The Blogger

Friday, November 30, 2012

Shopping Online/in Store for the Kpop Fan

This post is quite overdue, since i'm an incredibly lazy blogger... Which I apologize for. Before I begin writing about my lengthy month and half trip in Hong Kong and the events there I'll talk about shopping online specifically the sites(or places) I've bought from and what I have bought related to kpop merchandise.

I'll also give some tips on shopping online and where is best to buy(based on my own experience of course!) And no I am not sponsored in any way by these companies, if i ever do get sponsored I will put a disclaimer.

A quick summary of the site/place ordered from will be given and a score as well. Each will be given a score out of 5 from the following: service, delivery time, cost and overall comments & ratings.

G-Market is a korea based site, similar to Ebay but the Korean version of it. There are many sellers on the site each with their own "shops" and listings. Provided if you live in Korea you can directly have items shipped from the seller to you, but there are many overseas buyers and G-Market deals mainly with these customers. They have a warehouse where sellers ship the items to and package it together, weigh and EMS out to almost anywhere worldwide.
★★★★☆ 4/5
Most sellers do not speak English so G-Market does provide online chat service for translations and have a way of contacting them directly with other questions. Most were prompt and tried their best to answer my questions in English. G-Market usually has good service although I do know many people have encountered problems with unresolved issues. However, that is a minority and I have yet to encounter problems with ordering.
Delivery Time
★★★★☆ 4/5
Because G-Market does not deal directly with sellers, you must inquire sellers if your item has not been shipped to the warehouse yet. 90% of sellers are quick and efficient with shipping but there is a small percent that take FOREVER to ship. I only encounter this problem when I buy clothes but KPOP merchandise I buy usually from Synnara or Hot Tracks any official seller and don't encounter problems.
★★★☆☆ 3.5/5
(Because I don't have a half star...) Cost varies with G-Market. Because they use EMS shipping it arrives much faster but it also costs a lot more. Shipping costs are also dependent by country and determined by weight. I mainly ship to Hong Kong in bulk order because my parents travel back often and can pick it up, and the shipping is half of what it is to Canada. If you plan to buy from G-Market make it a bulk order to save on costs.
★★★★☆ 4/5
I am content with G-Market and I do know for sure when I buy my kpop products off Synnara it counts toward Hanteo Charts. The costs vary and shipping is sometimes pricey but if you feel the need to be reassured that your purchase counts, g-market is definitely a go to place for your merchandise.

Kpop Town
Kpop Town is your typical foreign korean online site. By foreign I mean they cater to overseas shoppers. They also are located in Korea and state they count towards Hanteo Charts but that isn't 100% confirmed. They sell CDS, DVDS, kpop Merchandise Official and Unofficial, Kpop star clothes(Pancoat...), a limited selection of korean skincare products and have recently expanded to circle lenses and food products.
★★★★★ 5/5
No complaints, they notify you when they ship and everything goes smoothly. There is seldom need to contact them directly(from my experience)/
Delivery Time
★★★★☆ 4/5
You have options for shipping and thats the regular standard mail or the Priority mail, each have different costs because of their speed. Usually I pick standard mail and it gets to Canada within 1 month.
★★★★☆ 4/5
For people only purchasing a cd or one item, this is probably most cost efficient because shipping is also calculated by weight. Usually a CD for me costs about 5$ shipping regular mail. They also have a loyalty points system which you can exchange the points for a credit to use for your purchase. (But systems like this always keep you coming back to buy more to use your points)
★★★★☆ 4/5
Kpop Town is a site I mainly use because the shipping is cheaper than say a competing site like Kpop Mart even if Kpop Mart lists cheaper starting prices. This is probably one of the best places an overseas kpop fan can get their merchandise.

