Central regions | Retail, FMCG | Technology & innovation
New certification service aims to make online shopping safer
4 Oct '12
While users’ lack of trust remains a major obstacle to the development of e-commerce in Russia, a notable initiative to certify e-shops was announced earlier this month. East-West Digital News, the international resource on Russian digital industries, reported yesterday that Trusted Service (in Russian: ‘Nadezhnaya Pokupka’), a newly established Russian company, has started certifying the reliability of e-commerce sites.
Trusted Service didn’t start from scratch. Having received ?500,000, or about $675,000, in investment funding from KupiVIP E-Commerce Services, a division of KupiVIP Holding, the company acquired Imobzor.ru, an online e-commerce rating portal. Imobzor publishes consumer reviews and reports on test orders of items from rated sites. It also issues its own seal of approval based on 10 quality criteria.
Trusted Service is now going deeper, with an expansion to no less than 108 criteria. “We check out everything from the legal support to sales and logistics operations, and place orders to test the merchant,” Trusted Service Managing Director Stanislaw Bai told East-West Digital news.
Online retailers are charged 30,000 rubles, approximately $1,000, to undergo the rating procedure. Upon request, Trusted Service will also provide the e-retailers with consulting services to help the retailer meet quality standards.
Trusted Service claims to have certified two dozen e-shops so far, with 40 other sites currently in the testing stage. “Some of the applicants were already rejected because the service level was not good enough. We believe that 20% of Russian online retailers cannot be considered to be fully satisfactory and trustworthy,” says Bai.
While in the West, thousands of online retailers are certified by a variety of organizations, e-commerce certification is just beginning in Russia. Trusted Service and its affiliate Imobzor have no direct competitors, even though the consumer rating system of Yandex Market, the leading online marketplace, has a strong influence on consumer behavior.
In June, a dozen of the major Russian online retailers founded the ‘Association of Internet Commerce Companies’ (AKIT in Russian), with the aim of combating market opacity and distortions as well as of “guaranteeing users’ security and trust.” The association announced it will promote standards for delivery practices, return policies, and payment methods, and it will issue a special ‘seal of quality’ label to qualifying online retail sites to raise user trust.