailor-made for the grocery business. There are now AWS data centers in Korea which will allow for all this to be possible.

The Future of Shopping in Korea

COVID-19 has shut down many offline businesses in 2020 and many have even gone out of business in 2021. Existing brick-and-mortar stores are partnering with e-commerce players like Coupang and G-Market. Many e-commerce platforms in Korea have already cracked one of the hardest areas for online retail in Korea: fresh food. Korean grocery shoppers like to see, feel, and smell produce and fresh food before buying. This is impossible to do online. However, because many eCommerce sites in Korea offer next-day delivery, they are able to deliver fresh foods straight from grocery stores and high-end supermarkets.

Korean department stores will also start to see virtual shelves for items that are not in stock. Consumers can still select the product they want using the virtual shelves and their smartphones. Customizations can be done straight on the phone from the color, size, etc. Then they can select the time they want the item to be delivered to their home. Therefore there is no need to carry around your shopping items.

Online retailers in Korea have been making big investments in delivery infrastructure and e-payments. However, there is still a lot of room for growth. The future of eCommerce in Korea moving forward will be to target rural, inland regions where there is still a lot of room for growth.