Global e-commerce is expanding very fast: by 2025 its share in the global retail market will be between 20 and 25%. Earlier, experts got together at the Analytical Center to discuss whether Russia is ready to jump on this bandwagon and what needs to be done to develop exports through e-commerce.
"Globalization is an irreversible process and the principles it's going to be based on depend on what kind of social structure we're going to end up with," believes Artyom Sokolov, the Executive Director of the Association of Internet Retailers.
Mikhail Sneg, the Head of Exports Policy and Analysis at AO Russian Exports Center, sees a number of logistical, regulatory and taxation related problems that are holding back the growth of e-commerce in Russia. "The bulk of e-commerce we're seeing in Russia is comprised of imports rather that exports," Mr Sneg said. "We have to remember that there are precious few exports e-commerce sales at the moment and there are two causes of that. First, there aren't really that many goods and services that can be exported in this manner. Second, today e-commerce is not particularly convenient, it's expensive and it often lacks transparency." Most manufacturers are not ready to deal with issues specific to the countries of their potential partners. In addition, because of Russia's geographical distance from many countries of the world, Russian companies need to create logistical centers in the regions they want to make sales in to cut lead times.
"Unless there is change, there won't be any exports in principle," believes the managing partner of Crafts Fair Denis Kochergin. In his opinion exports from Russia can grow if retail and wholesale exports are treated differently.
The round table participants discussed solutions to existing problems. Thus, one thing that was discussed was whether it would be possible to go back to using customs declarations as well as simplify the procedure for getting customs clearance for exports worth less than a thousand euros.