- Department Stores
Department stores carry a large assortment of goods, ranging from clothes to grocery, electronics and house appliances, cosmetics, jewelry and everyday household items. These establishments providing better facilities and services tend to be also more expensive than other retailers. They are, meanwhile, good sources of imported products such as imported clothes and food. It might be a good idea to wait for sales periods, several times a year usually, to take advantage of discounts.
EX) Lotte Department Store, Shinsegae Department Store, Hyundai Department Store, Galleria, etc.
These large retail establishments carry an extensive range of goods just like department stores, from grocery to clothes and everyday items. These stores, often deployed over a huge area, are not the best choice when you just need to purchase a couple of items. Goods sold in superstores are generally fine quality merchandises, and both facilities and services are decent; hence, many family shoppers during weekends.
EX) e-Mart, Lotte Mart, KimClub, Home Plus, Costco, etc.
※ Costco is a membership-based store and carries more imported products than other superstores, drawing many international shoppers.
- Traditional Markets
Traditional markets, a convenient source of grocery, clothes and other miscellaneous items, usually open outdoors, although this varies somewhat according to region. One advantage is that shoppers can casually browse through these outdoor stalls and negotiate the price with the seller, if they find something that tickles their fancy. Toward the market closing time, vendors tend to slash their prices to nearly a half, so ita good idea to take advantage of the discount.
- Convenience Stores
Convenience stores are open around-the-clock and carry simple grocery items and other basic items. Larger convenience stores may carry a bit more extensive assortment of products, but they are generally small enough for shoppers to easily find the items they need. But convenience stores, although great for quickly picking up a couple of items, are more expensive than supermarkets or traditional markets.
EX) GS25, Seven Eleven, Buy The Way, CU, etc.
- TV Home Shopping
Shopping by making a simple phone call to place an order on items you just saw on TV is indeed extremely convenient. Plus, the palette of products sold is huge as well, ranging from clothes to grocery, beauty supplies, electronics and even insurances. But, be wary of impulsive purchases, an undesirable tradeoff in this mode of shopping.
EX) Lotte Home Shopping, Hyundai Home Shopping, CJ O Shopping, NS Home Shopping, GS Shop, etc.
- Internet Shopping
The internet certainly is unbeatable as a retail channel, both in terms of ease of shopping and the variety of goods that may be purchased. Online shopping malls are either specialized in certain categories of products, such as food, clothes or books, or general stores carrying all manners of products just like a department store. But, the catch is that actual products you get can be quite different from what you saw on your computer monitor. Also, shoppers may not always feel safe about entering their financial information at a vendor website.
EX) Gmarket, 11 St., Interpark, Auction, Shinsegae Mall, Lotte Mall, etc.
※ Exchange or Refund
Make a habit of saving your receipts when purchasing a product. They are needed for returning a product for exchange or refund. Products can be returned for exchange or refund usually to the store from which you purchased them. To get an exchange or refund, products must be returned undamaged within 7 to 14 days from the date of purchase.
The rule is the same for products purchased online; they must be returned to the online vendor for exchange or refund. Meanwhile, the shopper sometimes has to pay for the cost of return shipping depending on the policy of individual online outlets.
If a vendor refuses to exchange or replace a product or issue a refund for it, or if you are a victim of other unfair business practices, you can seek help from the Korea Consumer Agency or by calling the ‘1372 Consumer Protection Center’ operated by the Fair Trade Commission.
- Korea Consumer Agency International Cooperation Team: 02-3460-3443
- Fair Trade Commission Consumer Protection Center: (without area codes) 1372