Grip, a trailblazer in South Korea’s live commerce industry, offers a platform where vendors sell products to viewers via livestream. Grip’s creative, catchy content is the backbone of its unique community culture, which has become a hit among next-generation shoppers — millennials and Gen Zers alike. The app has been downloaded over 1.7 million times, boasting over 12,000 sellers on its platform. As of December 2020, the company has logged a cumulative transaction amount of 24 billion won ($21.5 million).
Published: Apr 19, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)
Last updated: Apr 30, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)
Grip: Envisioning a borderless live platform for sellers and buyers worldwide
How a video call led to South Korea's first live commerce app
“Hanna, look at this! Amazing right? It’s a whole new experience eating it here, where it comes from.”
This conversation took place in the summer of 2017, when Hanna Kim received a video call that would change her life. Kim’s friend was visiting Hoengseong, Gangwon-do, a region famous for South Korean beef, or Hanwoo, when she called Kim to show her the savory meat sizzling on the grill live through the video call.
“We hung up, but that image of Hanwoo stayed in my head for hours. I eventually decided to order it and searched for the restaurant, but it wasn’t easy and my friend had already left Hoengseong,” Kim recalled.
After spending hours looking at maps online, Kim finally found the restaurant and called to place an order for meat delivery. In the midst of it all, she kept thinking to herself: Why am I putting myself through this?
The answer was actually very clear. The video call triggered in Kim the desire to buy the Hanwoo, while also providing credibility and context. It suddenly occurred to her that if a convenient payment tool were added to the equation, it would be a great shopping platform. This was the moment that Kim came up with her live commerce business idea.
One year later, Kim formally established Grip in July 2018 and launched the service in February 2019 -- introducing South Korea’s first live commerce platform.
On Grip, people sell products via livestream. Some say that it’s basically transferring TV home shopping to a mobile platform, but that’s not what Kim thinks.
“Considering that it’s interactive communication between the seller and the user, it might be similar to adding a shopping feature to a video chat or spicing up a livestream by combining shopping with entertainment,” said Kim.
“It could even be considered educational content that delivers practical information. It’s definitely a new genre in e-commerce.”
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By By Min-ki Koo; edited by Danbee Lee