PrivatBank, a leading Ukrainian bank, has launched a network of offline e-commerce access points. These points, christened “Magazin,” are equipped with computers which allow users to place orders at local and foreign e-commerce sites. The sites currently displayed are Comfy, Praktiker, 5ok, TopMall, Gold.ua, daily deal sites Pokupon and Groupon, as well as eBay, Amazon and Alibaba’s subsidiary Aliexpress.
Shoppers are assisted by employees of the bank to create orders, organize shipments from foreign stores, clear customs (if the sum of the order is in excess of 150 euros), or obtain credit for a purchase.
According to the press service of PrivatBank, the goal of the project is to teach clients to buy online and pay for purchases with cards. According to their information, 55% of Ukrainians carry out purchases with cash and only 2% are not afraid to pay for items through the internet, reports Retail Community, an online portal on the Ukrainian retail industry.
Purchases made with the help of the new service can be picked up at a number of ‘postamats’ (self-pickup points), a network which has also been developed by PrivatBank. These boxes, of various sizes, offer a place where a parcel can be delivered and stored until the client comes to pick it up. The service is being tested in Dnipropetrovsk (Dnepropetrovsk), a city in Eastern Ukraine, where eight stations have been set up. Within a month of operations, around 1,500 clients have received packages with the help of the service.
By the end of the year, the bank plans to create 200 postamats within its branches. In order to receive the item, the client must submit identification with the help of the bank’s self-service terminals.
PrivatBank is not the first to introduce such self-pickup points in Ukraine. Since 2012, the Moscow-based network Pickpoint has been operating in the country. According to Pickpoint general director Igor Ort, their network is comprised of 480 postamats in Ukraine, set up in trade centers, supermarkets, and gas stations. Over the past two and a half years, Pickpoint postamats have been used by more than 200,000 clients. Ort believes that a lack of transparency of the business of online retailers has been one of the complications hindering the development of the service. “Companies which operate legally welcome us. We do not work with shady companies,” he says.
However, many customers are not yet used to working one-on-one with the machines. “As far as I can recall, all of two clients have used this service within the past year,” says Ekaterina Shlak, manager for client relations at online retailer Barbaris.
In 2013, the Ukrainian e-commerce market reached $2 billion, up 50% from the previous year, and involved 2.8 million consumers, according to the Ukrainian Association for Direct Marketing (UADM). 85% of orders of physical goods were paid for in cash upon delivery.
- The UADM association is preparing the first ever report on the Ukrainian e-commerce market in association with Ukraine Digital News. For more information, please contact us.