Russian consumers are becoming an increasingly desirable audience for large international online retail companies. Internet retailers are paying increasing attention to the promising Russian market for them and launching new international projects with an eye on Russia. However, researchers note that problems with logistics in Russia hinder the more active development of online commerce.
One of the largest companies in Europe engaged in the sale of branded clothing via the Internet, the Italian Yoox, is launching a new trading platform that is targeted also at Russian consumers. According to a December study by PwC, which polled about 2 of thousands of active Russian Internet users, 92% of them at least occasionally buy goods over the Internet - as far back as 2009, there were 80% of them. According to the Ministry of Communications of the Russian Federation, if in December 2009, Russian citizens received approximately 100 thousand parcels and 200 thousand small packets, then in December 2011, already 300 thousand parcels and about 1 million packets. All this correspondence is not gifts from foreign relatives - it is the acquisition of citizens of the Russian Federation in foreign online stores. Domestic buyers who are not satisfied with the high prices for branded goods in Russian stores are increasingly buying fashionable items abroad via the Internet. The boom is also due to the proliferation of bank cards and broadband internet in Russia, as well as the liberalization of customs legislation.
Initially, dozens of small companies and private owners offered redemption and forwarding services, requiring 15 – 20% of the order amount for their work. The first major reseller Shipito was founded in the 2007 year in the United States. The company now has four warehouses in America, one each in Hong Kong and Shenzhen (China). Now, according to the company, of the 89 thousand users, 40% are Russians. In addition to Shipito, the number of leading operators focused on Russia and the CIS also includes Shopfans service. Opening in December 2010 of the year, the company by the end of 2011 of the year processed about 2 thousand inbound and up to 400 outbound parcels per day. This is not much less than the total volume of its main competitor Shipito.
There are still few foreign online stores selling branded clothing that consciously focus on Russia, but their business here is actively gaining momentum. First of all, these are British Asos and Italian Yoox. Both have a rich set of brands in different price categories, as well as the possibility of free delivery to Russia.
This week, Yoox launches a new international project, shoescribe.com, to sell premium women's shoes online. At the time of opening, more than 100 of well-known brands will be available in the store, including Sergio Rossi, Vicini, etc. One of the features of the project is that during the preparation it was developed including for the Russian audience - by developing a full-fledged Russian-language version of the site, the organization of the Russian-language customer service via e-mail and special delivery agreements via EMS Russian Post.
Yoox Group was founded in 2000 and owns several multi-brand online stores, as well as a number of mono-brand ones such as Armani.com and Diesel.com. The company has offices in Europe, the USA, Japan, China, and headquarters in Italy. Yoox Group stores deliver to more than 100 countries.
However, the researchers note that, despite the growing interest in each other of Russian consumers and Western online retailers, there are still quite a few obstacles to the more active development of the Internet commerce market in Russia, first of all, this is a weak infrastructure that impedes the prompt delivery of goods. Only 12% of Internet users in Russia buy goods online every week compared to 28% in the UK. “If we compare the rates of penetration of the Internet and online retail in Russian regions, we will see a significant lag behind large cities. And one of the main reasons for this is logistics, ”said Vardan Gasparyan, senior manager of PwC Russia. Since the railway quite often is the only available means of transporting goods, buyers often have to wait for goods for weeks, which makes shopping on the Internet less attractive compared to going to the nearest shopping center. In turn, Russian retailers, according to Mr. Vardanyan, the poor development of infrastructure in Russia prevents the expansion into regions where, according to the researcher, there is significant potential for growth in retail sales. It is reported by Kommersant-Online».
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