Our purpose in this blog is to encourage you to read. In this post, we will discuss e-commerce. E-commerce is getting big, in 2017 the sales on e-commerce were at $2.3 trillion, in 2018 that number was at 2.8 trillion and it is expected to be at 4.9 trillion by 2021. Currently, China is the largest e-commerce market with sales of $740 billion in 2019, the US is at $561 billion, the UK at $93 billion and South Korea at $69 billion. You may have heard of e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Shopify, BigCommerce, but South Korea has its own online retail space called Coupang, founded by Mr. Bom Kim. Coupang managed to do $4 Billion in sales revenue in 2018.
Mr. Kim is the current CEO of Coupang. He was born in Seoul, Korea, he left his birthplace at the age of 7. And later he attended Harvard Business School but dropped out after the first year. The countries second youngest billionaire at 40, Mr. Kim, started off working for Boston Consulting Group. He then started his own magazine called 02138, which was later purchased by Atlantic Media. He then decided to return to his homeland and felt the absence of an online retailer. He envisioned an e-commerce model for South Korea where he wanted to create an experience for a customer where they would wonder, “How did I ever live without Coupang”.
“The shape of Coupang, the business model of Coupang, what Coupang looks like today, went through a lot of change,” said Kim. Change is necessary in business; you have to innovate continuously to serve your customer needs. You need to find ways for customers to order a product conveniently and deliver them quickly. Mr. Kim believes that continuous improvement is required to make the customer experience memorable.
Coupang was initially started as a Groupon-style website, after launching Mr. Kim and his team thought that the services and the experience they were providing customer was not to their satisfaction. So Mr. Kim decided to start over; this time reinventing Coupang for a customer to shop on their platform and received the order on their doorsteps. Sometimes in life, you have to start over again and build it from the ground up, so do not be afraid to start over.
Fight you Constraints:
Mr. Kim considers constraints to be a blessing because South Korea is highly dense, transportation goods have restrictions. The trucks have to be a certain size, which only allows a number of packages for the team to deliver. This was highly inefficient, so they decided to completely modify their delivery system, by redesigning their trucks and their packaging. The constraints forced them to find a solution and served their customers better. “What seemed like a curse at that time — that we had to build this entire infrastructure, and build the technology to integrate it all, end-to-end, by ourselves, from scratch — ended up becoming a huge blessing”.
Today Coupang operates as an online retailer with 2 million products delivered within 10-24 hours, with a lot more products delivered the next day. They have offices in Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Los Angeles, Seattle and Silicon Valley. The business was a success. Within three years from launching, Mr. Kim said the company crossed $1 billion in sales. With more than 5,000 drivers – known as Coupangmen, 10,000 employees, leadership such as Mr.Kim himself, Coupang is on the way to crack the online retailing in Asia
You can find out more about Coupang at:
Until next time Be Smart, Be Safe…