‘The task is to create comfortable conditions for Tatarstan entrepreneurs to enter the e-commerce market’

The republic is going to host seminars on marketplaces for SMEs — the next step of the authorities and business ombudsman to develop e-commerce

In September, educational seminars for entrepreneurs dedicated to e-commerce will take place in Tatarstan cities with the institution of the republic’s Business Ombudsman Farid Abdulganiyev. The project will start in Zelenodolsk with the seminar E-Commerce As Entrepreneurs’ Future on 2 September. The same meeting will be in Yelabuga on 3 September, while the next seminars will be held in Kazan (6 September) and Laishevo (8 September). Realnoe Vremya newspaper has found out how and what entrepreneurs will be taught and what effect the organisers of the autumn business marathon expect. Read more about how the pandemic boom of e-commerce led to the launch of the project Marketplace.Legko, while Tatarstan is again in the leadership comparable to ancient Bolgaria, Old Kazan Fair and the influence of Tatar merchants in significance.

Who will be the main speaker of seminars on marketplaces?

The task of the series of seminars is to demonstrate the possibility of selling products or providing services online to businesses. Producers who almost always want to increase their outlet thus ramping up sales will be told how to do this differently by entering marketplaces.

Specialists will share Russian and international experience of work on such platforms. Yuliana Gordon who has been working in e-commerce in such companies as OZON, PayPal, Leroy Merlin, Megafon, S7 Airlines, Beeline, МTS, AIZEL since 2005. Consequently, she founded iWENGO e-commerce school and LENNUF platform designed to launch marketplaces. Today she chairs the expert council of the Tatarstan Centre for E-Commerce and is a member of the Russian Industry and Trade Ministry’s task force for e-commerce strategy development.

At the lectures devoted to e-commerce, the entrepreneurs will be explained how it works, what opportunities it can give Tatarstan businesses, which is in fact necessary to start successfully selling products or services via online platforms. Moreover, 57 million buyers in Russia and 2 billion people around the world already shop online.

E-commerce, which just recently was an exotic tool in Russia, is gradually driving out classic trade. One of the lectures about logistics as the main market driver will be given by speaker Yelena Salytova, director of SDEK delivery service in Tatarstan, Chuvashia, Mari El. It is a courier company, Russian operator of express delivery of documents and freight founded as early as 2000 to transport goods of Korzina.ru online store in Siberian Federal District. However, if the online project closed in the end, the auxiliary logistic operator turned into a federal player.

Ultimately, entrepreneurs will be told about the so-called marketplaces where 150,000 Russian entrepreneurs already sell their products. After the seminars end, their attendees will be given certificates, admission is free.

How did pandemic and e-commerce help launch Marketplace.Legko project?

The seminar was organised with the help of Marketplace.Legko Centre for E-Commerce, which opened this February. According to the Association of E-Commerce Companies, the e-commerce market in Tatarstan annually increases by 30%. In 2020, its turnover reached 67 billion rubles, while the share of online retailing already was 7% (5% in 2019).

By late 2020, the number of Tatarstan companies on Wildberries and Ozon rose by 60%: to 828 on Wildberries and over 500 on Ozon. The quantity of marketplace sellers grew 10 times last year, to 5,000. Moreover, by different estimates, more than 12,000 enterprises of the republic have big potential for trading via marketplaces. Today the centre assumed the functions of administering the e-commerce market of the region. The government of the republic, the Tatarstan Ministry of Industry and Trade and the business ombudsman’s institution plan to increase the commodity turnover of Tatarstan entrepreneurs in the federal e-commerce with the help of the centre. The key competence of the centre is e-commerce, particularly, marketplace commerce.

