— How much more difficult is it to conduct a business online and offline at the same time, as compared to the management of a traditional shop? Surely they are quite different marketing technologies and different logistics?
— The technologies are certainly different, so we have different teams responsible for online and offline”, Nastya explains. “But we try to give the customer complete freedom of choice and to make shopping as convenient as possible on both platforms. That is the whole point of the Omni Channel concept. This strategy is well developed in the USA and Europe, but in Russia we were one of the first to apply it.
— And how does all this look in practice?
— For example, a girl comes into a shop, tries on a dress and likes it. But she still wants to ask her friend’s opinion, or maybe she doesn’t have any money with her. On the other hand, on a website, if you have doubts about buying online, you can go to the nearest shop and try on the article that interests you. And this allows us to study the habits and preferences of customers and offer them precisely what they want. The startup’s turnover is growing at a rate of 150% a year. A rate like this requires considerable investments. The first to support the project were the Russian funds ru-Net Holdings and Kite Ventures, which invested two million dollars in the startup. They were joined by the French fund Ventech, which invested three million dollars in TrendsBrands.ru in 2013.
— What are your risks and difficulties?
— In Russia we have great problems with logistics, so clients are not willing to pay for their orders in advance, which immediately affects the whole economic basis of the project. There are no internet stores in the USA like ours, with such variety and such accessible prices. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Therefore every time I find myself in the American environment, I begin thinking, not without regret, how much simpler everything would have been if TrendsBrands.ru had started life there.
— There is an opinion that foreign venture investors in Russia prefer to invest their money in analogues of Western projects. Do you find this to be the case?
— No, it is important to us that investors should value and understand our uniqueness, the fact that we are not a copy, but an original business project. Funds are usually afraid of such projects, but the one who takes the risk is the one who drinks the champagne.