10 reasons why you need to prepare for an overseas shopping mall

by 300cbt Team

2018 marks almost 10 years since the launch of the eBay Korea CBT team in 2010, the expansion of Amazon Korea and other overseas marketplaces, and the beginning of Korean sellers' overseas expansion in earnest. Nowadays, information and know-how related to opening a store in overseas marketplaces can be easily accessed on the Internet, and each market is assigned a dedicated manager, making it easy to start overseas online sales with just an item.

​However, the reality is that selling overseas is not as easy as it sounds due to the concentration of items among Korean sellers, which has been a problem in the past, and price competition that is close to a game of chicken. The Amazon Marketplace, which many Korean sellers have recently entered, is the world's largest marketplace in name and reality. However, for some popular products, due to Amazon's policy of catalog classification and the exposure of seller listings by price according to that classification, Korean sellers price the same product. As competition intensifies, a group of so-called “feedback” items with little profit are being created.

I also had an item whose sales increased rapidly shortly after I started selling it overseas, and within a month after the holiday season, there were over 50 Korean sellers selling the same item. This can be seen as a phenomenon in which the market is large, but the seller's horizons are gradually narrowing. This problem has been discussed since the beginning of the marketplace, but due to the nature of online sales, price competition is inevitable, so it is not an issue that will be easily changed. Therefore, when selecting an item, it is most important not to select an item that sells well (a.k.a. a popular item that can be easily sourced), but to select an item that the seller can show affection for and a long-term vision for.

​If you operate in an overseas marketplace for more than a year, you will have established an item that suits you and you will want to use this item more effectively and in the long term. This is the time to prepare for an overseas shopping mall.

Things only overseas shopping malls can do

1. Freedom in selecting sales items and selling methods
In a marketplace, there are products that can and cannot be sold depending on the marketplace policies. In some categories, only certified sellers within the country can sell them (eg wine). However, in its own shopping mall, there are no restrictions on products sold, and the site itself sets its own terms and conditions (Terms & Conditions), shipping, and refund policies, so pre-order products, digital products, customized (bespoke) products, and orders are available. Any product you want to sell, including manufactured products, can be sold worldwide.


▲ A shopping mall that provides T-shirt printing services (in addition to own designs, customers can upload their own images to produce T-shirts)

2. Direct marketing (targeting) is possible
The most obvious advantage compared to marketplace sales is that external marketing is possible when you use a shopping mall because you create your own domain and a unique URL with that domain. Of course, customer-based marketing is possible. In addition to marketing through Facebook Shop, Pinterest Buyable Pins, and YouTube reviews using influencers using your own social channels, you can also promote your products by entering cashback sites or overseas price comparison sites that are essential for domestic direct buyers. Of course, operating Google AdWords and Google Shopping is a necessity, not an option.


▲ Shopify’s marketplace integration

Using Shopify, in addition to the marketplace in the image above, it is possible to link to external marketplaces (sales, inventory, etc.) such as Wish, Etsy, and eBay, and integrated management is also possible through a third-party app specialized in marketplace linkage.

3. Marketing possible by target country
eBay USA (ebay.com) and Amazon USA (amazon.com) sites are operated based in the United States, but are used by users from all over the world. If you sell on a marketplace for about a year, you will be able to see which country generates the most sales through country-specific sales data. Shopping malls have the advantage of being able to focus their marketing on that country. You can directly select delivery, payment, marketing, etc. that are specialized for your country.

​4. Utilization of wholesale function
If you sell on a marketplace in a field that has many people's needs, you will receive wholesale inquiries, even if it is in small quantities. Many wholesale inquiries like this are made on eBay, so the eBay system provides Wholesale Lot categories for each category. However, it is not activated and wholesale inquiries are often made using Contact Seller, eBay's messaging system. Shopping malls can actively manage wholesale orders by directly operating wholesale-related pages. Shopify's wholesale function is often operated by adding a wholesale function based on retail, and the wholesale function can be divided into some products, product quantities, customers (wholesale-only ID), etc.


▲ Shopify’s wholesale apps

5. Free design configuration possible
In the case of Amazon, there is no area for merchants to add designs except for the logo, and eBay provides the ability to add designs using HTML in the listing description. Korean sellers usually include information about delivery policy or delivery period as standard, but mid-sized and large sellers in Hong Kong, the US, and Europe with many product SKUs operate in the form of a shopping mall design through a third-party design tool. There are a lot.


▲ eBay template listing design company Frooition

For overseas shopping mall designs, you can set the design yourself by purchasing a theme rather than a monthly subscription from a design development company. You can purchase the theme and configure the design to fit your shopping mall.

​These themes are provided by overseas professional design agencies that lead trends. Template-type themes are in the form of templates so that they can be customized without knowing development languages ​​such as HTML, CSS, Java script, and Node JS, and a setting guide is provided. In addition, since it is made with Bootstrap , it provides a responsive template (automatically optimized for mobile and tablet), which is not provided by domestic shopping carts.


▲ Shopify themes available for purchase on Envato Market (themeforest.net)


▲ Big commerce themes available for purchase on Envato Market (themeforest.net)

6. Inducing repurchase and retargeting campaigns based on customer data


▲ A common daily conversation between “10,000,000 bags” and “I”

If you recently purchased something from Auction, Gmarket, Coupang, etc., do you remember the seller ID you purchased from? If you remember, the seller is either using an awesome nickname or you have a very good memory! If I like the product I purchased and search for it, but another seller is selling it for 5,000 won cheaper, should I still order from the seller I purchased it from? If the purchase had been made at a shopping mall, “10,000,000 bags” would have provided the brand name (model name) or URL of the shopping mall, and “I” would have been able to make the purchase directly through the link.

