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Cross Border Sales

Publishers: East-West Digital News

Main partners: E-commercefacts.com, Ernst & Young, the National Mail Ordering and Distance Selling Association (NAMO), payment company Qiwi

Language: English

Formats: Hard and electronic copies

Release: August 2014

Price: From €2,500 to up to €5,000 (multiuser corporate licence)

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This report, the first ever on these topics, sheds full light on a market which is thriving, but difficult to penetrate and now experiencing deep changes. Based on exchanges with Russian consumers, foreign retailers, service providers and industry experts, the report contains exclusive data as well as practical advice for players operating from abroad on how to organize and develop sales to Russia.

Key findings

Online sales to Russia from foreign retailers have grown considerably over the last few years and exceeded $2 billion in 2013. Although this market keeps its secrets well guarded, a clear picture has emerged from our three-month inquiry:

  • Operating from abroad, eBay and Amazon probably sold more to Russians than any domestic player, but small foreign retailers also get their share of the pie.
  • While Chinese online retailers are now gaining strong traction (AliExpress, DinoDirect...), US companies are also showing a growing interest in the Russian market.
  • Apparel and accessories, consumer electronics and gadgets, as well as automobile parts are the most in demand product categories.
  • Frequent slowdowns at customs checkpoints and the lack of efficiency of the Russian Post create serious obstacles, which many small or medium-sized sites cannot solve in a satisfactory way. However, a new generation of delivery providers and cross-border operators is emerging, thus offering more choices to international players. At the same time, the Russian Customs Service is experimenting with simplified and faster procedures.
  • Current legislation is relatively liberal, but further legal developments – from higher customs duties to personal data transfer restrictions – could negatively affect this business.
  • Developing sales beyond a modest scale usually requires a switch from cross border sales to a market entry based system with a Russian team or subsidiary supporting local operations.


Introduction: Cross-border sales throughout Europe

By E-Commerce Facts Chief Editor Janine Nöthlichs

Part 1: Market

  • Russian e-commerce and cross-border sales key data – Exclusive data from the Russian Post, key market players and shipment companies
  • Cross border sales figures and trends: Market size and trends; Product categories on demand
  • Why Russians buy abroad
  • Leading countries involved in cross-border sales to Russia

Part 2: Issues and solutions

  • Customs clearance and taxes: Existing processes and expected changes
  • Delivery: the conditions with postal services as well as with international and Russian courier companies; Overview of the main service providers
  • Payments: Russian specifics; Payment aggregators; Payment on delivery with cross border transfer
  • Marketing and CRM
  • Outsourcing companies and mail forwarders
  • From cross border sales to market entry

Special insight on legal aspects by Ernst & Young

  • Intellectual property issues affecting cross border sales
  • Cross-border personal data management: the current rules, the potential legislation changes, and how to get prepared for them

10 Dos and Don'ts

For foreign e-commerce companies selling to Russia, by Leighton Peter Prabhu, market entry consultant.

Case studies:

  • How Russia became a key market for ASOS and Modnique
  • iMall.eu: A UK startup making luxury fashion available to Russian consumers
  • How mail forwarders Dostami.ru (BayRu) and Shopotam.ru (ebaytoday) facilitate Russians' online purchases from USA, Germany and China
  • Luisaviaroma.com: A winning marketing strategy for cross-border sales
  • Shoes of Prey: Tailor-made Australian shoes for stylish Russians
  • eBay: How to improve delivery to Russian consumers
  • SPSR: Cash-on-delivery for cross-border sales
  • TranslateMedia: The challenges of site localisation
  • Crimsonwing: Adapting online offers to the Ukrainian market
  • Ancient Tea: How to launch a Chinese brand in Russia


  • Yury Nechaev, buy-abroad aficionado from Moscow: "I buy clothes up to four times cheaper on Chinese sites"
  • Exclusive interview with eBay Russia General Manager Vladimir Dolgov
  • Exclusive interview with SPSR International Business Development Director Alex Vassiliev

This report is intended for:

  • International online retailers and brands selling to Russian consumers or considering doing so
  • Service providers in the industry
  • Chambers of commerce, trade and industry organizations
  • Consulting and research companies
  • Universities and research institutes