The apparel retailer offers free shipping to Russia for orders over $100.
Katie Evans , Managing Editor, International Research
Amazon-owned women’s apparel retailer Shopbop.com has launched a Russian-language site. The announcement marks the latest in a string of e-commerce companies moving into Russia in an attempt to gain major market share early in a country where online shopping is rapidly picking up steam.
Shopbop, which launched in 2000 and was purchased by Amazon in 2006, launched the site at ru.shopbop.com. The site offers free shipping to Russia for orders over $100 and a customer service e-mail address specifically for Russian shoppers where they can receive help in their native language.
As part of its efforts to drive sales in the country, Shopbop says it also will post regionally relevant news and updates on its Russian Facebook page, and that its Russian site will feature regional trends, style news and information on global fashion events.
The site also includes boutiques consumers can shop with themes such as Wedding, Basic Essentials and Workwear. Personalization features include the ability for consumers to sign up for updates on new products and news from their selected favorites designers.
Consumers also can sign up to receive marketing e-mails that feature sales, new arrivals and news about their favorite designers—all in Russian.
Web sales in Russia will grow from $12 billion in 2012 to $36 billion by 2015, forecasts investment bank Morgan Stanley. Russia has the largest online audience in Europe with 61.3 million web users, or 15% of Europe's total of 408.3 million, according to web measurement firm comScore Inc. And, after Italy, it boasts Europe's fastest-growing online population, up 15% in 2012 from about 53.3 million in 2011.
Russia's online sales potential is attracting big international players. Online marketplace eBay Inc. in March announced a major investment designed to grow its business in the region. Its efforts include a Russian-language site and mobile initiatives in collaboration with local merchants to drive Russian consumers into stores. U.K.-based apparel retailer Asos Plc Holdings also recently put a team on the ground in the country and is developing a dedicated Cyrillic web site and marketing team for the region.