I’d like to welcome Costco Korea to the online shopping world! You can now buy a wide range of products through the Costco.co.kr website right from the comfort of your own home. I have been wondering which Costco location would get online shopping next, and I have to say I’m not too surprised they picked Korea since they have such a strong presence there.
I have looked through the new Costco Korea online shopping site and have been impressed (and in some cases a bit jealous) with all of the products you can purchase through the new site. There are a number of Kirkland Signature items that I’ve never seen in the UK. In a lot of ways, it is very similar to the online sites for Costco US and Canada. Costco.co.kr uses the same basic layout as you’ll find at the other online shopping sites for Costco for the pages, including the product information pages. You can tell that they aren’t fully up to the level of products that they probably will get to eventually (like all new online shopping sites), but there are still a lot of things to buy online. Here are the shopping categories:
- Digital / Appliances
- Furniture / Home Decor
- Baby & Child / Toys / Christmas
- Sports / Fitness
- Garden / Patio
- Clothing / Fashion Accessories
- Jewelry / Watches / Accessories
- Beauty / Health
- Tools / Life / Car
- Stationery / Office
As with all of Costco’s online shopping sites, the homepage features certain products or deals and has a “Hot Buys” section too. There’s also a link to the Costco Korea Photo Center at the bottom of the homepage. That same footer area contains information about signing up for a membership and the Samsung affiliated Costco American Express credit card. The product detail pages have good sized images and full product specifications and information. They do not have the ability to leave a product review yet. I’m hoping this comes along soon, though I am still waiting for it to be added here in the UK too and they’ve been doing online shopping for quite a while now.
If you purchase something from Costco.co.kr and you find out it doesn’t quite live up to your expectations, the good thing is that you have two options on how to return it to Costco. You can either ship it back to them or you can just return it to your local Costco warehouse. This policy is similar to what you would get in the US or Canada. I wish that Costco.co.uk was as nice but here we don’t have the option to return things to the stores, and that has actually kept me from making purchases through their online store on several occasions. So I’m glad to see that they had the sense to implement the full (and correct) return policy from the beginning.
There are a few little tweaks that I think they need to make, though some of this could just be lost in translation when switching from Korean to English. It is really quite hard to find the latest coupon book now. The only link I could find initially to the coupons was by clicking on the link for Kirkland Signature in the footer area of the page. However, knowing that they are referred to as “Costco Events” I see that there is also a direct link in the footer area of the pages. I like how they have the link to the current coupons in the header of the page in the US and think that is probably the pattern that all of the other sites should follow. Coupons are so very popular with shoppers that you shouldn’t make them hunt around your site to find them.
The other thing that might need some work is the English translations. I’m not positive but it looks like they might be using Google Translate, or some other tool, to do this automatically, which is great for cutting down on a lot of people time, but does make for some very odd and (I’m presuming) incorrect translations. But then again, perhaps this isn’t a big issue for them, though I do know a lot of English-speaking expats are living in Korea and they love some Costco shopping too. Luckily all of the products have images so you can get beyond the strange translations without too much of an issue if you know what you are looking to buy. For the most part the search feature is okay but I know it isn’t finding everything when I do a search in English. And by the way, they are using US English spellings and not UK English, for instance “color” instead of “colour”. Here’s a translation that turned up on one of the hot buy items, a 30 piece set of Corel dinnerware:
- 3 does not go well with a glass broken teeth without compression bits of mozzarella.
- 3중 압축 비트렐 유리로 잘 깨지지 않고 이가 나가지 않습니다. (original text)
Yeah, I’ve got no idea what that is supposed to be saying but I’m pretty sure that translation isn’t spot on. That’s certainly one of the more garbled translations but there are plenty of others too. Clearly, this is a Google Translate problem and not directly a Costco issue but could impact the website shopping for expats. It would take a lot of people time to fix this because I think you would probably need to revert to human produced translations, unfortunately. The one thing I think they could fix though is that they use a lot of graphics with text on them and if they really want to have an English language version of the site, they should either avoid doing that or make sure that they have a translated version available that is shown to shoppers that select English as the language.
My last gripe is about an annoying message I keep getting on the homepage about updating to the latest version of my browser (Chrome) even though I have the latest version. This sounds like a bit of buggy code and is easy to get beyond, but still a bit annoying.
Okay, on to more fun stuff! One of the most expensive items I saw at the new Costco Korea online shopping site is, as you might expect, a big flashy diamond ring. They’ve got a 7.48 ct diamond ring in a platinum setting with a mammoth price of ₩235,900,000 (that’s $201,901 or £132,810). Not surprisingly, you can’t just pop that into your cart, along with some Kirkland Signature shampoo and a multi-pack of socks, so if you want this fancy ring for a special someone, you’ll have to call Costco Korea directly to actually purchase it. This one wasn’t the most expensive piece in the special order jewellery section though. That honor goes to a 78.19 ctw diamond necklace for a staggering ₩889,900,000 ($761,643 or £501,009)!! Wow, someone could have a very nice holiday season with that gift, huh?
Regardless if you are looking for something that pricey and fabulous or the more normal Costco type purchases, it is great that Costco Korea now offers you the convenient option of shopping online. As with all of the Costco online shopping sites, you’ve got to remember that you’ll find plenty of items online that you’d never see in the stores. Happy shopping!