Comparison of domestic and overseas e-commerce environments

by 300cbt Team

The reality of business in Korea is that if government officials do not understand or interpret the law accurately, it is considered illegal.

Positive regulation (Korea) vs. negative regulation (Anglo-American, China)

It is expected that the benefits and support from the government's startup development policy will continue this year, but discussions will likely continue regarding the elimination of regulations that determine the survival of a business. Of course, regulation is necessary. However, the reality is that there are many talented startups that cannot even start a business due to outdated regulations.

In the case of China, internet companies represented by BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) are expanding their reach around the world using the Chinese government's unlimited policy support as a stepping stone. In fact, simple payments using smartphones are already part of everyday life in China, and utility bill payments and administrative processing can all be handled within messengers. Regulatory policies are divided into positive and negative, and China's business model can be said to operate under negative regulations.

  • Definition of positive regulation: It refers to regulation that specifically lists what is permitted by law or policy and then prohibits everything else. The intensity of regulation is much stronger than the negative method, which allows everything unless it is prohibited by law or policy. In Korea, the positive regulation method is applied to most laws. For example, the Automobile Management Act categorizes automobiles into passenger cars, vans, trucks, special vehicles, and two-wheeled vehicles, and if they do not fall into one of these categories, they are considered not automobiles. For this reason, there was controversy in 2015 when the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport judged that electric vehicles that can accommodate one to two people do not belong to either passenger cars or two-wheeled vehicles. (Source: Hankyung Dictionary of Economic Terms)
  • Definition of negative regulation: The opposite of positive regulation, in which everything is permitted except for some prohibitions.

The Hey Dealer issue that occurred a few years ago (link to article:“Don’t enter our market!” Vested interests and the government and local governments colluding? ) clearly illustrates the problems with domestic positive regulation. This is noticeable in the financial sector represented by fintech. A representative example is Active On the other hand, there is a disadvantage that all of these procedures and requirements must be borne by the end user.

Fortunately, as of January 22, 2018, information has been announced to eliminate the obligation for public and financial institutions to use the public certificate system by abolishing the public certificate system, but it is expected that it will take a considerable amount of time for an alternative technology to become established. To be precise, it is abolishing mandatory use, not abolishing the use of ActiveX (exe).

What about internet banking at overseas banks? Chase Bank, widely used in the United States, only logs in with an ID and password when doing internet banking and does not use external security programs such as certificates even when sending money abroad.

Internet Explorer vs Google Chrome, Firefox

Ranking of overseas web browser usage: 1. (Overwhelmingly) Chrome, 2. Safari, 3. Firefox

​Like many people, I also do not use Explorer at all, except when accessing public institution sites or financial sites. However, there are times when you have to use Explorer in Korea. If you are targeting overseas, you must use Chrome or Firefox and create a site optimized for that web browser. In Korea, many agencies are still focused on creating sites optimized for Internet Explorer.


▲ Ranking of the fastest web browsers selected by overseas Internet experts

Web browser extensions

While Explorer is difficult to expand beyond functions supported or updated by MS, Chrome and Firefox can be configured with more diverse functions and an environment optimized for users through paid and free apps provided by 3rd party developers. For example, the Gmail service provided by Google allows you to manage your emails more efficiently through the Gmail management app. Overseas marketing service companies additionally support Chrome apps in addition to their own programs, so users can use the service more conveniently.


▲ Chrome Web Store extension


▲ Firefox add-on

Naver, Korea’s leading portal vs. Google, the global standard

Is Naver a search site? Could it be a portal site? The correct answer is both. Naver shows search results that give weight to its own services, such as its own shopping malls, blogs, and cafes, so that once you access it, you can finish surfing within Naver without leaving (or not leaving). It can be seen as a portal (70%) + search engine (30%) format.

​However, Google is a 100% search engine that ranks sites around the world and exposes them to web browsers through the Google search algorithm called PageRank. Since Google operates based on web standards, it is essential to create a site based on web standards in order to be exposed to Google. Additionally, the site can be measured through Analytics, Search Console, and Tag Manager, and information can be exchanged with Google servers.