“There are regular customers at the online shopping mall as well.”

When I was running a game-related shopping mall in Korea, one of our VIPs made purchases worth more than 30 million won a year. On some days, he bought the same product again (in the case of games). When I called them (because I rarely work), there were cases where they said, "I had too many games and couldn't find where I put them, so I re-ordered them and just send them to me."

What if there were 100 VIP customers like this? If you target the entire world, what kind of sales can you generate if you only discover 5 people in each country? There may be differences depending on the item, but in the case of shopping malls, if you are satisfied with the product, repurchase is bound to occur. This is rare in marketplaces. In addition, there may be enthusiastic fans who go beyond repurchasing and post post-purchase reviews, user reviews, unboxing videos, etc. on blogs, YouTube, Reddit, etc., and even provide detailed purchase links. Of course, this can be handled by the shopping mall operator.

In Korea, customer management is common through SMS, KakaoTalk, etc., but email is the basic medium for acquisition (data) for overseas marketing.

When surfing overseas shopping malls, you may have seen a lot of pop-ups offering discount coupons when you enter your email address. In overseas countries, email collection is very important because it is the basic and first step of marketing. Accordingly, email marketing-related apps such as MailChimp and Just Uno are also being widely used. Management is as important as excavation. Email marketing apps can manage communication with customers more efficiently through automation functions.


▲ Email engage pop-up using justuno. Enter your email address and a discount coupon will be sent to your email address.

7. Utilize various marketing tools such as traffic analysis

Can I install Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel in overseas marketplaces?
- Questions posted in a cafe related to overseas sales

These programs are tools for sites (shopping malls) and, in principle, cannot be used in marketplaces that do not allow JavaScript. Analytics and Pixel are essential apps used in shopping malls and must be installed when running a shopping mall. These are representative indicators that can be obtained at shopping malls using the apps.

  • Which country is the customer from?
  • at what time
  • Using any device (PC, mobile, tablet, etc.)
  • What products on the site
  • How long did you look and purchase (Shopped) or immediately close the window and leave (Bounce)?
  • Data analysis, such as whether the purchase was completed (Order) or the purchase was abandoned (Abandon Cart)

▶ Using this data, you can set goals and set up advertising campaigns using AdWords.

To use analysis data more effectively, it is recommended to use site management tool apps provided by Google, such as Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Google Merchant, Google Shopping, and Google AdWords, in conjunction with each other.

search console

▲ Google Search Console (formerly: Webmaster Tools)

8. Reduce marketplace fees
I think this is something that marketplace sellers will most agree with. The average marketplace commission is around 12-15%, but if you use Amazon FBA, it is correct to set the actual commission at 20-30%, taking into account the return rate. Of course, this fee can be considered compensation for traffic. Banmyeong Shopping Mall has no fees other than payment fees and shopping mall operating costs. However, the fate of creating your own traffic awaits you. In order to generate traffic, advertising and social marketing are essential, and financial and human resources must be supported accordingly. It is no exaggeration to say that when you open a shopping mall, the success or failure of your business depends on whether or not you can generate your own traffic.

9. Fast settlement cycle
Cash floor is as important as sales in e-commerce. That is money management. A seller around me sold more than $200,000 per month on the marketplace, but there was a case where the flow of funds was blocked due to a settlement cycle that lasted more than a month, so the business stopped. However, payment through PayPal, which is commonly used in shopping malls, has the advantage that withdrawals can be made immediately without a settlement cycle, and credit card services on the site also allow buyers to settle within 3-4 business days after payment.

10. Easier environment for building overseas shopping malls
Until then, most of the shopping mall builders introduced in Korea were installation-type builders such as Magento, PrestaShop, and WordPress-WooCommerce. These installation-based tools were difficult for those who were starting an overseas shopping mall for the first time because the user had to manage the hosting themselves, and even if it was opened, it is true that technical management was not easy.

In the case of Magento, Magento-related maintenance and repair personnel (developers with extensive Magento operation experience) are absolutely necessary within the company, and in order to properly utilize the multi-store function, which is Magento's core strength, target marketing for each country is essential. I have seen countless unfortunate cases where the site was barely opened and was left unmanaged as a result of preparations for opening without preparation, and operations were halted due to domain expiration. Shopping mall operation is not the end, but rather the beginning, of opening a shopping mall. It can be said to be a process of creating direct traffic through advertising, promotion, and marketing, analyzing that traffic, and creating a virtuous cycle of repeated reinvestment. Using Shopify, a rental shopping card used by 600,000 sites around the world, you can build a shopping mall without specialized web knowledge.

This type of rental shopping card hosting does not need to worry about technical issues because the shopping card service itself is hosting, and the CDN (Contents Delivery Network) service provides a stable hosting environment no matter where in the world you are accessing, so shopping mall operators can do marketing. You can focus on selling and selling. In addition, we provide our own C/S (chat, email, phone) that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and our user forum is active, so we can easily resolve not only technical issues but also operational issues. 300CBT directly operates the Shopify shopping mall and provides Shopify construction services and training. Now it is possible to produce Shopify products in Korea without the inconvenience of using an overseas agency.

Shopping mall production? No! Establishment of multi-sales channels.
Recently, shopping mall tools are calling themselves e-commerce platforms rather than shopping mall tools. We provide a system that allows easy operation by linking with shopping malls, marketplaces, social channels, and Google services. This year, rather than being an “Ebay seller” or an “Amazon seller,” please consider building a professional “overseas shopping mall” that can grow your company’s brand and create a virtuous cycle structure.

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