If you’re living in Korea and haven’t ordered done any online shopping yet then you’re missing out on a big part of the convenience of living here!
We understand though, since most Korean online shopping sites are only in Korean, it can be quite intimidating.
With this guide we’ll show you how to order from one of the largest sites in Korea — Gmarket. With this knowledge in hand your life in Korea will get a whole lot more convenient.
All set? Let’s get started!
Online Shopping in Korea
Online shopping is getting more and more popular all over the world. This is especially true in Korea where many do most of their shopping from the comfort of their homes so they can spend more time having fun in Seoul or fun in other parts of Korea.
Because Korea has great infrastructure, a lot of their delivery systems are extremely dialed in. Sometimes you can get delivery the very next day by 7 am. It depends on where you order from, and what kind of delivery.
Gmarket is one of the largest online shopping malls, and they ship worldwide, so we’ll cover it in this article.
What is Gmarket?
Gmarket is the leading shopping mall website in Korea. Almost anything you can think of—appliances, food, furniture, car accessories, cosmetics, and clothing—can be ordered through Gmarket. There are Korean, English, and Chinese versions of the site, and products can be shipped all around the world. Gmarket was acquired by eBay in 2009.
Gmarket’s Korean site is geared toward Koreans ordering within Korea. It’s the main site, and generally has the best selection and pricing. If you are able to search in Korean on this version of the site, you’ll be able to find the largest number of items. This site does not accept foreign credit cards as payment.
Gmarket’s global sites are in both English and Chinese. Products can be shipped worldwide to over 80 countries.
Shipping will vary based on weight and the area that the product is being shipped to. Searching on the global sites might not bring up as many results as the Korean version, so it’s good to search in Korean on the Korean site first and then order that item from one of the global sites.
Do I Need to Know Korean?
Short answer: You do not need to know Korean to order from Gmarket. It has an English site that doesn’t require you to learn Korean.
Complete answer: Knowing Korean when ordering from Gmarket isn’t critical, but it makes a big difference. This is especially true if you live in Korea.
Here are the top five reasons why knowing Korean will make your Gmarket shopping life better:
- More search options
- Can instruct delivery person
- Read product descriptions
- Avoid having to ask for help
- Feel at home in Korea
Knowing Korean will allow you to search using Gmarket’s Korean site. This will give you more search results, and you can still use the English site to order them.
If you live in Korea, speaking at least basic Korean will help with deliveries. You will be able to instruct the delivery person what to do with your package. This is extremely helpful if you’re working during the day and there is nobody home to accept the package.
Most Gmarket product pages are written in Korean. Even if you search using the English site, the product descriptions are all in Korean. That means that if you are ordering a cell phone charger, you’ll need to be able to read the page to make sure it matches what kind of phone you have.
Also, the item selectors are usually in Korean as well. Are you ordering the entire cell phone charger, or just the USB portion? Or do you need a charging cradle as well? The English site is of little help if you can’t choose the item you want.
Many people dread asking for help from other Koreans all the time. It takes extra work and can become burdensome. As a result, they end up doing things on their own the hard way.
If you’ve ordered from Gmarket in Korea before, then you know how great life is once you get in the groove. You can eliminate having to go to the supermarket all together!
Most importantly, you can feel comfortable living in Korea. Knowing how to do basic things for yourself makes a huge difference. It makes Korea feel less like a foreign land and more like home.
To order in Korean knowledge of Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, is extremely helpful. If you don’t know it, you can learn the Korean alphabet in less than 90 minutes for free.
Ordering Like a Pro
One thing you may notice when ordering from Gmarket is that the search results can vary depending on which version of the site you use.
If you want to order like a pro on Gmarket, the best way to do it is to find the item on the Korean site first. That will give you the greatest number of search results.
You don’t need to know Korean to do it, but it helps!
The trick is to find out what the Korean vocabulary word is for the item you want. Let’s say you want to order a pair of bear socks. Everyone loves a nice pair of bear socks!
Head over to your favorite Korean dictionary and type in the word “socks”. You’ll see something like this:
Highlight and copy the word in Korean:
Then paste it into the search box in Gmarket.
Press the search button, and “voila!”, animal socks galore!
Note: It may be possible that the Korean word you found in the dictionary isn’t the word commonly used to search for your item. In that case, go back to the dictionary and try using a similar word and search again.
For those of you who love to use Gmarket to practice your Korean, you can move forward and place your order right here.
If you’re not confident about how to order in Korean, then you can simply save this to your “Wish List”. Follow these simple steps.
First, click on the item to see the product detail page.
Click on the button marked “관심상품” (gwansimsangpum | Wish List).
A drop down menu will appear. Click on “저장” (jeojang | save).
A message will appear confirming that it’s saved.
Now click on the English version of the site at the top of the page.
Next, click on “Wish List”.
Your animal socks are waiting at the top of your “Wish List” page!
From here, you can order from the English version of the website.
Using Foreign Credit Cards and Paypal
A common question that comes up is:
“Can I use a foreign credit card for Gmarket?”
The answer is “Yes!”
It’s not always that obvious for how to order, however. You must be on the global site in order to use a foreign credit card.
If you are on the Korean site, you cannot use a foreign credit card. Notice below that it gives you options for payments coming from Korea, such as a Korean credit card.
However, it is possible to find the same exact product and order it off of the global site. Below is the same product, except with more payment options. Foreign credit cards and Paypal are added to the list.
The challenge is that sometimes it’s hard to find the same product on the English site. The Korean site generally shows more options, especially if you do your search in Korean.
A workaround for this is to first find the item on the Korean site. Make sure you are logged into your account, and select the item you are looking for. At the top of the page below the picture of the item, you’ll see a button that says, “관심상품 (gwansimsangpum),” which means the items you’re interested in (“Wish List”). Click that button.
A menu will drop down, with the option to click “저장 (jeojang),” which means save. Click that button.
The item is now saved in your “Wish List”.
Now click on the English version of the site, and click on “Wish List” in the top right.
The first item on the list is what you just saved from the Korean site. Click on it, and now you can order the item from the English site. This will give you more payment options, including foreign credit cards and Paypal.
If you want to know how to read and express prices and item numbers in Korean, you’ll need to learn the Korean number systems. You can learn it here.
What do you think of Gmarket? Have you placed any orders from Korea recently? Let us know what your favorite items to shop online for are in the comments below!