Musings of a Muse

A Blog of Musings from a Cosmetic Whore

Oct 14, 2008

The Muse's Honest Opinion About GMarket

I wanted to address G-Market today in a post since I get many, many, many e-mails asking me about it, have I ever used it, what's it like, how do I use it, etc....

Instead of the hassle of going through 200 or more e-mails on the topic I thought a post would be appropriate in answering the questions I get daily about it.

I've been collecting Korean Cosmetics for about a two years, possibly a year and a half, unsure exactly when I started. I get asked daily where I get my Korean makeup and the answer is I have a friend who lives in Seoul (the largest city and capital of South Korean) who ships me over random items that I ask her to purchase for me.

I have not seen anyone else aside from E-bay and Gmarket who sell Korean Cosmetics. I haven't really seen many stores in Manhattan either that carry Korean makeup but maybe I am looking in the wrong locations. If I do come across a shop that carry the lines they are normally very out of date items.

If you live within a heavily populated Asian community you my be lucky enough to have a few Japanese, Korean, Chinese specialty shops that carry cosmetics from abroad.

If you're unfamiliar with Gmarket allow me to briefly explain.

Gmarket is much like E-bay however instead of bidding on items you are purchasing them out right for buy it now prices. All items are priced extremely low and as close to retail as anything I've seen on the Internet and many popular brands I've discussed at Musings such as Etude House, Banila Co, VOV, etc...can be located at retail prices on Gmarket.

Even though Gmarket prices are amazing I have some rants about the service which is why I do not recommend using it unless you have a ton of cash to spare.

I've tried Gmarket twice and have noticed a few problems with the service and they are as follows:

Virtually no Customer Service at all.

During my first order I had some confusion of whether the funds I sent over actually went through so I decided to shoot over an inquiry about my order. This was 3 months ago and still they have not replied. Lucky enough the order arrived safely but having my money hang out in limbo while no one replies stinks.

No English speaking reps or members.

I don't believe anyone that works for Gmarket or anyone who is a registered member that is selling speaks in English. I've successfully contacted a seller when asking a question only to receive a reply in Korean. This wasn't a problem as I had someone translate it for me however if you're virtually clueless about the Korean language this can be frustrating. This leads me to believe that the reps that work at Gmarket, run Gmarket, not speak English either. Although Gmarket has a English sub-site I don't believe anyone technically speaks English.

Shipping Prices are obscene at first glance!

Now shipping via Gmarket is fairly reasonable however as you add items into your cart from other sellers or even one particular seller the price goes up and up and up and up! This figure is a set estimate and you'll later receive a credit on the shipping amount however it's ridiculous having to set out $40, $60, or more dollars when you have 8-10 items in your cart! As mentioned you do get a credit however that credit is not put back into your Paypal account it's set as G-Cash for spending on Gmarket. If you so choose you can transfer it back to Paypal but it won't be worth it as they deduct a considerable amount in fees to do this!

Shipping, Paypal, and Other Woes....

Gmarket ships fairly quickly however the interface on Gmarket has a huge learning curve and I don't think, after using it twice so far for orders, I even understand how it works! Figuring out where my money is, where my order is, when it shipped, how to track it, like brain surgery! The site isn't user friendly in my opinion! Now when paying via Paypal can be quite a bit of a nail biting experience as waiting for the funds to go through, etc...makes me slightly nervous as my Paypal sits in limbo for 2-3 days. On top of this waiting for your credit back, for shipping, takes a fair few days. I just get a tad bit nervous when my money is sitting around and not doing anything!

All in all I currently avoid Gmarket like the plague and do all my Korean Cosmetics via CP purchases from my friend. If I can't get items from her I tend to look around E-bay and see what pops up cheap! I don't recommend using Gmarket if you get antsy about your money the way I do. I also don't recommend it because of the silly estimated shipping fee problem!

The Muse suggests asking around MUA or on Asian based Forums for a CP. Be friendly, make a friend, and I'm positive they'll be happy to help you get what you need from Korea! Don't forget to offer to return the favor!

