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Retailers lure customers with content

June 25,2018
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A scene from Lotte Shopping’s web drama “Secret Queen Makers,” which promotes Lotte Duty Free. [LOTTE SHOPPING]
Korean retailers are increasingly engaging in content creation, breaking the boundaries between media and commerce, as they seek ways to better interact with consumers, industry watchers said Sunday.

According to Lotte Shopping, the accumulated views of the web drama “Secret Queen Makers,” promoting its duty-free store Lotte Duty Free, have surpassed 100 million views as of Thursday, with 75 million views coming from China alone.

The seven-episode drama, released on June 4, features Korean celebrities - including actor Lee Joon-gi, 2PM’s Chansung, Super Junior’s Lee Teuk, singer Hwang Chi-yeul, EXO’s Chanyeol and Sehun, as well as Go Won-hee, who plays the female lead - with subtitles provided in English, Chinese and Japanese.

“We will continue to make cultural, tourism content to attract more foreigners to Korea,” said Kim Bo-joon, the head of Lotte Duty Free’s marketing division.

Food and entertainment conglomerate CJ is another company at the forefront of carrying out aggressive content marketing, instead of relying on conventional methods of advertising.

CJ O Shopping, the home shopping subsidiary of the business group, has been working with celebrities and social media influencers to create content in the format of comedies or talk shows.

The announcement by CJ in January to merge its entertainment unit CJ E&M and the home shopping subsidiary to launch CJ ENM - which stands for entertainment and merchandising - was a landmark move that highlighted where the country’s retail industry is heading, observers said.

In line with the planned launch of CJ ENM next month, the company said it will establish Asia’s largest video commerce content production center in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The content will be distributed through CJ’s social media channels, which already have a strong fan base in Southeast Asia.

In revving up their efforts to engage more with their consumers, retailers are increasingly collaborating with social media influencers compared to the past when they often resorted to top-tier celebrities.

Lotte Home Shopping, for one, invited YouTube creator Edmmer, who is famous for “meokbang” - where hosts broadcast themselves eating food, often in large amounts, while interacting with viewers online - to its studio to sell food products as part of its World Cup marketing.

Experts say the impact of influencers is expected to grow down the road, as the use of smartphones and other means of online communication have fully caught on with local consumers. Yonhap