Delivery into Russia: what you need to know

LinkedIn Twitter Facebook


Author: Gary Tervit, International Services Director, P2P Mailing

While France and Germany have traditionally represented the most popular expansion destinations for the UK’s ecommerce retailers, only a handful have looked to Russia to grow sales.

Entering this massive market comes with delivery challenges, but these shouldn’t deter businesses from tapping into the potential of the region.


This article will look at what you need to know about trading and delivery into Russia.


The Market


In 2018 Russia hosts football’s World Cup with all the attendant hype and scrutiny that this global event attracts. Whether or not the tournament will have a lasting positive economic impact on the country is a moot point but there is little doubt that the spotlight will wake a few UK retailers up to the potential of this marketplace as an attractive goal-scoring opportunity.


But why wait? When looking at the geography of Russia, big is an understatement. The country has the unique distinction of being the largest in the world covering more than one eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land area. The country is not only sizable in land mass but population too, with more than 143 million people. This equates to a large pool of active internet users.


According to the latest data, Russia has the highest number of internet users in Europe — some 84 million people — and the number of online shoppers is growing steadily to now exceed 30 million according to a report released by the Ecommerce Foundation. The effect on Russia's economy of a low oil price, Western sanctions and a cheap ruble has impacted domestic behaviours but the market remains one of huge opportunity.


Despite the market benefits on offer, only a handful of foreign online retailers have looked to the East to expand their online consumer base. If press reports and market commentary are to be believed, entering the Russian market is beset with problems, but this needn’t be the case.


In fact, pioneering companies are seeing the value of partnering with distribution experts to gain a foothold and drive growth.


Third parties


Third-party experts can prove invaluable in helping businesses to grasp the nuances of selling online and delivery into Russia. This means not only understanding purchasing and delivery options and processes but also gaining a holistic view of the bigger picture and that includes understanding the Russian consumer.


It’s important to bear in mind that consumer preferences vary across different territories and Russia is no exception to this rule. For example, according to a report published by nearly half of online shoppers in Russia in 2014 expressed a growing willingness to pay extra for faster delivery.


Essentially when targeting this market, overseas retailers should avoid a one-size-fits-all approach to their delivery strategy.


While it would be misleading to understate the importance of Google as a platform for reaching potential customers, don’t assume this search engine has a monopoly in every overseas market.


Yandex is almost unique to the Russian market with over 60% of the market share, it also accounts for 45% of the country’s total online advertising market share. Remaining unaware of such differences leaves businesses open to failure.

Delivery in Russia



One particular complexity associated with setting up commercial solutions for selling and delvery into Russia centres on the collection of consumer ID Number. It is unlikely that retailers will have country-specific checkout formats with the necessary fields incorporated to capture this data. Some service providers will offer the retailer a solution to collect the data on their behalf as a value add, but this means an additional layer of process that can result in delays whilst the information is gathered.


In fact, postal based solutions into Russia, such as Registered Mail or Express Mail Services (EMS), remain relatively simple and do not require some of the hurdles to be overcome that exist with commercial entry solutions. Both Registered Mail and EMS options are available into Russia providing delivery times of between 7 and 9 days end-to-end.


These options remain a viable and relevant choice for Retailers, especially with standard delivery, rather than express. Both options provide tracking and delivery confirmation to the retailer and the consumer.


Our own experience shows the growing commercial interest in this arena amongst UK ecommerce businesses. P2P Mailing is averaging more than 30,000 items per week going into Russia — an uplift of some 25% on the previous year. Our total volume to Russia in 2016 was running at over 10 tonnes per week on average with some periods in peak recording up to 7 tonnes in one day. Most of this volume is lightweight parcels and packages under 2 kgs, but items weighing up to 7 or 8 kilos are also regularly handled.


Given Brexit uncertainty and a fluctuating pound the UK is an attractive place to buy from. However, international expansion should not be rushed into. Ensuring that the processes are in place to distribute goods promptly and cost effectively across the globe is a key consideration. Customers — wherever they are in the world — don’t like delayed or unsuccessful deliveries, and will soon defect if they are unimpressed with the service they receive.


Similarly, if businesses don’t have an early appreciation for the costs of such expansion, they could easily find the expense higher than anticipated. While the opportunity is an exciting one, retailers must ensure they are fully prepared before they attempt to seize it.


For many online retailers, engaging with a third party expert will be the most fail-safe and cost-effective way of managing distribution to Russia. The expert should have a thorough and up-to-date knowledge of the market and strong relationships with postal operators in the region. An expert consultant should not only be able to negotiate competitive prices, but should also be able to ensure that any fulfilment and distribution infrastructure keeps pace with business expansion.




