The gray area that distinguishes a rival from a friend is amorphous anywhere in payments and E-Commerce, but no more so than overseas. The latest example comes from Russia, where eBay is now permitting some of its largest E-Commerce rivals there to sell their products on eBay.
The move is important as eBay—which only launched it’s Russian language site last year—tries to ingratiate itself with Russian shoppers, as part of a strategy of wooing European consumers.
“The announcement Tuesday (Sept. 30) comes despite Russia’s flagging economy, which is expected to barely grow this year amid Western sanctions for Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict,” noted The Wall Street Journal. “With more than 60 million Internet users—the largest number in any country in Europe—Russia has been a prime target for foreign e-commerce giants.”
This week’s move will permit eight online stores, including Wikimart.ru and Citilink.ru, to sell within eBay within Russia. But the story quoted Vladimir Dolgov, eBay’s CEO in Russia, saying that “the next step will involve medium-sized and small merchants, including mom-and-pop stores and registered entrepreneurs, selling their goods via eBay within Russia. The final step will involve Russian vendors selling their goods globally on eBay.”
The payments part, though, is a little more complicated. “Russia’s e-commerce market has been tricky for foreign companies to navigate mainly because Russians stubbornly prefer paying in cash for the goods they order. To accommodate this peculiarity of the Russian market eBay is offering customers an option of making their orders online but paying for them at the vendors’ offices. ‘This is unique to Russia,’ Dolgov said. The company will be charging no commission for these sales ‘for a while,’ Dolgov said without elaborating on how long this may take. eBay’s payment unit PayPal will charge its own commission though, he added.”