T-commerce, a combination of TV home shopping and electronic-commerce has become the latest buzzword in the Korean retail industry with the sector showing exponential growth in just few years.
T-commerce refers to a service that a TV viewer can search and buy an item the person sees on a TV program. For example, when a person sees a dress an actress is wearing in a TV show and wants to buy it, the person can search for the shopping details on the dress directly on TV and buy it using a remote controller.
According to Korea T-commerce association, transaction volume of the sector is estimated to reach 3 trillion won ($2.7 billion) by the end of this year, sharply up from mere 30 billion won in 2013. The number of TV channels offering T-commerce service also has doubled to 10 over the cited period.
Betting on T-commerce’s sharp growth, the country’s leading retail conglomerate Shinsegae Group launched Shinsegae TV Shopping three years ago. Now, its T-commerce unit has 6 million subscribers, up 40 percent from a year earlier and the viewer rating has jumped 60 percent over the same period.
K-Shopping, another leading T-commerce service operator, earned 107.5 billion won in revenue last year, topping the 100-billion won-mark for the first time ever. The company is moving aggressively to expand its T-commerce business by actively adopting the latest technology. It recently introduced a voice-activated payment service, through which a TV viewer can speak into a TV remote controller and make a purchase. It also offers a TV program that shows a 360-degree view of a product, upgraded from a flat 180-degree display.
Market experts forecast T-commerce to grow even quicker with its technical advantage of easy collection of customer data. Unlike conventional TV home shopping programs that work one way - from broadcaster to TV viewer, T-commerce platform, which runs on digital data platform, is capable of collecting data on customer behavior such as how long the TV viewer stays on a TV channel and searches for which product to buy. A t-commerce operator then uses collected data to offer better service.
By Lee Yoo-jin and Cho Jeehyun
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