With only one quarter of its 106 million internet users using the web to shop, Eastern Europe has a large untapped market ready to be targeted.
Growing by a staggering 35.7 percent over the course of 2012, the region has demonstrated enormous potential for even further growth with Russia leading the way.
We look at 10 successful eCommerce enterprises from Eastern Europe’s top four performers in the field – Ukraine, Romania, Poland and leaders Russia, who account for a huge 78.5 percent share of this market.
10 - Holodilnik.ru (Russia, home appliances)
Russia’s fourth-largest eCommerce company in terms of revenue (€201 million 2013), Holodilnik is a leading supplier of home appliances. It offers an enormous range of products, from 1,200 types of dishwasher/washing machine to 1,800 refrigerators, delivering well over 2,000 products a day to the public.
9 - Stenikgroup.com (Romania, Bulgaria, Greece – eCommerce consultants)
The Stenik Group helps to create eCommercing excellence by developing websites and shopping portals for its customers. With over 10 years’ experience, it has transformed the online offerings of over 600 mostly Eastern European businesses, from Skoda to wholesaler Metro. Stenik also develops the mCommerce aspects of companies, including iPhone and Android apps.
8 - Sportaddict.ro (Romania, sports)
Winner of the sport, free time and entertainment category at the Romanian eCommerce Awards Gala in 2013, Sport Addict specialises in fitness equipment and winter/adventure sports gear. The company boasts a vast product range and promises delivery within 48 hours of purchasing.
7 Ozon.ru (Russia, shopping mall)
Ozon, an online shopping mall, is Russia’s third-largest online shopping provider with revenue of €209 million in 2013. Opening in 1998, it was one of country’s first eCommerce businesses and in 2009 the company extended its reach to include travel. Around 700,000 people visit the site each day.
6 - Metro.bg (Bulgaria, wholesalers)
Metro is one of Bulgaria’s leading wholesalers, supplying hoteliers, restaurateurs, grocers and offices across the country. It also has an academy aimed at training specific skills in the industries it serves. Opening in 1999, it offers 15,000 food products alongside 10,000 non-food items and has 14 stores to accompany its online service.
5 - Prom.ua (Ukraine, retailer portal)
Prom is an online portal for Ukrainian retailers, displaying a massive 352,000 companies and nearly seven million products to potential buyers. Launched in 2008/09, it won the award for best breakthrough at the Ukrainian eCommerce awards for 2012. Its credible expertise in the field benefits both shoppers and sellers.
4 - Shopart.ua (Ukraine, fashion)
Shopart was recognised for its excellent customer service at the Ukrainian eCommerce awards in 2012 and offers an extensive range of ladies’, men’s and children’s’ fashion. Part of its positive reputation with customers is its comprehensive guarantees on its products, accepting refunds up to three months after purchasing for its shoes.
3 - Covera.ro (Romania, garden and agriculture)
Awarded best Romanian start-up at the country’s eCommerce Awards Gala last year, Covera is a comprehensive online garden centre, tools specialist and farm supplier, providing seeds, pesticides, machine tools and lawnmowers, to name but a few. Orders are delivered within three to six days of booking and a 100 percent money back guarantee has built customer trust.
2 - Wildberries.ru (Russia, fashion)
Wildberries netted €223 million last year and is Russia’s second-largest eCommerce company. The fashion retailer has over 100,000 items across 1,000 brands in departments that include menswear, womenswear, children’s clothes, shoes, home and sports, and has been running for over nine years.
1 - Utkonos.ru (Russia, supermarket)
Russia’s online supermarket powerhouse Utkonos.ru (or platypus in English) generated some €230 million last year and will remain a big player in the rise of the Eastern European eCommerce market in years to come.
It is Russia’s top eCommerce retailer according to Ecommerce Europe and offers a gigantic array of products from grocery staples (making up 80 percent of company revenue) and laundry care items to pet supplies and novelty Belarussian goods.
The 27,000-product strong company has a 44,000 square metre warehouse and more than 3,000 employees, growing rapidly since its inception 13 years ago.
Priding itself on its huge range and competitive prices, its huge network of 500 delivery vehicles covers a sizable part of the enormous land mass, aiming to fulfil a growing demand in Russia for goods to be delivered to the front door. Its loyalty programme for customers is proving to be a big pull factor.