Payment Gateways and Social Media; gateways to the world
While online spending in the UK represents 7% of GDP, that figure is dwarfed in comparison to the equivalent in one of the fastest emerging eCommerce markets of the World, Russia. Last year Russian online sales reached $19.5billon, with a prediction of $26billion in 2012, a figure which represents only 0.5% of Russian GDP. With such a small percentage it is suggested that there is a great deal of room for growth, both for companies seeking to penetrate the Russian market and also Russian companies seeking more business online from within their own boundaries through the implementation of eCommerce paywalls into content delivery sites and the steady rise of eCommerce retailers.
However, despite a market ripe for expansion there are logistical problems with a country as vast as Russia, especially with many outlying rural areas not yet switched on to using the internet. The key to developing an eCommerce hungry population might just be the rise of Social Media tailored towards Russian youths. While Facebook and Twitter are newcomers to the social media space in Russia, there are already a number of existing competing sites in the market to compete with the American giants, such as Vkontakte, a Russian social media service which has now turned its attention to the West. Investors from across the Atlantic are also flocking to across the old Iron Curtain to tap into this potential. eBay has actually started taking payment in rubles, while the venture capital company from Silicon Valley who helped Mark Zuckerberg on his way with Facebook, Accel Partners, has invested $20m in an online Russian based selling operation Kupi VIP.
With over 250 million Russian speaking people in the World there is undoubtedly an impressive market for the more established online and eCommerce brands to take advantage. Developing Russian centred online sites powered by paywalls and eCommerce payments or tailoring already successful western offerings to the market could spell a dramatic change in the Russian society, not to mention their GDP figures.
Delivering the required technology in the localised currencies and languages of the world can be the only sure fire way of successfully internationalising a brand and securing a share in emerging markets.More than that, with social media being the gateway in to a market such as Russia, it is equally key to ensure that the content on offer is also tailored with the market in mind.