The opening of a local office of international retailing platform eBay has been welcomed by local online retailers, although doubts remain over how the service will cope with local logistics problems.
The company has already registered its Russian daughter company – Ibei Ru, Kommersant FM reported, citing its general director, Vladimir Dolgov, the former head of Ozon online retailers and Google’s Russian operations. The new eBay branch is located in Class A office space near the Belorusskaya metro station.
eBay’s online platform began offering Russian language support back in 2010. But the goal of the newly established company is to focus on improving the delivery of goods, and, in particular, the cooperation of eBay with Russia’s notorious national postal service, Pochta Rossii.
eBay integration into Russia will have a positive impact on the market and consumers, no matter how successfully its daughter company works, said the St. Petersburg affiliate director of Ozon.ru online retailers, Anna Matveyeva.
"The main problem is definitely the logistical problem in Russia,” Kommersant FM quoted Matveyeva as saying. “I think that even if they cannot push the mail service, then it will still have a positive impact on the market, because such a large player coming onto the market will still stimulate e-commerce, people will begin to be more active, start to pay with credit cards, because eBay only accepts credit cards. The pluses are, in my opinion, much more than the minuses. Given our customs restrictions, up to 1,000 euros, you won’t be able to buy a lot, but all the same."
The creation of the Russian branch of eBay is a reasonable and promising solution, said the founder of online shopping center Wikimart, Maxim Faldin.
"Russia is a huge market, the most promising in Europe for online retailers,” Kommersant FM quoted Faldin as saying. “It is rather surprising that they were so late in coming to Russia. Moreover, Russia has joined the WTO and will probably simplify its customs procedures. Pochta Rossii will have a lot of work on this to do. If you go onto eBay.ru now, you will see that it is possible in principle to buy clothing at decent prices, but shipping will be expensive, and there are no returns. Russian buyers are used to free or low-cost shipping and easy returns. But I think they will develop within a year or two and they will have a normal service."
‘Horror, darkness and nightmare’
Eldar Murtazin, head analyst with Mobile Research Group, was not so optimistic, however.
"The main problem that neither Mr. Dolgov nor a Russian eBay office can solve is called Pochta Rossii,” Kommersant FM quoted Murtazin as saying. “Unfortunately, the horror, darkness and nightmare, which is the delivery of international parcels, will not change. What in Europe takes two-three days, in Russia turns to 40-60 days. The opening of the eBay office today will not change this. Perhaps if eBay’s Russian office said that it would take on the insurance of all goods, all the headaches associated with the mail, but I think Mr. Dolgov will not permit himself to lose $1 million a year just because Pochta Rossii does not work," said Murtazin.
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