EBay Inc. will now allow the sales of products by major Russian online stores on its website. This step is move by EBay towards tapping into the potential offered by Russia – the largest Internet user base in Europe.
The company launched its website in the Russian language in 2013. It says that this decision will help it appeal to smaller sellers and widen its range of product offerings.
Tuesday’s announcement comes despite the flagging economy in Russia. The country – faced with numerous international sanctions because of its role in the conflict in Ukraine – is expected to show minimal growth.
But, EBay’s decisions paint a different picture. According to Wendy Jones, the company’s VP who overlooks expansion plans, Russia remains a ‘top priority’ for EBay. She says that with Russian merchants being able to use EBay for selling their products, sales in Russia could receive a major boost.
Russia reportedly has over 60 million users with Internet access – this is the largest for any European country. This also explains why Russia is considered as a major target for foreign e-commerce players.
As many as eight major online Russian stores (all small-size) will now be allowed to use EBay to sell their products. Eventually, the company plans to also allow large and medium-sized companies to sell on the EBay website. The company said that it will move to the next stages of expanding its sales plans by the end of 2015.
The growth of the e-commerce industry in Russia has been adversely affected because Russians are averse to making online cash transactions, and instead, prefer to pay in cash on delivery.
EBay also recently entered into an agreement with the Russian postal services office, and signed an agreement with China for faster shipments to Russia from other countries.