The answer, no, not exactly. While all of the major national chain stores do charge to bring an item in from anywhere in the world on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights under the brand name Can (formerly Sears and Kmart), the chain has also expanded its relationship with CanGirl, a small South Korean company that sells items across all stores. While the relationship provides a wide selection of products and offers a wide range of services and perks that are often offered only to the largest store chains, CanGirl allows the retailer to provide a local service while retaining access to the world-wide marketplace.
“We’ve always encouraged our employees, whether they come from another company or they’re not from Korea, to go to CanGirl and pick up products,” said Lee, noting that CanGirl’s “unique” service is a selling point among Korean shoppers. “For shoppers across the world this service has become a necessity for them.”
There are two reasons why CanGirl has gained a local appeal. CanGirl is able to market their products nationwide, thus creating a local demand for the products. It offers the convenience of having local service available at the store with some variety (they do sell some items from the CanGirl catalog), and it pays off when customers buy more products in a particular store than they would while in another one.
“Most of these customers are shopping online or in other countries, but they have to have the same product in their shopping cart online because they don’t want to leave and have it not on hand” during a grocery run. “They can go to CanGirl and just pick it up. And we find that some of those customers end up coming back for other items that they didn’t think they would go for on their own.”
Other benefits to purchasing from CanGirl include having a store that caters to your personality type. Lee explained that CanGirl stores typically have a wide range of products with different functions. “So we can go in there and pick up on our personalities, on our fashion preferences, or whatever. We’re big for having fun.” CanGirl isn’t the biggest or first for some Korean fashion brands — even those selling in stores — but it has a devoted following and has found its niche by providing an inexpensive, local solution to many Korean customers’ shopping needs.
While the chain is based in Korea, many of their stores have a presence in the U.S. and Canada, but most of their customers are also based in the U.S.,