Russian Amazon is led by mother of four children

In the absence of Amazon, Russian online retail has a landscape that differs to a large extent from the markets in most other countries. The Russian market is dominated by five companies, mostly supported by a local bank or a billionaire. Market leader, however, is Wildberries, a platform that was started by a Russian teacher on maternity leave.

That’s what Ilya Khrennikov, Russian correspondent of the Bloomberg news agency, says. Amazon has so far stayed away from the Russian market. This refers to political frictions and the logistical challenges in a market with eleven time zones.

Mail order

Tatyana Bakalchuk (42) is a mother of four children,” Khrennikov said. “She launched Wildberries fourteen years ago when she was on maternity leave as an English teacher. The intention was to create a platform where mothers could do their shopping with a limited budget and a lack of time. ”

“Bakalchuk started with a stock of textiles she ordered from a German mail order company, scanned the photos from the German catalog on its websites, did not pay customers in advance and orders were delivered to the consumer’s home by Wildberries. mail did not deal with parcel delivery. ”

“Wildberries started in the Bakalchuk apartment in Moscow,” says Bloomberg. “The orders were initially delivered by the founder himself by metro and bus in all possible corners of the Russian capital.”

Wildberries currently has fifteen thousand employees. The company achieved a turnover of 1 billion dollars last year. That meant an increase of 40 percent compared to the previous year. Wildberries is the largest online retailer of Russia with a market share of 7 percent. AliExpress and Yandex.Market do make larger turnovers, but only sell products from other parties and do not have their own offer. ”


“Wildberries has the most efficient logistics of all Russian webshops, but also has a loyal customer base,” says Fedor Virin, analyst at Data Insight consultant. “However, Wildberries works entirely with its own resources and is therefore vulnerable to competition from companies such as AliExpress, M.Video or, all of whom can count on a strong financial back support.”

“At the moment, the five largest market parties jointly control about a quarter of the Russian online retail, but there is certainly a consolidation, but ultimately only a few large parties will remain,” says Virin.

Wildberries currently has a value of more than 600 million dollars. Bakalchuk has already been approached several times by potential investors for a takeover, but these proposals have so far been invariably rejected.

In the meantime, Wildberries is taking its products directly from manufacturers such as Tom Tailor, s.Oliver and Adidas. The Russian online retailer now has a catalog with about ten thousand brands, including Asics, Geox, L’Oréal and Nike.

The company currently sells a wide range of products, including electronic devices. However, clothing and shoes still account for about 70 percent of total sales.

Claudio Cavicchioli, head of the Russian division of L’Oréal, testifies that Wildberries not only has a large customer base at its disposal, but can also rely on extensive know-how, an exquisite range and an excellent logistics network.

The Russian web store currently processes 150,000 orders per day and delivers orders with a fleet of more than six hundred trucks and vans in Russia and a number of neighboring countries. Wildberries also has seventeen hundred pickup points for products that ultimately do not want to purchase the customers.

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