Our own experience shows that Russia is far from being a closed market. Yes, challenges exist, but the rewards for investing in delivery into Russia can be significant.

  • Don’t rely on a one-size-fits-all approach — take into account the culture of Russia’s market and the country’s sheer size.
  • Don’t underestimate the financial and logistical requirements of expansion.
  • Use experts to assist with using third parties in Russia


For more information on the Russian eCommerce Market, download the FREE Russia Country Guide.


LinkedIn Twitter Facebook

Understanding the Current Global eCommerce Localisation Trends

Understanding the Current Global eCommerce Localisation Trends

Localisation has become key to success online and savvy brands and online retailers have adopted innovative approaches to localisation in order to provide the best experience for their target customers while retaining their brand identity and tone of voice in all of the markets that they operate. So how are retailers applying localisation strategies across the world and how are demands shifting?
How to ship with Fulfilled by Amazon

How to ship with Fulfilled by Amazon

If you shop on Amazon, you may often see the term ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’ meaning that you’re buying a good not from Amazon, but from a third party seller. Fulfilled by Amazon, or FBA, selling is where a third party stores their goods in Amazon warehouses, and Amazon then uses them to fulfil listings. But what does it take to sell your goods as Fulfilled by Amazon?
The legal landscape for online retail in Canada

The legal landscape for online retail in Canada

The legal situation around online retail in Canada is complicated by its general devolution from federal to province / territory level. In theory this means 13 different sets of terms and conditions needed. In practice, there is a very high degree of uniformity. This article looks into Canadas legal system from an online retailers position.
Online retail competition in Canada

Online retail competition in Canada

Canadians are amongst the most prolific cross-border eCommerce purchasers in the world - however, something to think about is that more and more local retailers, who previously were poor at eCommerce, are increasingly now getting better at it. This article looks at some of the top retailers in the Canadian eCommerce market to help you understand the competitive landscape there.
The Size of the Canada Retail Market

The Size of the Canada Retail Market

With the presence of US retailers in Canada unsurprising, some may find it hard to believe that not all northward ventures have ended in success. Therefore, you shouldn’t assume that the presence of a US giant means that other cross-border retail efforts would be hopeless. This article looks at the value of the total retail market in Canada and outlines the current competitive landscape there.
Online retail marketing in Canada

Online retail marketing in Canada

With internet and device penetration significant and online browsing behaviour fairly typical of a developed market, the landscape of online marketing looks very familiar to highly connected countries. However, retailers should be aware of the subtle but significant differences between the Canadian and the UK markets. This article looks at use of marketing methods for online retailers in Canada.
Connectivity and online behaviour in Canada

Connectivity and online behaviour in Canada

With typical online behaviour similar to other western counties, the Canadian eCommerce market can be seen as very appealing to cross-border retail. Exploring its sophisticated infrastructure, this article looks at the details of Canadian shoppers’ behaviour online, and examines some of the demographic nuances in internet access, online activity, and device preferences.
Online retail payment methods in Canada

Online retail payment methods in Canada

In different markets, shoppers can have varying preferences when it comes to making payments for orders on eCommerce sites. Canada is no exception but happily, there is more of an opportunity than a challenge when it comes to online retail payment in Canada. This article looks at the online retail payment methods within the Canadian eCommerce market.
Online shopping behaviour in Canada

Online shopping behaviour in Canada

When Canadian Shoppers buy online, how do they go about it, and what do they buy? With the use of mobile growing and the use of various devices for online shopping looking similar to trends in the UK, Canadian eCommerce has been a sleeping giant, but it’s waking up. And quickly. This article looks at the online shopping behaviour of the Canadian eCommerce market.
Online Retail Logistics in Canada

Online Retail Logistics in Canada

How should you go about planning your logistics strategy for servicing the Canadian eCommerce market and what are the options available? Canada is a spectacular 9,306 km from extreme east to extreme west so for any non-Canadian retailer looking for delivery partners to ship into the country, only large players with the scale to cover such a geography are particularly relevant. This article looks at the online retail logistics within Canada and how this impacts its eCommerce market.

Contact Us

eCommerce Worldwide
2 Ching Court
49-53 Monmouth St

Tel: 0203 696 0980
2017© eCommerce Worldwide

Keep In Touch

powered by Affino

About eCommerce Worldwide

eCommerce Worldwide provides online retailers with all the information, and resources, they need to develop cross-border strategies for entering new markets around the world
Read More