Web standards and URL structure

Have you ever clicked on a page you searched for through a PC search bar and was redirected to a mobile page? This may happen if your page is not responsive. This is because domestic sites often create separate mobile pages, and web standards require responsive site design and composition. Overseas builders such as Shopify and WordPress do not require a separate mobile site because they are responsive by default.

Have you ever compared the URL structure of domestic sites with that of overseas sites? In most cases, domestic sites are built so that the URL structure cannot be changed, and the default for overseas sites is Friendly URL Structure, which can emphasize the keywords of the page. This is also essential for SEO.

Domestic Marketplace vs Overseas Marketplace

Korea's representative e-commerce marketplaces are led by the so-called three social companies, Coupang, WeMakePrice, and Timon, and the so-called open markets, Auction·Gmarket (eBay Korea), 11th Street, and Interpark. This marketplace can be said to have no interconnection between each market or 3rd party apps, except for the integrated listing management program. However, in the case of eBay, which is a representative overseas marketplace, there are numerous 3rd party apps that can be used within the eBay platform, which can be useful when selling on eBay.


▲ eBay App Center

[Useful eBay sales-related apps]

  • AfterShip : Free app that integrates shipping information to reduce shipping-related C/S (customer push mail function is paid)
  • Feedback Pro : Send feedback push email
  • Froo! Template Themes : Description page template theme provided
  • InkFrog : Integrated listing management program specialized for multi-country listings

Alternative eBay sites such as Bonanza provide the ability to import listings from eBay and Amazon. In the case of eBay, you can also import feedback, so if your eBay feedback is perfect, you can start selling on Bonanza with the seller's perfect score.

Domestic shopping cart hosting vs international shopping cart hosting

Domestic shopping cart hosting services, such as Cafe24, Makeshop, and NHN Godot Mall, are produced in each company's own programming language and do not disclose their source code, making 3rd party development impossible. Accordingly, if each company does not update the function, shopping mall operators have a passive structure in which they have no choice but to wait for the update. PG services are also occupied by companies such as Inicis (listed company), KCP (owned by NHN), LG CNS, and U+ (large company), and they have contracts with shopping cart hosting companies such as Cafe 24.

If you are using a shopping mall using one of the three hosting companies, you cannot receive a fee discount based on sales because the payment fee provided by the hosting company is fixed. However, since overseas shopping malls are exclusive contracts between the shopping mall operator (merchant) and the PG company, discounts based on sales are possible, and it is easy to change or add the PG company.

magento extension

▲ Magento extension marketplace

shopify apps

▲ Shopify App Store. More than 2,000 online shop-related apps are available.
paypal fee chart ▲ PayPal fee discount based on sales volume

Product description page composition

Product description pages used in Korea often use a single jpg file compiled from dozens of images. What you need to pay attention to here is the jpg file. Because web standard product descriptions (pages) are basically text, Google recognizes this product page as a page without product-related descriptions. Therefore, Google Shopping integration is not possible. When meeting with overseas companies, most people are surprised when they look at the product description pages of Korean shopping malls. How can you create a page like this? It can be said that product pages consisting only of images are blocking Korean shopping malls from advancing overseas.

​Also, Korea is probably the only country where there is a seller who goes overseas to take images of a sleeveless t-shirt priced at 12,000 won. This comes from a culture that values ​​the image the model presents rather than the product itself. The characteristic of Soho shopping malls in Korea is that they are all centered around models. On the other hand, overseas shopping malls often use product-centered images.


▲ Women’s clothing product description page with 50 product options (Source: Gmarket). I feel dizzy.

▲ Product description page of Wingsmall, a mid-sized domestic shopping mall, consisting of 50 images.

product image

In the case of open markets, the use of GIF images was banned a few years ago, but they are commonly used in fashion-related shopping malls. However, overseas, GIF images are generally not used in product images, and the background is white, or even if there is a model cut, the model's face is not exposed or only partially exposed so that focus can be focused on the product.

nordstrom description image ▲ Product description page of the Nordstrom online shopping mall, a representative American department store.

Although overseas e-commerce services are expanding their influence by targeting the entire world based on web standards, one cannot shake the impression that domestic services are confined to the small market of Korea. If you are targeting overseas, we recommend that you build a site using Shopify, a shopping mall builder based on web standards.

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