WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
Russian E-Commerce - The Easy Way
The real key to any successful cross border commerce is understanding the information you need to gather at your front end from consumer at time of order. Each consumer in Russia has a 10 digit personal I.D number (from their passport) which is used for private import, obtaining this number is critical.
An additional way to improve your movement of goods into Russia is to identify the tariff or HS Coding of each item being sold, this has to be done for every item entering Russia and if it is done by the seller it is usually more accurate and less likely to be questioned in customs. Success with smooth clearance into Russia is definitely linked with your ability to gather this critical information from the customer at time of purchase.
Russian consumers all have a personal allowance for importing goods each month of no more than 31 kilos or 1000 Euros value, this personal allowance relies totally on any private importation arriving with a consignee I.D reference number being readily available for the clearance. Make sure the client is offered a range of delivery options and ensure that your product and shipping prices are listed in Russian Rubles for easy reference.
While internet penetration is increasing dramatically across Russia you will still typically find that bigger cities have more practised internet users and so you can still expect around 60% of your international cross border deliveries to be destined for consumers in either Moscow or St Petersburg with other major cities making up 35 of the remaining 40% of purchasers. This demographic will start to shift however as the market matures.
Since the Russian Rouble experienced a sharp depreciation in 2014 Russian shoppers have become more focused on bargain hunting and although spend figures are not decreasing, the number of items for the value of transaction has increased, pointing to a more cost-minded search for goods Ensure that your best bargains and end of line sales are promoted on your Russian sites adequately, these could be the goods at the price they want!
Remember, although Russians are looking for a bargain, a big reason for them shopping in UK is to get western designs and products that are just not available anywhere in Russia. If you have very unusual designs these need to be front lined on your Russian website page.
Payment methods in cross border context are most popular with Visa and Mastercard although UnionPay is also on the rise. There is a common mis-conception that Russia has a high level of fraud and refusal issues with payments, however the facts and figures produced by the Merchant Risk Council (MRC) do not support this view. Russia is shown to be no different than any other market when looking at risk indicators.