How to bring your business to Russia: part 3
Finally! Here’s the last part of our three-part interview with Maryke Otten, international trade advisor at the Chamber of Commerce Netherlands. If you missed the beginning, here are Part 1 and Part 2 of the article.
Q: Do you have any specific advice for Internet companies entering the Russian market?
“Yes. Russia is a very interesting market for online companies”. Maryke says that Russian e-commerce market is somewhat behind Europe (for example, Ebay was launched in Russia only in 2010, and Amazon still doesn’t have a Russian domain) – but it has great potential. Russian online shopping industry is “the youngest and the most dynamic in Europe, but it’s already outpacing Germany in terms of unique visitors”.
Actually ,the Chamber of Commerce has a checklist for e-commerce companies which are going abroad with six points that are essential to know before advancing into the foreign market:
1) Choose and register a catchy domain name: you need to know where to register it and which requirements should be met
2) Organize your logistic process and customs clearance: this can be difficult in Russia, especially due to problems at the customs
3) Stay informed about the local laws and rules concerning distant selling
4) Manage taxes: you need to know the tax regulations both in your country and abroad, how much you need to pay and which organizations are involved
5) Choose the right payment system: in Russia, for example, payment is still an issue in e-commerce; the most common way of paying for goods purchased online is cash at delivery. According to Maryke, there are different online payment systems available in Russia, but “there are so many of them that it makes it quite expensive for merchants to offer these systems, – she says. – The fees are mostly high, and there also may be a lack of trust”.
6) Be aware of the cultural differences: it’s important to take the culture into account not only concerning business relationships, but also when deciding on the look and feel of the site and its user interface.
If you are thinking of bringing your business to Russia, these tips may help you avoid getting bumps and bruises in the foreign marketplace.
This was the final part of our interview with Maryke Otten, whom I would like to thank for her participation and valuable input: Спасибо! To return to the beginning of the article, use links to Part 1 and Part 2.
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