“The government of Tatarstan puts a lot of effort to create the infrastructure of logistic centres, attract leading Russian and global marketplaces to the republic, teach how to work with them. Our key task is to create comfortable conditions for Tatarstan conditions to bypass the fast-growing e-commerce market, which becomes one of the key outlets. Precisely the e-commerce market is the main factor of any business. Free educational events that are held by specialists of Marketplace.Legko Centre for E-Commerce in different municipal districts of Tatarstan turned out very popular among entrepreneurs that start to understand what competitive advantages e-commerce give them. The most important thing is not to miss the chance and know how to take advantage of a favourable situation,” Tatarstan president’s authorised Business Ombudsman and aide Farid Abdulganiyev told Realnoe Vremya.

How was the Centre launched at the height of the pandemic?

When opening the centre this February, the Tatarstan business ombudsman paid attention to the significantly accelerated transformation of commerce with the beginning of the pandemic making e-commerce the main channel to sell products for entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, logistic distribution centres of the largest marketplaces were already built and are expanding in Tatarstan, and this led to the opening of Marketplace.Legko centre.

In March, the experience of the country’s first Centre for E-Commerce started to be examined in Russian regions, also online. Omsk Oblast was the first to learn the experience. In June, Director of International Cooperation at Wildberries Alexey Dukhanin joined the centre’s expert council, which was absolutely logical. In 2020, the largest logistic centre of this company outside the Moscow area started operating in Zelenodolsk Industrial Park on an area of 100,000 square metres. During the first five months of 2021, the number of Tatarstan entrepreneurs on Wildberries rose 2,4 times, to 9,976. The amount of Tatarstan suppliers surpassed 1,5 billion rubles over this period. Later, Ozon online store whose logistic terminal is also built in Zelenodolsk on an area of 38,000 square metres became a technological partner of the centre.

As the website of Marketplace.Legko itself reads, in the next three years, e-commerce is going to rise by 4,4 trillion rubles. Last year, 10 million clients of Russia joined the online market, the market itself increased by 45%, the share of online clients has tripled in the last six years, the number of buyers of Russian online stores rose by 32% too.

This March, Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov and the government of the republic tasked the Centre for E-Commerce with having 700 Tatarstan companies in e-commerce. Now the republic ranks first in the Volga region and second in Russia after Moscow and Moscow Oblast in e-commerce. The autumn seminars are expected to work. We should note that by June 2021, more than 1,100 entrepreneurs have already attended seminars of Marketplace.Legko. By that moment, training was done in Bavly and Kukmor Districts as well as in Kazan, Nizhnekamsk and Almetyevsk. Lectures were organised in Naberezhnye Chelny and Bugulma.

Three-hour intensive seminar will help expand business

“At every seminar, we discuss the so-called triatomic business model to establish one’s own manageable sales channels in marketplaces and online platforms in general. Entrepreneurs mostly have questions about e-com infrastructure: how to create digital content, pack products and where to store them, how to promote and organise logistics. All these are key business processes of the sales organisation,” Yuliana Gordon explained.

“According to her, the so-called engine that helps entrepreneurs to have a look at business development differently during three hours of intensive training, to keep examining the market, turn to Marketplace.Legko and expand their businesses thanks to e-commerce. It is a unique experience for regions, to systemically approach the creation of e-commerce,” noted Yuliana Gordon.

By the way, Rustam Minnikhanov recently posted a video about the upcoming seminars on Instagram. It says that Volga Bolgaria whose heir is Tatarstan was at the crossroads of key trade paths. The ancient Kazan Fair was famous since the 12th century. While Yelabuga is still named merchants’ city for a reason — its bread market was a major commercial centre of the Kama area. Tatar merchants played an important role at all Volga fairs. As the video shows, 2021 became life-chaining in the development of e-commerce, while Tatarstan again started to play an important role in commerce, but now as a growth point of e-commerce (by the way, representatives of the biggest online platforms talk about the leadership of the republic in this respect). 10,000 entrepreneurs of the republic have already “achieved success” online. The video urges other entrepreneurs of Zelenodolsk, Yelabuga, Laishevo, Kazan to do the training organised by Marketplace.Legko and start to sell goods and services online.

Sergey Afanasyev