The Korean couples app Between has launched an e-commerce store, where couples can buy each other gifts.
Between is an app which lets couples privately document and share their relationship, collecting mementos, photos, texts and voice messages.
And the company behind it, VCNC, has this week launched their main monetisation strategy – an e-commerce platform.
The store has taken a year to build, in partnership with Korean online retailer 10X10 and Wincube Marketing.
The platform allows couples to browse a gift shop, where they can buy physical goods like accessories, jewellery or electronics.
Users of the app can pay via credit card, carrier billing or bank transfer.
Jaeuk Park, co-founder and CEO of VCNC, said to e27: “An e-commerce play is a natural progression for Between in terms of VCNC’s monetisation strategy.
“Since our early days of partnering brands through our Event Box (advertising), we have seen this demand and believe that this can also be successfully executed in our other markets such as Japan, Taiwan and Southeast Asia.”
They are first launching it in their strongest market, South Korea, where 60% of their 7.3m users are.
However their impressive growth in other territories, such as Japan and the US, has led to two new investors – Japan’s Global Brain Corporation and US-based 500 Startups.
The CEO of Global Brain, Yasuhiko Yurimoto, explained the app’s appeal to Japanese users.
“Closed or private social network services like Between enable people to share information with selected users.
“Within this domain, Between is in the top global position and has high potential of becoming the standard. Global Brain Corporation could support VCNC’s growth not only in Japan but also in all of Asia.”
Between now have over 1m users in Japan, and their growth in that country – along with Global Brain’s investment – could lead to the e-commerce platform being expanded there.
Edward Lee, VCNC’s head of international business, said: “Since Japan has Between’s second largest user base, there is a high chance that we will be implementing the e-commerce model there next.
“When we develop our commerce into a more solid model, it wouldn’t be a big problem mounting it into new markets where we have a meaningful number of users, right partners and a commerce-friendly environment.”
Between’s venture round was started by DeNA, a billion dollar Japanese mobile portal and e-commerce company, who invested in the app this February.
DeNA’s funding was for opening the app up to third parties, allowing Between to advertise services to couples — whether deals for restaurants, or tickets for the cinema and sporting events.
Recently, New York dating site HowAboutWe launched their own couples app You & Me – a similar platform to Between – and one could certainly imagine them going down similar e-commerce and third party monetisation routes in the future.