South Korean startups that provide one-stop solutions for small businesses are flourishing as they position themselves as agents for one-person businesses and small enterprises rooted in social media channels.
According to data from the National Tax Service and other sources, the number of social media market operators that sell goods and earn through channels like blogs, online communities, and Instagram, increased to 8,423 in 2022 from 470 in 2019.
Industry estimates suggest the social media market is worth around 20 trillion won ($15.4 billion).
Amid the changing business landscape, startups that leverage digital, standardized systems to enhance operational efficiency are gaining attraction from small business owners.
Noteworthy in this emerging trend is Marpple Corp., which provides commerce solutions. The company operates Marpple, a goods production platform based on order-made printing, and Marpple Shop, a commerce platform used by creators.
For individuals and businesses seeking to produce and sell their creative products, Marpple handles everything from goods production and sales to delivery, as well as inventory management and customer services.
Business owners or creators only need to provide their intellectual property to the company.
According to Marpple Corp., the cumulative transactions of Marpple Shop reached 230,000 in the first half of this year, up by 230 percent compared to the same period last year.
Startups assisting in knowledge content businesses, including goods, lectures, and e-books, are also gaining attention.
Traditionally, creators conducting paid lectures had to juggle the tasks of providing information on their lectures and payment methods or channels, as well as confirmation of payment from students and course verification.
This resulted in burdens to make profits while giving them little time to focus on developing their content.
Recognizing such challenges, the startup Future Scole developed a software-as-a-service platform, LiveKlass, enabling anyone with knowledge, experience, and expertise to generate income through lectures.
Delicious, an advertising company launched in 2013, has digitized the fashion wholesale and retail transaction process, enabling product sales, payment, delivery, and all related processes to be conducted on a single platform.
In the past, retail sellers had to make physical visits to the Dongdaemun wholesale attire market to buy clothes for selling in their stores, going through the selection and negotiation process. With this digital service by Delicious, sellers with a strong social media presence no longer need to go through the physical effort of visiting wholesale markets and negotiating with the merchants there.
Instead, Delicious handles the entire sales process, from purchase and inspection to customer delivery and inventory management, once retail sellers make their choices based on photographs of products uploaded by wholesalers.
According to Delicious, 76 percent of shopping mall operators within the top 500 businesses engaged in business-to-consumer fashion are confirmed users of their platform.
Startups providing solutions specifically for startups in need of attracting investors are also gaining attention.
Companies like Mira Partners and Hyphen Co. offer services that help reduce labor and fixed costs for companies, allowing them to focus on core business activities.
By Lee Sae-bom, Kim Si-gyun, and Chang Iou-chung
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]