A US-based food company that produces a variety of processed, gift-style products such as chocolates, sauces, candies, and drinks aimed to enter the Korean e-commerce market. Already a successful seller on Amazon in the USA and Europe, the company sought a consulting firm that could provide comprehensive market advice and full logistical support, including storage, fulfillment, and customer service.

The company, with over 100 SKUs, planned to sell directly to Korean consumers by establishing local Korean seller accounts in relevant marketplaces. This strategy would bypass the need for a local importer or distributor. The company intended to bulk-ship products to a Korean warehouse to ensure quick delivery and to engage in local marketing to increase visibility for their stores and products.

Korean food import regulations are extremely stringent. Many products permissible in the USA and Europe are banned in South Korea due to strict scrutiny of ingredients and manufacturing processes, including lab tests for hidden banned substances. Importing food to Korea requires a license, and transactions must involve Korean importers, posing a significant barrier for foreign companies wishing to store products locally. Moreover, while some marketplaces allow foreign seller accounts, most are restricted to Korean companies.

KOISRA’s research team was the first to work on the project. Initial steps included a market analysis to assess demand, trends, prices, and product variety specific to food gift products. Following this, KOISRA’s e-commerce team narrowed down the product SKUs and conducted a comprehensive import compliance review for each item, involving documentation, packaging assessments, sample imports, and lab evaluations.

Based on these findings, KOISRA’s business development team explored viable market entry strategies and advised the US company on the most effective approaches, considering local regulations and marketplace dynamics.


South Korea's online market is dominated by dozens of marketplaces, but most of them only accept local Korean entities registered as sellers. Therefore, KOISRA's corporate and licensing team got involved, and a Korean corporation was established for the US company. This enabled them to register as a local seller in all the popular marketplaces. An e-commerce license, essential for opening stores in Korean marketplaces, was successfully obtained for the newly established Korean company.

As a result of the extensive compliance checks, about 40 SKUs were selected to be imported into Korea. KOISRA, a licensed food importer, offered its Importer of Record services to the newly established Korean company. The imported products were stored in a Korean warehouse and linked to all the marketplaces where the seller's stores were open and activated. For sensitive products like chocolate, a cooled warehouse was utilized during the summer. Any order placed on the marketplaces was packed, fulfilled, and delivered to customers in no more than three days.

KOISRA’s e-commerce team handled the product uploads, supported the translation into Korean, localized the content, and provided ongoing management and customer service, which includes a local address for product returns and a phone number for call support.

Additionally, for promotion, KOISRA’s marketing team engaged local bloggers and influencers to post reviews about the products with direct links to purchase on the marketplaces.

To support the ongoing financial operations, the newly incorporated company was linked with an English-speaking accountant, while KOISRA’s corporate team provided support for all internal corporate and banking matters.

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