Shinsegae, Lotte to compete in metaverse as future growth engine

By Kim Jae-heun



The Korea Times Co.


A competition among the two local retail giants, Shinsegae and Lotte, has ignited in the virtual world, which is emerging as a new future growth engine. There is a new trend of enjoying culture in the metaverse, where companies believe more and more people will spend their money — in virtual department stores and amusement parks — as they spend more time online. Shinsegae is ahead of Lotte in the metaverse business. Zepeto is Korea’s largest metaverse platform operated by Naver and Shinsegae and has already opened its Starfield shopping mall there. The retail firm also submitted an application to register a trademark for its Emart supermarket discount store on the metaverse recently, which is part of its ultimate goal of building a “Shinsegae Universe” online. Shinsegae Department Store currently runs several online services including lectures at its cultural centers in connection with metaverse platform operator ZEP. It also introduced a non-fungible token (NFT) character called Puuvilla while signing a memorandum of understanding with Hancom to develop its own metaverse platform. Shinsegae is focusing on attracting new customers to the new business rather than seeking immediate profits at the moment. “Our online shopping mall brand’s metaverse service has attracted some 200,000 customers online and 70 percent of them have already made actual purchases. It sold 10,000 Puuvilla characters just a second after its launch and the NFT character is gaining a huge number of fans offline too,” a Shinsegae official said. Lotte created a virtual theme park for Lotte World. Its membership service subsidiary, Lotte Members, signed a business agreement with a local metaverse company to provide a payment system in the virtual world.