July 12, 2018 11:29
Amazon has started to offer free delivery in Korea for purchases over US$90, sending customers rushing to the giant online retailer.
Sales surged when the free shipping started on July 5. Amazon purchases using Shinhan Card surged 56 percent on July 5-6 from July 1-4. Purchases with KB Kookmin Card also jumped 65 percent.
Delighted customers here have been posting photos of their purchases on social media, mostly large ones like toys, suitcases and expensive camping products, which they could not afford before due to the excessive shipping costs.
One 40-year-old office worker said, "Until now, deliveries of suitcases priced over $100 cost $200 to deliver, but now we no longer have to pay that."
Credit-card purchases must be done in U.S. dollars to avoid double conversion fees.
AliExpress from China and the U.K.'s Book Depository offer free deliveries to Korea even for small items that cost as little as a few dollars.
Amazon has been widely expected to open an office in Korea, but no concrete steps have been taken so far. Some industry watchers say the free shipping may be the first step in that direction.
The move has been bad news for proxy companies that used to charge for bundling Amazon purchases by Korean customers to save them delivery fees. But one industry insider said, "Free shipping applies only to products sold by Amazon directly but not those of third-party vendors, so the impact won't be that severe."
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