“Your first 50 right steps to enter the Russian food market”.
Step № 46 – “How to find a distributor or buyer for FREE in the food market of Russia”
“Alexander, find us a buyer / distributor in Russia!” 90% of the messages I daily receive from foreign companies begin with this phrase. I have business contacts in 240 countries of the world, but this request is the same for everyone. Today I will teach you how to find a distributor or buyer in Russia for free.
Before you approach a potential distributor or customer in Russia you should have some preparatory work done. The absolute minimum is as follows:
- make a list of future customers,
- study potential future risks of working in the Russian market,
- define advantages and disadvantages of your products when compared to similar Russian products,
- analyze your future competitors,
- conduct tastings and evaluate real chances of your product on the Russian food market,
- translate your website, social networks and all advertising presentations into Russian,
- publish several articles about your company and your products in Russian Internet media.
You can also start selling your products via several online stores or social networks in Russia. For this purpose you will not need to open a legal entity or a branch in Russia. Only after you complete the above mentioned tasks you can contact distributors and buyers. You can negotiate with them on your own or hire a representative in Russia who can perform all these tasks for you.
With this proper preparation to enter Russian food market 99% of you will succeed in a fairly short period of time. Moreover, you will be able to avoid unnecessary and pointless expenditures.
If you think you can skip this preparation stage and your food products are so wonderful that buyers in Russia will line up to get it because your products are loved and known both at home and in many countries of the world, the easiest way how you can find a distributor contacts is described below.
You (or your friend who lives in Russia) should simply go to several largest supermarkets and stores in the city. These are normally Magnit, Pyaterochka, Perekrestok, Auchan, Metro and some others. The first three food retail chains exist in almost each Russian city.
For example, you want to supply tea, so you look at shelves with tea. According to the law, if a food product is imported to Russia, then an importer or distributor is written on the product packaging. The largest food companies in Russia usually do both import and distribution. So, you just copy contact details of distributors – their exact address, telephone and email. Later, you just need to contact each distributor and negotiate with them.
This method works with all packaged food products. With vegetables and fruit it is going to be a little more difficult. These products are rarely put on shelves in their original packaging. So, you will need to wait for the staff to unpack the products and put them on the shelves. The unpacking of goods usually takes place in the first two hours after the opening of the store. This is from about 9 to 11 am.
The second method does not require having friends in Russia. All you need is a smartphone or a computer and the Internet. Do not use Google for browsing and searching the Russian web. Use Yandex – a Russian browser and search engine which finds information in the Russian language much better than Google.
About 80% of websites in Russia do not have English translation. Not to mention other languages. This is due to two main reasons. Firstly, Russia is a big country and there are enough customers within the country and they all speak Russian. Besides that, all CIS countries (10 countries) and the countries of the Customs Union (5 countries) also use Russian as one of their state languages. Secondly, in Russia very few people speak English though it is taught in schools and high schools.
Install Yandex browser from www.yandex.ru. By default it should be installed in the language of your country. When you open websites in Russian, Yandex browser will immediately suggest that you translate the webpage into your native language. A hint will appear in the upper right window. Click on it and read the translation from Russian into your native language. For example, when I open websites in French, Spanish or Arabic, I use this function to scan the text and find the information I need quickly. You will understand the essence of the text on the page, which is better than not understanding the Russian language at all.
Let’s say you sell mangoes and you are looking for a distributor. Open any online translator. You can even use Google, it can translate simple texts into Russian. Write the phrase “fruit distributor in Russia” in your native language and translate this phrase into the Russian language. Copy the result of the translation and paste it into Yandex browser search bar. The search engine will find Russian websites with information about fruit distributors in Russia. There will be plenty of contacts, so you will be able to send your proposals directly to your potential buyers and offer your products.
Let’s say you sell olive oil and you are looking for a direct buyer, not a distributor. Simply write “olive oil stores in Moscow” or “buy olive oil in Russia” in an online translator. Copy and paste the results into Yandex search engine and the search will give you a list of online stores and wholesale companies that sell olive oil. Look through and analyze these websites. Yandex browser will translate them from Russian into your native language. Choose the companies that are interesting for you and send them your offers.
Sounds simple? Yes, everything is simple, you do not need to know the Russian language or to use state-of-the-art technology.
How to succeed?
If everything is so simple, why do you need to do so much preparatory work? Let me share a small secret with you.
I was born and raised in Russia. In my 38 years, I have seen hundreds and thousands of foreign companies that tried to enter the Russian market. Many of them had a lot of money and most of them destroyed their self-confidence. They did not want to understand a simple truth – Russia has its own business laws and regulations. Global business experience and customs do not work in Russia. If you really want to enter the Russian market and be a successful company, play by Russian rules. These rules may seem wild and be difficult to understand for you, but they have been there for very many years.
Business Solutions in the Russian Food Industry
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