CD Japan
A site focused on J-pop, J-Rock, Anime, Manga, and certain Japanese branded clothes. Located in Japan as well and have been around for a very long time. There isn't much to say aside from the fact it caters to fans of Japanese culture. They're also a legitimate seller and have special gifts from time to time with purchases.
★★★★★ 5/5
I haven't had direct contact with the service but they have a well kept system and I have not run in to any problems for the most part. I ordered a set of 5 shirts in the past and got custom fees(which were like 20$ -_-) but that has nothing to do with the sites service.
Delivery Time
★★★★☆ 4/5
Delivery time is pretty accurate and they offer a variety of options from sea, to airmail and priority options. I used the cheapest option when I bought my CD and it arrived about the same estimated time as it stated it would.
★★★☆☆ 3/5
Because Yen is usually more costly when going through the exchange rates to my currency it is more pricey than buying in won. The only reason I purchased my CD from here was because I had a 300YEN coupon i have not used for the last 4 years and it had a very high chance of Sungkyu cards :D!
★★★★☆ 4/5
If you're going to order specific Japanese editions of your favourite kpop idols CDS it may be a good source especially seeing as it is an official seller (so for example when Infinite released She's Back JP they had all the sungkyu photocards). Otherwise they do have Kpop albums on there but I suggest not to buy unless you live in Japan.

Store Bought
Technically I can't give you a score for this but I have bought many of my albums in person at a physical store. But here I'll compile where I have bought these albums.
Bought in Pacific Mall's Broadcast
- you can find this store on the first floor by one of the entrances
☆Super Junior CDs(all three)
Bought at HMV
Bought in Korea
- I found music stores in malls like a mall Hyundai owned. You can find small music stores and official stores like Hot Tracks anywhere in Korea so search up the closest one if you ever visit (I visited in 2009)
☆2:00PM Time for Change - 2PM
☆Romeo - Shinee
☆The Secret Code - Tohoshinki
☆Keyword - Tohoshinki
☆Stand By U - Tohoshinki
☆The 3rd Asia Tour Concert Mirotic in Seoul - DBSK (CD and DVD)
☆All about DBSK Season 3
☆Cross & Change - F.T Island
Bought in Hong Kong
- In Mong Kok, Langham Place there is a store called CD warehouse(I think) at the very top of the building. Go up the longest escalator on the 8th floor(I think LOL) and you'll see it to your right!
☆Hands Up - 2PM

Ebay & others
This is for other sellers that do not have a specific shop. I bought my mirotic ver A from a seller on live journal(who i don't have any memory is) but my Infinite photo cards are from seller GrapeMusicCD and they have many kpop merchandise in stock all the time. the service is great and costs are an in-between(but if like when I bought my photo cards they were sold out elsewhere they seem to always have products in stock). I have only bought from them once so I can't give any clear feedback! However they have a feedback score of 99.9% so they're a trustworthy seller.

Sold by the Company
The last section is CDs i have bought that were directly from the company. And of course there is no way to score these with a rating but here are some tips on getting reasonably priced signed CDs!
☆Teen Top CDs were sold (every single album released) signed when they came to Toronto to perform. There were limited quantities and so everyone went crazy for them after the concert(luckily I got one haha) they sold for 20$ so see if they sell anything at KPOP events especially when the group actually comes.
☆B.A.P. No Mercy CDs were sold by TS Entertainment themselves for foreign fans. They had a very extensive list for locations they shipped to and I happened to be in Hong Kong at the time so I was able to buy all 5(the limit) I do intend to sell these later but only to those interested in paying more.(comes with the poster)
☆KPOP Mart does sell signed CDs and i believe they are legitimate. But they sell them most 90$< (the B.A.P goes for 95.90$ not including shipping) ☆SOOMPI Shop sells special autographed CDS in limited quantities and have a different artist every few weeks. These are definitely legitimate directly provided by the company. They also cost reasonably!
☆GURUPOP hosts a TON of events where you promote and get as many clicks to win special items and signed CDS/Items. There is no guarantee but it comes free if you do successfully win :)!

I hope this post helps you guys with where to get merchandise and the best places to get them!

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