This article reviews the Korean shopping website, Gmarket, and talks about what you can find there, how it ships your stuff, and how to get the best deal from this korean shopping website.
Gmarket is a Korean shopping website that lets you buy all sorts of Korean products from individual sellers or companies. In a sense, it's kind of like eBay because it's not a single person or company that's doing the selling, but a platform for all sorts of people to go on to sell their stuff. Gmarket is partially in English but some of the information is in Korean too.
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(price as of Oct 4, 2013)
What you can find on this Korean shopping website
Clothes, bags and shoes
Gmarket has plenty of clothes, bags and shoes for the fashionista. Items range from generic brands to individual designers with their own Gmarket shops.
The fashion on Gmarket are seasonal and changes when seaons in Korea change. If you're living in a country with seasons, that's great. For those who are living near the equator where the only season is summer, it can be hard to find clothes on Gmarket that you can wear when the season in Korea changes and sellers switch to cold-weather clothes.
Gmarket is the best place for cute Korean stationery. Retail stores like ArtBox sell Korean stationery at such ridiculously high prices when you compare what you can get from Gmarket. Below are some stickers I've bought from Gmarket. In case they weren't cute enough, I got my dwarf hamster to sit there for a bit (It took a lot of sunflower seeds to convince him).Credit: iamsy
My favorite cute Korean stationery sellers on Gmarket are soboro and Hidel. You can find their shops by searching their names on Gmarket.
Korean cosmetics and skin care
Gmarket offers plenty of Korean cosmetics and skin care at cheaper than retail. While I have nothing against buying stuff from China (in fact, I regularly do it), you should always buy Korean cosmetics from Korean web sites like Gmarket because the Chinese versions are usually fake. Gmarket carries plenty of Korean cosmetic and skincare brands such as Skinfood, Etude House, Skin79, and Dermal. Here are some masks I got from Gmarket, the price of these is half of usually what I have to pay in shopping malls.
Sellers frequently give free gifts too. These are some I received from the cosmetics and skin care seller appleseed
Other stuff sold on Gmarket
Besides the abovementioned, Gmarket also carries plenty of Korean snacks, books, K-pop items and more.
How does Gmarket ship your stuff?
Items are shipped by individual sellers to Gmarket's warehouse for consolidation. This can take a while if you bought from many different sellers. Once your items are consolidated, it takes Gmarket a short time to send them to you.
Gmarket ships worldwide to more than fifty countries, including the United States. Their shipping is normally done with EMS but once in a while, they offer other shipping providers at slightly lower prices. However, I've found that these untested shipping companies sometimes don't handle packages well. If you want to ensure your package reaches you safely, I recommend sticking to EMS.
Shipping rates are pretty reasonable considering it takes only a few days after Gmarket consolidates your package for it to reach your country. Rates are different for each country so you'll have to check Gmarket's shipping info page but in general, the more you buy, the lower amount per weight unit you pay. You can consolidate orders up to 30kg of goods. I like to wait till I have lots of stuff I want from Gmarket before making a huge purchase to save on shipping. It is important to note that Gmarket does not include any customs, duties, or taxes. You'll need to find out whether you have to pay these for your country. For example, Singapore imposes a 7% tax on packages that are S$400 and above.
Shipping is prepaid by estimating the weight of the items. If there is excess, the money will be refunded to your Gaccount and can be used for your next purchase.
Coupons, promotions, events and VIP
Gmarket frequently holds events and gives out coupons so you can get stuff at an even better price. I subscribe to their newsletter and Facebook page so I get notified whenever there are new offers.
You can also win coupons and stamps by logging to Gmarket everyday. If you buy from Gmarket frequently, you get points that will upgrade your account to different grades. These grades entitle you to additional coupons and benefits. However, you will need to maintain an average number of points every month to retain your account privileges.
What are the payment methods used
Gmarket accepts payment by international credit cards, korean credit cards, PayPal, bank transfer, or the cash balance in your Gaccount. I prefer using PayPal for payment because you don't have to type in all the numbers.
My thoughts on Gmarket
I think Gmarket is a great place to buy from if you are looking for Korean products that are high quality but reasonably priced. This korean shopping website is definitely one of my favorites.
I like that you can get Korean products at cheap prices without having to go to Korea. There are lots of unique items that you can't find in other places, or if do find them, they are priced higher than what you can find in Gmarket.
What I don't like about Gmarket is that some listings are in Korean only or in English that is not very helpful. But then again the number of English listings are already enough for me to get what I want. You can also use Google Translate if there's something you really want but is in Korean. I've never actually tried it myself but a friend told me you could ask on Gmarket's facebook page if you are not sure. Sometimes, their customer service replies, other times other Gmarket users can help you with it.
My only bad experience with Gmarket was when a seller promised a free gift but did not send it even though the free gift looked like part of his item listing and was featured prominently. Since it was a "free gift", Gmarket couldn't do anything about it.
Other than that, shopping on Gmarket has been great and I've been able to get lots of good deals on Korean products such as clothes, cute stationery, and makeup.