Don’t know Korean? No problem! Here’s our English Gmarket guide containing the best tips and tricks to getting the most out of your Gmarket shopping experience .
Let me start off by saying that I know shockingly little about Korea. In fact, my knowledge begins and ends with Annyeonghaseyo (I Googled this), Jjamppong (also Googled) and that ice cream song by Blackpink (heard whilst at the mall). However, like most times, FOMO got to me and I decided to take on this challenge to tackle Gmarket, aka Korea’s Taobao — and hopefully simplify the process of online shopping for fellow rookies like myself.
What Is Gmarket?
Gmarket is the go-to website in Korea for everything and anything you need — think silk masks, protein powders, coffee tables, beauty essentials, and probably even noise machines. Like Amazon or Taobao, there’s not just one retailer but a conglomerate of registered shops. While there is an English version of the site, most recommend that you find the item on the Korean site first before ordering it off of the English site. This will garner more search results on the Korean Gmarket site!
Two key reasons why you should shop on the Korean Gmarket site before ordering it off the English Gmarket site:
- The Korean Gmarket site doesn’t accept foreign credit cards as payment
- Global English site ships worldwide to over 80 countries (shipping cost will vary based on weight and the destination)
How To Shop On Gmarket If I Don’t Speak Korean?
Yes, I don’t speak Korean too. Herein lies the crux of the problem — the product descriptions, options and customer service help are, of course, all in Korean. Thankfully, through some research, I found the beta. To elaborate my point in the most fool-proof way possible, I’m going to order a camping mattress today and take you guys through it.
Buying On Gmarket: Case Study With Camping Mattress Purchase
Step 1: Translating the product name in English to Korean
Logically, the best way to do this would be to Google Translate each word so that I’ll get the specific Korean words to match my description of the item I want. My advice would be to check out how the English site words it in Korean (the product descriptions are still in Korean). This way you’ll be able to get the most benefit from your search results on the Korean site. Thus when searching for my camping mattress, I used the Korean characters for ‘mat’ instead.
In this instance, that would be:
camping = 캠핑
mattress = 매트
Step 2: Combine those characters on Gmarket’s search bar
And just like that, I got a whopping 96,532 search results.
Step 3: Find the product you want on the Korean site
Do note that some sellers on Gmarket sell fake products, so a quick scroll through the listing reviews will help ensure the item and seller are legitimate.
Keep your Google Translate app handy to check out reviews via their camera function:
- Using your Google Translate app, select the language you want to translate to English
- Tap on the camera function
- Point your camera at your screen where the reviews are located to read them in English
Step 4: Copy the Korean product title over to the English site
In my case, that was: 에어/낚시/등산/캠핑 프리미엄 황동자충 매트5T(2구)
Et voila — found it.
At this point, if you’re wondering (again) why in the world you’d have to go through so much effort when there’s an English version of the site, just remember that the Korean site doesn’t accept foreign credit cards as payment and the global site ships worldwide while the Korean site does not.
Step 5: Check out your Gmarket shopping cart!
To make the whole online shopping process a lot smoother, remember to register for an account before you check out. If not you’ll have to impatiently wait for a confirmation email to be sent, feel annoyed at having to sign in and search for items all over again. #Truestory
I opted for the cheapest method of shipping (SF Express, at ₩ 8570) but you’ll be glad to know that Singapore is applicable for all three methods — the other two being more express and premium methods i.e Gmarket Global Shipping (a delivery service provided by a partner company selected by Gmarket for optimised service) at ₩16, 950 and EMS (Speedpost Priority International) at ₩18,942. To save more $, make sure to check out in KRW.
Step 6: Waiting for delivery
It took around seven to eight days for the item to arrive. But it came in good condition! They even included three patches just in case you punctured the mattress while camping on uneven ground. Unwrapped, it came covered in plastic for extra protection. It didn’t smell like rubber or cheap plastic like anticipated. Rather, it felt clean and very professionally manufactured.
Slightly resembling a yoga mat, the rolled-up mattress came up with a dust cover as well as two elastic bands to keep the mattress rolled up (this will be useful in keeping the mat light and tight after pushing out the air during tear down).
I unscrewed the two capped air vaults and air was sucked in to inflate the mattress within 10 seconds. Just remember to screw back the caps once you’re satisfied with the inflation to seal in all that air! Oh, in case you were wondering, the mattress was a breeze to deflate, roll up and slot back into the dust bag — definitely under 10 seconds too.
Will I Buy From Gmarket Again?
Definitely. The affordable and quick shipping, as well as the quality of the product really impressed me as a first time Gmarket customer. If you’re willing to struggle a little with Google Translate and get over that language barrier, I’m pretty sure that you’ll find some gems here too! For now, I’m just psyched to take this baby out camping.
The next time you attempt to take a stab at Gmarket, or any online shopping really, remember to check out with your YouTrip card and pay in KRW to take advantage of sweet Wholesale Exchange Rates. Happy shopping!
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*All currency conversion rates are accurate to nearest 10 cents on 22 April 2021 SGT 16:00.