UK etailers must be prepare to face tough competition from Russian ecommerce in the next five years, according to one of Russia’s largest consumer electronics retailers.

While the UK’s ecommerce capabilities are currently head and shoulders above Russia, M.Video’s chief information officer Chris Mangham said: “The penetration and characteristics of [Russian] ecommerce will catch up with the UK in the next five years”.

Speaking at the Oracle Retail Exchange, which took place during the NRF conference in New York, Mangham added that the Russian ecommerce market “is outpacing Europe”.

He predicted that between now and 2015 “the influence of the web in the [Russian] regions is going to grow massively”. He added it is vital that UK etailers are agile and forward-thinking, given that “the pace of change in Russia is so quick”.

M.Video launched its digital platform in 2009 and currently operates 37 ecommerce sites. Its mission for the coming year is to grow its ecommerce presence in the Russian regions, rather than just the capital.

“It’s a big place, it’s not straightforward – that’s the challenge. Both indigenous companies and new entrants are making big strides in Moscow and the regions. The challenge is to take ecommerce and retailing and push it into the regions,” Mangham said.

For M.Video, being an omnichannel retailer means having “a seamless integrated customer experience with an efficient back end,” according to Mangham. “We must create something simple and scalable,” he said.

The electricals chain has more than 360 stores across Russia and offers services such as in-store click and collect. It can also directly fulfil online orders from store.  

Mangham revealed the company has plans to open 45 digital stores this year, demonstrating the retailer’s commitment to bricks and mortar stores that combine digital elements. “We don’t think the store is dead - stores have to adapt. You can flex leaseholds more easily in Russia and you can bring the digital experience in,” he said.

Mangham also spoke of the need to arm staff with the same technological capabilities as consumers. “What we must be doing as technologists is give store colleague the same information that the customer now has. We need to empower and motivate them,” he said.