Hope this answers all your questions about Gmarket!

If you have further questions, ask away in comment field!

An Intro to Korean Cosmetic Brands

What is a BB Cream?

A Guide to Shopping for Japanese Cosmetics

JPMon Ordering Tutorial

Indonesian Cosmetic Brands

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Anonymous Carly said...

Hey I know this is kinda off topic, sorry, but have you tried the Shiseido Hydro-Liquid Compact? Because I was thinking about getting it but I thought I should ask you what you think about it first. Thanks so much!

October 14, 2008 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi carly.

no problem :) off topic is always welcome.

I've used it and have mixed feelings.

Do you have dry skin? it's ideal for dry skin however the lasting power isn't so fab and it's virtually gone after 3 hours so you'll need to touch up throughout the day.

There are much better options available imho.

I love Shiseido this just isn't one of their best items!

October 14, 2008 at 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kayvid: Aaargh! I just placed my Gmarket order for the first ever time yesterday evening. Wish your post came a day before :-)
N worries though. I is tough to order from there...but I'd read on someone's blog earlier that you just have o sit around and wait and then you will receive the order and zap you money is I prepared myself for it :-)

October 14, 2008 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger ~raspy~ said...

I recently encountered some problems with Gmarket too and they sent me a long email in korean. Since I don't understand the language, I sent them an email in english asking for a translation and in reply, they did email me back in english but this time, the email is much much shorter.

October 14, 2008 at 8:14 PM  
Blogger 心。葵 said...

Oh gosh~ I can't quite understand Gmarket either. and i thought it is cuz i hardly buy my own items other than joining sprees :P

i try my best to avoid it cuz it's too much of a hassle!

looks like we are the same :D

October 14, 2008 at 8:34 PM  
OpenID rasilla said...

I'm korean and it gives ME a headache trying to order from there!
Which I tried once, until I realized that the shipping to Canada would have KILLED ME.
Not to mention the duties that I would have had to pay on top of those killer shipping prices.

But I think you covered all the bases on why we shouldn't use Gmarket. Though it may be nice to have everything there, they just aren't up to par when it comes to selling things abroad.

Anyway thanks for sharing Muse! I enjoyed the review :)

October 14, 2008 at 11:27 PM  
Blogger Kathi said...

Hi Izzy,
I am really sorry you find Gmarket to be such a hassle.

I am actually astonished that ppl seem to find it so hard to use. It was difficult to first set it all up and start it but once I've placed an order I had figured pretty much everything out.

I read ranting about the CS very often but it's really strange that each of my inquiries had been answered within a day max (except weekends). They don't email (which sucks a bit) but just submit the answer in your Gmarket "inquiries" field so when you see status "answered" just click on your question and you'll see the answer (and it's in good English).

The Estimated prices partly really suck in my opinion, you're very right about that. However I just swallow them as I think if I buy the eyeshadow I want from Sweet Violet on Ebay for 5x the price I get it on Gmarket the shipping is worth it. Especially as I get a good part refunded anyway which I can use towards another order.
Some seller are really good about the Estimated shipping though. Like I purchased a 7piece Enprani BB kit and the shipping is about US$12 as the estimated shipping is just half kilo.

I also have to say that following the status of payment and order is fine for me. Whenever I paid through paypal the payment got confirmed within 1 business day so the status in my Gmarket got updated to "Shipping preparation" (from "awaiting payment") very quickly. Now as I am using cc mainly or Gcash it shows the status right away and each item shows where it is right now (it shows "Being shipped" if the seller has shipped it locally or "Shipped" if it arrived at the Gmarket warehouse. And then the international EMS tracking allows me to see when my package has been dispatched from Gmarket, left Korea, entered Austria, left customs etc. so I feel very well informed where my order is.
The international tracking can be found when you click on your order and scroll down to the "International Shipping" field. You'll see the status ("pending" "being shipped"). As soon as it shows "Being shipped" you'll also get the shipping cost refund as it means your package has been assembled and packed so they know the actual weight.

