Groupon Korea, currently the third-largest social commerce site in the country, has become the first such service to launch its own Android and iPhone apps in Korea.
The new apps have all the functionality of the website and offer three modes of payment: credit card, bank transfer and mobile payment. To make payments via the app, users must also download two other apps: a secure payment system and the Inipay mobile payment service.
As Bloter says, by cramming all the features of the website — largely unchanged — into the mobile version, the Groupon app is not, as yet, especially pleasant to use. In addition, though the app can give you recommendations based on your location, you can’t use them until a day or two after purchase, which — for the time being at least — rather defeats the purpose.
Still, the app’s arrival is potentially hugely significant for Korea’s social commerce market.
By offering location-based recommendations, Groupon Korea is laying the groundwork for Groupon’s much-touted Groupon Now service. Eventually, this will mean that users in Korea will also be able to receive recommendations on the go and use them straight away. It also promises to drive another big jump in mobile payment, which is already booming here in Korea. Kim Beom-sup, CTO of Groupon Korea, says that although the company has many more PC users at the moment, the proportion of people actually paying via their mobiles is higher.
Groupon’s competitors are paying attention. Ticket Monster, Korea’s No. 1 social commerce service, supports mobile payments on its site and is reportedly working on an app of its own that will be released in June. Also, as I mentioned last week, SK’s Gold in City combines elements of social commerce and location-based services. The social/LBS assault on your pocket is only just beginning…