Finnish company Caima, based in Lappeenranta near the Russian border, has opened a web store selling tax-free sports and fashion goods which is targeting Russian tourists and consumers in addition to its Finnish clientele. Russian customers can either collect the goods in person or have them delivered tax-free to Russia. Caima is also aiming to provide an easy retail channel for other suppliers to the Russian market.
“We are marketing our web store actively in different media and the social media in Russia. The web store is receiving orders from the whole Russian-speaking area from the Baltic to the Barents Sea, and also from the Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakstan,” says Timo Miettinen, CEO of Caima. Miettinen used to work for Nokia and Vaisala and has set up the business with the help of a startup fund for former Nokia employees.
Huge growth in online shopping
Caima’s plan is also to offer an easy channel to the Russian markets for other suppliers and manufacturers. “We are actively looking for other suppliers that fit with our product selection, and we also provide consultancy to other retailers about online retail in Russia and tax-free web retail,” says Miettinen, who has a great deal of knowledge about ecommerce in Russia thanks to his previous work.
Online shopping is booming in Russia, with an estimated annual growth rate 30%. The total value of web purchases by Russians is estimated to reach EUR 36 billion by the year 2015. So far only a few Finnish companies have started to tap into the huge potential of the Russian market with their own Russian language web stores.
Source: Federation of Finnish Commerce