Author: Yulia Kosolapova, International Department, Boxberry International Parcel Service
China is still Russia’s largest international trading partner but around 25% of the total cross-border volume is comprised of purchases from European online stores.
Russia offers a potentially attractive market for international merchants, however the market needs careful consideration in order to get it right. Things to take into account include the distinctly different Russian way of thinking, along with the legal rules and political context of the country. It is said: once in Russia, do as Russians do.
So, what do foreign online retailers need to know about Russian customers’ preferences?
As per primary research from Boxberry, 75% of Russian recipients choose delivery to a parcel office, whereas the remaining 25% prefer a courier, markedly different from consumer preferences in many other European countries.
So, why is this the case in Russia? There are three primary reasons we might identify:
Cheaper shipping costs for the customer
Frankly speaking, Russians like saving money. Courier delivery costs are about 30% higher than pick-up from a parcel office. Moreover, within the country, most retailers provide discounts on this type of delivery as part of their advertising campaigns, which can even include free delivery to a parcel office. Therefore, Russian buyers have become used to inexpensive shipping and don’t expect high rates from foreign stores either.
Widespread chain of parcel offices
The largest Russian courier companies have thousands of pick-up points across the country, which is particularly important in a country as vast as Russia. Before completing their order, the customer chooses the most convenient location, close to their home or office. As a rule, parcel offices are situated in the most densely populated districts and they stay open till 8pm.
Deliveries by courier usually take longer to arrive compared to delivery to parcel offices. As there are so many across Russia, customers don’t usually have to queue for too long to collect their parcels. Moreover, they have 14 days to pick up a parcel and can even request longer if necessary.
In conclusion, retailers should remember these key findings about Russian customers above all else: price and convenience are most important when deciding on delivery options.