Russia is one of the most overlooked prospects for overseas expansion, even with its massive, diverse population of over 140 million people. Imagine what possibilities you can unlock if your brand can reach even a portion of that large consumer base.
Most businesses tend to disregard the Russian market due to one factor: language barrier. What company decision-makers need to understand is that it only takes impeccable Russian customer service to overcome the obstacle.
Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of this largely untapped market. This article will cover what you need to know before entering the Russian market and how outsourcing Russian customer service can help your expansion goals.
Opportunities in the Russian Market: 3 Reasons Why Investing in Russian Customer Service Is Worth It
For businesses looking to expand their reach to international markets, research is crucial. You’ll need to carefully assess the needs and preferences of your target market, taking language and cultural differences into account while planning your expansion strategy. Here’s what you need to know about the Russian market (and why Russian customer service outsourcing is a worthy investment):
#1: Russia Is the Sixth Largest Economy in the World
As discussed earlier, Russia has a population of over 140 million people. In addition, the country has a GDP of $4.016 trillion and a steadily growing purchasing power. What this data shows is that Russia has the potential to become a powerhouse in the global economy.
Take a look at some vital data and statistics from a survey assessing the business outlook for foreign brands in Russia:
- A majority of international companies consider Russia a strategic market (92%)
- More than half plan to increase their presence in the Russian market (53%)
- The average revenue of these foreign brands in Russia is 1.19 billion USD
More and more international enterprises are exploring the potential gold mine in the Russian consumer market. Observers project the country’s economy to expand by 3.8% in 2021 and beyond. By investing in Russian-speaking customer service, your business can gain a competitive advantage and stand out from the competition.
#2: Russian Consumers Are Becoming More Open to Foreign Brands
Although entering the Russian market still presents unique challenges, foreign brands now have a greater chance to capture the attention and engagement of local customers. Russian consumers are now more open to international brands compared to about 10 years ago.
About 74% of Russians live in urban areas, and 15 to 25% of the population are considered middle class. These demographics offer rich opportunities for international businesses.
The real challenge is that Russian shoppers demand quality services, including stellar Russian customer service. This behavior means that marketing localization strategies are vital to capturing the market. One way of showing customers that you have their best interests in mind is by hiring Russian-speaking customer service professionals knowledgeable on the market’s culture and preferences.
#3: Russia Has a Rising E-Commerce Industry
Industry analysts have found active growth in Russia’s digital economy. In 2017, analysts estimated the Russian e-commerce market to be worth 13.7 billion euros. By 2023, they expect it to grow to almost 46 billion euros!
According to a Deloitte report, the most frequently purchased products by Russian consumers include:
- Food (61%)
- Home care products (55%)
- Alcohol (54%)
- Clothing and footwear (37%)
- Appliances and electronics (37%)
- Cosmetics (31%)
One research study has found that 65% of Russian internet users have reported shopping online at least once. The main reason cited by the respondents is that they find e-commerce easier for searching and comparing different products. This data tells us that Russian consumers prefer the convenience offered by online stores and like researching products before buying them.
Given this information, it is essential for businesses planning to tap into this market to invest in Russian customer service. Since Russian customers research products online, they may sometimes have questions about your products that need to be answered promptly. Having a Russian-speaking customer service representative can make the buying process easy and hassle-free for your target base.
What to Know Before Entering the Russian Market
Understanding why the Russian market is worth doing business with is only the first step. Now, let’s look at the culture-specific information you need to plan for while executing your expansion strategy to the Russian consumer market:
Utilize Social Media to Reach Russian Customers
Russia ranks 8th in the list of countries with the highest number of internet users, with an active user population of over 116.35 million. A large portion of this demographic uses social media sites. In fact, one research found that about 67.8% of the total Russian population used social media. That’s about 99 million users!
However, unlike in Western countries, Facebook isn’t as popular in Russia. Instead, they prefer using Russian social media sites like VK and Odnoklassniki. So, if you want to succeed in this market, hire Russian customer service agents familiar with these social media sites and understand each platform’s different rules and algorithms.
Invest in Mobile Marketing
Don’t overlook the power of mobile if you want to tap into the massive and lucrative Russian consumer market. According to Forbes, Russia is the 5th largest app market globally, boasting about 84 million mobile users. In addition to having a large population of smartphone enthusiasts, Russia also has low cost-per-install rates (costing half the cost-per-install rates in the U.S.), which marketers are bound to appreciate.
Localization is the key to tap into this emerging app market. For instance, Russians are more likely to choose apps from Yandex.store, which comes pre-installed on most devices in Russia, rather than Google Play or Apple App Store. In addition, offering culturally appropriate content and dedicated Russian customer service is great for catching the attention of Russian consumers.
Work on Building Relationships Among Russian Customers
Your main goal should be to overcome cultural barriers and build relationships of trust with your target audience. To find success in the Russian market, you have to understand how businesses operate in Russia and adapt to the needs and preferences of your customers.
How can this be done? Here are a few strategies to consider:
1. Speak their language. This strategy is essential. Only 3% of the Russian population can speak English fluently. Since the vast majority prefer speaking in their native language, hiring Russian-speaking customer service professionals will be the most effective way to communicate with your customers. Remember to hire a reliable translator to localize your content and marketing strategy as well.
2. Target your marketing efforts toward families. Russian culture is very family-oriented, and this attitude reflects in their consumer behavior as well.
In a survey that asked Russian consumers what they value most, a majority of respondents (83%) cited “family and home.” Shoppers are often willing to spend more if the product or service enhances the quality of life for their families.
3. Emphasize your products’ value and reliability. Russian consumers are known for being mindful and discerning about what they buy. They tend to cut back on products they see as wasteful and value long-lasting, high-quality goods.
When marketing to Russian consumers, highlight the reliability of your products and the value your brand can provide to customers. With Russian customer service outsourcing, you can ensure that your target base has access to the customer support they need, showing that your brand is dedicated to providing only the best products and services.
Work With a Reliable Russian Customer Service Outsourcing Company
Translation tools can only take you so far. What your brand deserves is a global expansion strategy that’s tailored to the specific cultural and linguistic needs of your target market. If outsourcing Russian customer service is what you need to achieve your brand goals, SuperStaff BPO is here to help.
We offer a variety of multilingual services, including Russian customer support. Our team helps empower clients as they craft effective country-specific business strategies, reach new markets, and improve overall customer experience. Reach out today, and let’s talk about how we can help set your brand up for long-term success!