Perkonomics as the New Currency
By Han Sang-hee
``Perkonomics'' is the new currency among businesses around the world, according to Internet trend firm trendwatching.com. Thus, more companies are looking into ways to satisfy consumers, even if it means giving out free stuff. The Web site offers a brief definition of the concept by explaining it as a ``new breed of perks and privileges that satisfies consumers' needs and desires.'' Most of these perks offer special, exclusive or just convenient services, trying to match up to the high standards of consumers nowadays. Here are several perks that are happening right now in the local scene.
Many fashion brands and department stores are offering ``trunk'' shows, where they invite an exclusive number of guests and display new products. The word trunk is used because merchants back in history gave trunks full of goods to the wealthy. From high-end fashion powerhouses like Dunhill, and casual brands like Italy's PINKO to fountain pen brand Waterman, holding these private events is a plus in attracting and helping customers understand the products, plus, giving them the chance to feel extra special and exclusive. Department stores like Hyundai also give their VVIP (Very Very Important People) customers the chance to order fur goods from top brands like Fendi and Celine, even before the products are on sale in stores.
Movie theater Megabox members, dubbed Megatizens, can also check out movie previews and other events before the general public.
Daehan Cinema has a VIP service that ensures the best seats. VIP viewers simply have to buy their tickets 30 minutes before the movie starts and they will be presented with some of the best seats in the theater, mostly in the middle. The theater saves 10 to 12 seats of most movies, and VIP members can also use a lounge located inside the theater, even without tickets.
Fitness clubs that require exclusive memberships are not new, and in Seoul some of the best ones are located inside fancy hotels. JW Marriott Hotel Seoul's Marquis Thermal Spa and Fitness Club boasts the best service, but the club is only open to members, which is great to be but hard to become.
Credit cards and tickets are fun, but it's not like having someone to help you take care of your chores, bookings, shopping, etc.
Lotte Department Store's Avenuel is one of the first department stores to appreciate what personal assistants offer. From potter services, valet parking to personal stylists and personal shoppers, Avenuel's customers receive the best service available.
DongA Fashion Color School actually holds lectures on how to become a professional personal shopper. For a fee of 650,000 won, students can learn how to help people turn from fashion victims to stylish divas.
The jewelry industry is popular with both job seekers and jewelry lovers, for more women, and men, are appreciating the value of sparkling gems. These specialists, who must have a license from the Gemological Institute of America, not only consult customers when choosing the perfect jewelry for the perfect occasion, but also create and make new designs made just for them.
Lotte Cinema is known for its distinctive services: it was the first theater to grant Internet bookers options to choose their own seats, cushioned seats for small children and special events for families. One popular service is Hi Pass, which enables moviegoers to enter theaters without waiting in line. Slip the credit card you used to reserve the tickets via the Internet into the Hi Pass card reader or check the cyber ticket on the Hi Pass scanner located in front of the theater, then go to your seats and enjoy!
Hotel fitness clubs are not simply spacious to boast their size. Having more space allows them to have more equipment, thus shortening the line of users who have to wait to use certain apparatus. Getting rid of the long queues in fitness clubs not only saves time, but also heightens the quality of the workout.
Evercare offers a personal medical system for those who want to receive customized treatment. Although a bit pricy, the health consulting group offers pesonalized services, including a health assistant service. An appointed health expert visits the patient and administers needed treatments, on both regular footing and in emergencies. There is also a 24-hour phone service for patients needing help or answers.
Korean electronic giant Samsung Electronics launched 50 Samsung Mobile Charging Stations at Newark Liberty International Airport. Users can recharge their Samsung cell phones, laptops and other digital devices free by connecting their devices to the charging station. Samsung started the service in 2006 and have already installed more than 215 stations in seven main city airports, including LaGuardia, Orlando, and Los Angeles.
Department stores not only offer personal shoppers, but also personal shopping lounges. Shinsegae department store and Galleria department store offer PSRs (Personal Shopper Room). Most of the trunk shows are held here at the exclusive lounges, while some designers come and consult about current trends and fashion styles with department store members and customers. Jewelry brand Fred only invites one customer at a time to display their new pieces.
Wedding consulting company Dr. UNION offers lounges and cafes where only members can use, while LG Chem also runs a VVIP customer lounge in their interior design consulting gallery DSQUARE.
While some companies like Lexus offer free parking services for people who own the car in America and Australia, some provinces in Korea say no to free parking spaces, but yes when the drivers have done volunteer work. Yeosu, located in South Jeolla Province, offers a 50 percent discount in public parking fees when they have a sticker on their windows showing they have completed 200 hours of volunteer work.
Samsung Card is offering its Libro Samsung Anypass Point Card, where cardholders can get discounts by using the card in Books Libro bookstore and also free parking spots.