Russian wildberries go Europe
Will this russian marketplace get started?
The CEO of the online fashion retailer Wildberries has said she has her sights set on expanding into Europe. Speaking at the Women in Retail breakfast session, Tatiana Bakalchuck further justified her plans of expanding into Europe. The Ceo stated that she can bring something new and different to the European fashion retail table and thus provide new experiences.
The self-made billionaire thinks the reason for their success is that they combine online and offline shopping and allow women to try on clothes in their small stores dotted around the country.
What is Wildberries?
Wildberries is an online Russian retailer. Founded in 2004, it is now the largest E-Commerce platform in Russia. The CEO, Tatiana Bakalchuck, managed to spot a market niche while she was on maternity leave from her job as a teacher. She noticed that there were hardly any fashionable clothes for young mothers. She also realised how hard it was for mothers to take time out of their day to go shopping for clothes, which is the main reason why she initially released the platform online.
Due to some rather intelligent strategy, Wildberries actually managed to expand during the 2008 financial crisis. This was due to the fact that many retailers were happy to offload their stock at a significant discount, and Tatiana took advantage of this. By being able to purchase stock at the discounted rate, she was able to undercut her competitors who were nervous about having a stock-heavy strategy during the crisis. She started up the company from her apartment in Russia and its worth quickly grew to an estimated $1.9 billion.
What does the future hold for Wildberries?
Wildberries has had a great year. With the Russian E-Commerce market expanding in H1, Wildberries managed to take a staggering 31% of the market share. Not only is it the largest E-Commerce retailer in Russia, but it is actually the largest clothes retailer as well which is something that is striking in a country that has limited access to the internet.
The company now has 500 stores throughout the country to compliment its online efforts. It remains to be seen whether it will expand into Europe. Whether this will happen on an E-Commerce basis first or if Wildberries will bring its mixed model over and thus try to strike the delicate balance between online and offline sales remains to be seen.
One area it may find it needs to focus on is brand protection. If it is going to expand its model it is likely that at some point it may need to take on a third-party marketplace model like many of their competitors.