Korean-owned retailers are now centralized through online sales, as many are strictly focusing on digital strategies to grow their revenues.
Olympic Golf, a sporting goods retailer in Los Angeles Koreatown, is one of the prime examples of a business that went through a successful transition into a legitimate online store, as it is raking in approximately $500,000 a month through online sales.
The customer base of Olympic Golf’s online platform is not limited to Koreans and Korean-Americans, as a large portion of orders on its website is placed by non-Korean golfers. Olympic Golf president David Noh attributes his persistent effort to grow online sales as the primary reason behind his thriving e-commerce strategies.
“Orders from out of state come in a large volume,” said Noh. “I made the website 10 years ago, but it took a long time before online sales stabilized. Handling orders, as well as return and exchange policies, have to be stabilized for online sales to be successful.”
Housewares brand Roland Products, founded 30 years ago, is also another suitable example of a traditional retailer with a successful online business. Since launching its online shop, Roland Products focused on running the website in English to attract a broader customer base.
“Our online sales began two years ago,” said Roland’s internet marketing manager. “We’ve been using Instagram and Facebook to persistently establish our online presence. Our online sales rate is still not as great as our offline sales, but I would say that it has definitely been stabilized now.”
Cosmetics retailer Mizon (mizonworld.com) is one of few U.S.-based online businesses that offer services in Korean. Launched in 2013, Mizon has been expanding its products over the years. After being introduced on mainstream retailers, including Amazon, Target and Urban Outfitters, Mizon has even built a solid base of non-Korean customers.
Experts say that persistent investment of time and money, as well as meticulous digital strategies, are required to build a stable source of revenue through online sales. That is an alarming reminder to many Korean-American businesses, many of which still lag behind in establishing an online presence.
“Korean-American businesses have reached a time in which they can start to leverage the potential of online sales,” said one Korean-American online marketing expert. “Korean businesses are rising in popularity not among their own people, but also among non-Koreans in recent years.”
Another online shopping mall developer explained that it normally takes at least six to 10 months before an online business becomes stabilized.
By Brian Choi