Catering to Russian consumers and their diverse and rich cultural identity is, then, anything but a simple task, particularly when specific regional differences, urban and rural disparities and various age and gender demographics are taken into consideration.
The Russian online marketplace is characterised by a number of additional peculiarities which necessitate at least a degree of localisation. For instance, Russian buyers have been reported to be more likely than their counterparts in many other jurisdictions to communicate with an online seller in advance of purchase due to a preference for making purchases ‘from human beings’, and appropriate facilities for this should be put in place. Almost all Russian retail websites display their local contact numbers prominently on their homepages, as well as offer toll-free telephone and online chat support.
Best practice of course dictates that this should also be provided in the Russian language.
Online sellers will also often telephone an individual buyer after receiving an order with the purpose of confirming order details, product availability and payment and delivery methods. At the very least, an e-Shopper should be able to contact a retailer in the event of a complaint.
It is commonly known that cash on delivery is the most popular payment method in the Russian Federation. This can result in high returns rates, but is a necessary delivery option for any e-Retailer into Russia. Russian consumers consider it important to be offered alternative delivery options: 8 out of 10 consumers surveyed took this into consideration before deciding whether to purchase from a particular e-Shop.
Regarding delivery timeframes, most Russians expect to receive their purchases between 7 and 10 days after the order is placed, though it’s worth noting here that customers in relatively remote locations have lower expectations when it comes to delivery timescales.
Free next-day delivery is a popular and commonly-used option, as is ‘try before you buy’.
Men on average spend more online than women and tend to purchase different categories of goods, though women spend more time shopping online. Car parts and electronic devices - such as mobile phones and computers – are more frequently purchased by men, whilst women gravitate towards clothing and products for children.
Those from younger age groups – particularly when combined with middle-to-high income brackets and the completion of higher education – tend to be well-versed in this comparatively recent technology, and are inclined to place more trust in online commerce and payment mechanisms than their older counterparts. This inevitably leads to higher rates of online spending and consumption.
Russians are notoriously very sensitive to the price of goods and on the whole will be active in making price comparisons across multiple online shops. As a result, Russian e-Shoppers are reputed to be quite disloyal. These consumers will also be vigilant in checking product information on a website, as well as pricing and delivery conditions, so being up-front about this information is vital if you want a respectable customer conversion rate. Trust is additionally reported as a key concern.
Social media engagement rates in this location exceed global averages. This proclivity for social networking should not be ignored by a potential online retailer into Russia as a means of accessing consumers; indeed, in 2013, 51% of Russian internet users followed their favourite brands or retailers on social media.
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