A major e-commerce event took place in Kyiv (Kiev) on October 24, attracting 600 industry representatives. Among them, no fewer than 63 founders and directors of large online stores, trading platforms, financial services, investment companies and delivery services shared their views as panelists or speakers.
Among the discussed topics were state regulation issues, investments in the industry, the need for strategic planning and financial instruments, fulfillment and delivery services for online stores, data analysis and management (Big Data), mobile commerce and the transformation of offline companies into multichannel businesses.
The event took place in the vast buildings of the Olympiyskiy stadium in central Kyiv.
Several industry figures commented on the most controversial aspects of the new law regulating electronic commerce, which was adopted two months ago, and other regulation issues.
“Businesses and consumers were awaiting this law for years. It aims to make the market more regulated and transparent, which will help to attract investments to the industry,” said Ruslan Kalnitsky. Meanwhile, the law requires improvements: for example, it does not define the status of couriers.
Prom.ua founder and CEO Nikolai Palienko, OLX.UA CEO Sergey Gapochenko, Lamoda.ua CEO Katerina Mikula, Uklon founder Sergey Dyatlenko, PayForce executive director Ivan Istomin and Admicer development director Ivan Fedorov shared their experience in the field of mobile commerce.
“Now in Ukraine there are 15 million mobile devices, 35% of users access the Internet using multiple devices. In 1.5 years mobile penetration will reach 50%,” said Fedorov.
“Before the end of 2015, 14% of orders and purchases will come from mobile devices. In 2016 this share is expected to reach 20%,” he added.
Marina Krasnopolskaya, Head of Development at DV Bank, together with representatives of Privat Bank, Portmone.com, Center of Financial Decisions, Platon, Forpost, GlobalMoney and FinTechCluster discussed the development of financial services in Ukrainian e-commerce.
“In the next 5 years the market will move to cashless payments,” believes Taras Volobuev, development director at Portmone.com. “But now e-commerce is not ready to accept cards for payment, which is largely due to the predominance of ‘grey’ transactions.”
The event also featured an exhibition with more than 20 companies – including 1-C Bitrix, UCMJ, TMM, Platon and MTI logistics – presenting their products and services.
Nova Poshta, the country’s leading shipping operator, sponsored the event. “We have supported this event as we see a considerable growth potential in the Ukrainian e-commerce market,” stated company spokesman Maxim Arslanov.
Also supporting the event was DVBank, which claims to provide new-generation services in Ukraine. “Traditional banks are no longer able to fully satisfy the current needs of businesses,” said Marina Krasnopolskaya. She emphasized the importance of practical examples to explain the advantage of online services, as shown in the event.
E-commerce is the future of Ukraine’s retail, believe event speakers and attendees.
Market growth amid the crisis
According to the Ukrainian Association of Direct Marketing (UADM), Ukraine’s online retail market reached some $2 billion in 2013, up 25% from the previous year, which corresponded to approximately 2% of the total retail market. Market growth stopped in 2014 as the country entered a serious political and economic crisis, with market volume falling by some 20% in dollar terms due to the hryvnia’s fall.
Some positive trends are being witnessed in 2015, such as the development of mobile versions and mobile payment methods, improvement in marketing, usability and logistics, and the growth of several sites and marketplaces.
The UADM experts expect strong growth to resume when peace is restored. “Ukraine is likely to follow the path of such countries as Poland, Latvia or Russia, where e-commerce has witnessed dramatic growth over the past years,” the association wrote in a recent report.