I know Gmarket can be PITA but for me it's the perfect solution =D I wish there was a site like this for Japanese makeup!
Cheers and *hugs*

October 15, 2008 at 1:26 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey kayvid!!!

I hope it turns out great and arrives fast :)

When the process finally starts up it goes fairly quickly but I'm just a nervous nelly ;)

What did you haul!?

Deets! :)

October 16, 2008 at 2:35 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi raspy!!!
miss ya around here!

Interesting! At least you got a email is still answered lol!

Oh well :(

October 16, 2008 at 2:35 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi plue!

It's a bit puzzling to say the least plue :P Sometimes sprees are way easier!!!! I wish we were able to do so more often here but not many people spree for us across the line :(

October 16, 2008 at 2:36 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi there rasilla!

Lol well that's good news!!!!

The shipping, even to the US, is a killer. Having to shell out so much, so far in advance is a bit ridiculous. If I got it back to my bank account I'd be happy but it ends up as you really need to take that into's kinda like making an investment :P

I agree 100%! If anything it's best to just kindly ask a friend or family member if you have any in Korea..the hassle of likey :P

You're most welcome, thanks for taking time out to comment!

October 16, 2008 at 2:38 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi kathi!

How are you love? Hugs!

The interface is a bit of a puzzle to me as of yet even after using it twice....I really find it difficult to figure out what is happening on it.

You're very lucky with CS. Sadly my one question is still unanswered after months!

The inquiry I have it still saying "Unanswered"

The estimate shipping prices are obscene considering it's like a big lump sum investment I'm making to purchase an item :( If they credit it back to my account I'd be happy but ending up as gcash kinda stinks!

It has ome major raves but for me many of the rants just outshine the good parts :( Sounds like you have had great success with the service. Maybe I should start using my CC could be better :)

Thanks the tips and for telling us your experience!

Big hugs!
Been ages since we talked last =-)

October 16, 2008 at 2:42 PM  
Anonymous cavano said...

Hi Muse;

Just want to add a BIG rant about GMarket since I'm still hot about it :p. My first order with them went smooth sailing, but the second one is just a total bitch (ahem, pls excuse my language :p). I ordered 2 items from the same seller, but one item arrived in just a day while the other took more than a week! After I bugged the CS for several days it finally arrived and sent after a few days. Lo and behold, that's not the end of my bad luck! I just got the huge box, opened the smaller box (what's up with that boxes, what a waste!) and found they only sent the late package but apparently forgot the other one!!! Can you imagined how mad I am right now!!! I waited 2 dang weeks, paid hefty EMS prices yet I have to wait more for my WHOLE package!!! I'm so mad with GMarket right now. I just sent a rant mail to them, they better reply soon, ggrrr..
Sorry to borrow your blog with my rant, Muse :). Just want to share my experience.

December 19, 2008 at 2:36 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi cavano!

Sorry for my delayed reply been a bit backed up with comments lately.

Aww sorry to hear about your drama! I must say that I bugged CS as well and they never got back to me at all which totally peeved me!

Sounds like a crummy experience you had :( I really don't bother with gmarket as I find the prices are just about what you'd paid on evilbay anyway after shipping is calculated etc...especially considering you're putting out a hefty price tag in regards to total shipping cost..granted it's refunded..but only in gcash which is the same as if I am spending a few extra dollars for a product on ebay anyway :P

The entire system is screwy as far as I'm concerned and not worth the hassle :P

Hope you got things cleared up with them :P

Thanks for telling us your rant!


December 31, 2008 at 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Piyo said...


May I know what is MUA or on Asian based Forums for a CP? Cos I really wanna get something from Korea's Gmarket as it is not available on ebay itself.. It is a korean-made product. So I need some help and moreover the seller do not send his items overseas.. So I need some help over here.. =P

February 26, 2009 at 9:46 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi piyo

mua=makeup alley
asian based forums can be anything such as cozycot that's one based in singapore :-D

see about heading on MUA and asking a friendly Korea maybe they can help!

Good luck hun.

February 26, 2009 at 4:49 PM  

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