eBay uses delivery lockers in Korea, just one of the ways it acts more like Amazon there than in the US, though even here its eBay.com marketplace is transitioning to the Amazon model.
We’ve previously noted how eBay Korea offers its own goods for sale in addition to those from third-party sellers. In 2016, eBay Korea launched delivery lockers, and it also offers its own payment service.
This week, eBay published a post on its corporate blog where it shared some information on how its South Korean marketplace Gmarket attracts millennials. One is by exploiting a new trend in South Korea called “untact marketing” – where shoppers don’t wish to deal with sales people when shopping.
eBay is using “Smile Boxes” to capitalize on the trend. From its description of the service in 2016, it sounds similar to “Amazon Lockers” where customers go to pick up their order, opening a specific locker where their order has been placed for pickup.
The Smile Boxes debuted that year part of a deal with convenience store chain GS25. According to an article in Korea Times at the time, customers are able to use Smile Boxes to drop off returns as well.
Last month, Korea Times reported that eBay Korea entered into a partnership with GS Supermarkets to allow customers to pay in stores using eBay Korea’s SmilePay system. “The QR code-based system allows customers to pay and receive discounts and membership points with a single scan,” the newspaper wrote.
SmilePay was launched in 2014 and has been providing the service mainly on eBay Korea’s e-commerce platforms Auction and Gmarket, according to theinvestor.co.kr:
“In 2016, the e-commerce firm partnered with Korean food distributor SPC Group and started providing offline e-payment service through SmilePay at over 6,000 brand stores such as Paris Croissant and Baskin Robbins. The payment system’s accumulated turnover reached over 1 trillion won (US$896.13 million) last year. Through the partnership with the IT solutions unit of LG Group, the US-based firm plans to further expand its presence in both online and offline e-payment markets.”
In its blog post this week, eBay said its Korean unit is making use of various marketing and communications strategies targeting and catering to the needs of millennials in their 20s and 30s, including the use of video.
While there’s been no announcement about eBay offering its own products for sale on its US marketplace as it does in Korea, eBay has been surveying sellers about a fulfillment service it’s considering offering that would be similar to Amazon FBA. And of course it’s moving toward accepting payments directly from shoppers.