Step № 13 – “Who is your customer in Russia? Can you describe in details? ”

“Your first 50 right steps to enter the Russian food market”.

Step № 13 – “Who is your customer in Russia? Can you describe in details?”

Why do I need this step Alexander? Is it really important what my customer in Russia is like? This step is for those who are already trading in the food market of Russia and whose sales do not develop or stop growing for some reason.

The reason is very simple – you do not know who your customer is in Russia. How old is he, how much does he earn, what is his job, what is he keen on, does he have a family, what does he like and dislike, what is his hobby? Who can now describe a customer for your food product in Russia? What exactly has attracted him to your product and why does he buy it? Does he recommend your food to his friends and acquaintances?

All this may seem trivial: you are a large company in your own country, you supply to many other countries of the world and everywhere sales go very well. But Russia is not the whole world, the Russian food market lives by its internal laws.

And this step is best to be done before you start entering the Russian market. You should prepare in advance, prepare your marketing tactics since without marketing there are no sales.

You need to know what your future potential clients love, their interests, and wait for them (read “advertise”) where they find information about you themselves, but do not receive it by email in spam section. For a Russian person it is very important to have an opinion and make a choice consciously. That is why simply advertising on the Russian Internet is a bad idea, it almost does not work. There is too much advertisement and the Russians simply do not trust it.

If you want your sales to grow, you need to be smarter and smarter. Start with looking closely at your potential customers, find out who they are.

There are so many ways to get this information. I will tell you about one of the simplest and the most effective one which I always suggest using to my clients in Russia. We will use one of the three most popular social networks in Russia – Instagram. You can do everything yourself and for free. This is a good first step and I am sure it will suit you.

Let us take for example extra virgin olive oil. Now there are dozens of hundreds of types of such oil on the food market of Russia, this is a very competitive segment. If you have decide to supply such oil to Russia, you have already learnt that there are suppliers of such oil from more than 10 countries, there are many different varieties, types, packages and prices. So, you immediately have a thought, “I will make the price even lower and everyone will buy from me!” No, they will not do this. For Russians, price is not always the main factor to buy. For example, Chinese food is very cheap, cheaper than many similar food products on the Russian market. But everyone knows that for such a low price you will get a very low quality and a quality you can never predict. How can you use this Chinese food in your production or sales to your customers in Russia, if the quality is constantly changing from batch to batch?

Open Instagram and type the hash tag “extra virgin olive oil” in the Russian language. If you do not know Russian, just use Google Translate. Click search and it will show you all the posts where there is such a hashtag. Next, you need to pay attention to the posts of people and not companies. You do not need to assess advertisements of other sellers now. You need posts of people who are not indifferent to olive oil, who are not even too lazy to create a post about it. These people are your potential future customers, your future “ambassadors”, these are olive oil fans who will promote and advise it to all their acquaintances. Since they love this oil, they understand its benefits and want all their friends, relatives and friends to be healthy too. Why? Because Russians are generous and kind.

After you remove irrelevant posts get a piece of paper and a few hours of your time and learn what you can about your future customers. It will take you several hours, but it will save you dozens of thousands of dollars on advertising that may be useless as it does not target your future customers.

Study these people’s profiles and you will understand what your customer likes to eat or wear, what interests he/she has and so on. Pay special attention to hashtags that are next to hashtags about oil. If they are in the Russian language, just copy them on a piece of paper, then translate it in any translator.

It is these additional hashtags that will help you understand what else your future customer is interested in. Maybe it will be fashion or maybe something related to kitchen appliances or young children or sports.

After that, summarize everything on a sheet of paper. Create a portrait/an avatar of your future customer of extra virgin olive oil. Be sure to give him/her a name. In our example with olive oil, I will call my future customer with a Russian name Olga. Informal version of this name is Olya, which sounds similar to the Spanish word “Hola” (hello). Why have I chosen Spanish? In Russia the best extra virgin olive oil is considered to be Spanish.

And now you just need to find the first 100 or 1,000 women like Olga. I would recommend this step especially to those companies that work on the food market of Russia through distributors. Ask them to describe your customer in Russia. Depending on how detailed their description is, you will understand how much your distributor lives your product, how much he understands its progress and how much he wants to grow the sales. I am sure you do care about the fate of your food products in Russia, aren’t you?

Yours faithfully,

Alexander Sinyanskiy

Business Adviser in the Russian Food Industry  

Please read the same my other steps:

Step № 2 – “Look at you products and website by the eyes of a Russian”

Step № 3 – “Do not offer commission!”

Step № 4 – “Learn and research about your future competitors”

Step № 5 – “Assess potential obstacles”

Step № 6 – “The most critical MUST-DO: localize and translate your food business into the Russian language”

Step № 9 – “Do everything only according to the law”

Step № 10 – “Corruption and crime”

Step № 11 – “Russian mentality. Do not even try to understand”

Step № 12 – “We are looking for a food distributor in Russia! Just one exclusive distributor!”

Step № 19 – “Always collect all the information about your Russian partners”

Step№ 21 – “GMO food, organic food and food additives”

Step № 24 – “Who are your potential clients in Russia?

Step № 26 – “Russian social networks”

Step № 32 – “Opening a Russian legal entity (LLC and JSC)”

Step № 33 – “Open a joint venture or buy a stake in a Russian business”

Step № 34 – “Opening a branch or a representative office of your company in Russia”

Step № 41 – “Are you thinking of selling your food franchise to Russia? Good idea!”

Step № 46 – “How to find a distributor or buyer for FREE in the food market of Russia”

Step № 47 – “Holidays and days off in Russia. What for? Of course for business”

Step № 48 – “E-commerce in Russia”

Step № 49 – “Start your food business in Russia remotely and manage all processes without problems”

Lack of customization for the Russian food market, on the example of a bread machine of a very famous global company.

You often ask me why I do not use Whatsapp? I answer!

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