Ecommerce News

Russian e-commerce giant eyes European expansion after pandemic growth




Wildberries, the Russian e-commerce giant, is branching into Europe after its steady rise on the domestic market has been boosted during the coronavirus pandemic.

While uncharacteristic of an e-commerce company, its unique selling point (USP) – allowing customers to try out orders at physical locations and only pay for the goods they want – helped the company’s steady growth, proving to be a lucrative endeavor.

While Russia’s economy has been slow in recent years, e-commerce is a booming business. For Wildberries, the pandemic added to that growth, with sales increasing 74 percent to $6 billion last year. 


In 2020, Wildberries received nearly 324 million orders – around 1.6 million products a day.

Due to its success at home, the e-commerce giant is looking to expand into Europe, with recent launches in Germany, Poland, Italy, France and Spain.

Vyacheslav Ivashchenko, director of development at the company, told AFP: “We are now in 13 countries and intend to continue expanding. We offer both big international brands and Russian brands – like homemade mittens, felt boots … it’ll be attractive both for Europeans and Russian emigrants.”

At the moment, seven out of 10 Wildberries customers are women, who often make purchases for the whole family.


A woman tries on a jacket at a pick-up point. /AFP

A woman tries on a jacket at a pick-up point. /AFP


Its founder, former English teacher Tatyana Bakalchuk, started the company in 2004 while on maternity leave. In one of her first interviews, Bakalchuk said: “We had a one-month-old baby and I wanted to start working again so as not to feel like just a mother.”

Her innovative idea was to only charge orders once they had been picked up, to combat the mistrust of Russian consumers accustomed to scams.

Today, her company has 40,000 employees,and Bakalchuk now tops the Forbes list of Russia’s richest women, with an estimated net worth of $12.6 billion.


Video editing: Sam Cordell

Source(s): AFP


Source link