Generally speaking, if companies want to explore the online market, they have two options (i) selling their products through their own website or (ii) opening a store on an e-commerce platform. In this article, we will concentrate on the major legal aspects of the latter in the Russian market.
Step 1. Choosing an E-commerce platform
Due to the personal data protection regulations in Russia, the most successful e-commerce platforms oriented in the Russian market are domiciled in the country. According to the latest data, 65 percent of overall online purchases in Russia are effectuated on Russian e-commerce platforms.
Source: Data Insight, the first Russian research agency specializing in the e-commerce market
Most e-commerce platforms are specialized in certain types of products (electronics, cosmetics, clothes, etc.). It is recommended to check which platform might suit your product best.
Step 2. Register TMs
Some of the e-commerce platforms (e.g., WildBerries.ru) require merchants to also prove the rights for the use of the trademarks (TM). Therefore, foreign companies that do not have their TMs registered within the domestic territory of Russia, would need to register them before the opening of their shop on the e-commerce platform.
Note: It may be suggested, for the control over the use of the Russian TMs, to register them under the name of the mother company and then authorize the use of the TMs to a Russian subsidiary.
Step 3. Open a subsidiary
In order to open a shop on the platform, a foreign company would need to have a Russian subsidiary Exceptions arise in cases in which a foreign company’s shop is opened on a non-Russian e-commerce platform. In this case, specific requirements would be regulated by the laws of the country where the platform is registered.
Step 4. Prepare the documents for the ownership and quality certificates of the products
In cases where the company in question is a manufacturer of a final product, they would also need to prepare all passports, quality certificates and other documents providing evidence as to the ownership of the products.
Step 5. Registration on the platform
After all of the documents are prepared, a foreign company needs to submit an application with all related documents to the e-commerce platform. Based on internal rules, approval by the e-commerce platform may take from 3 days to 2 weeks.
Please note that the abovementioned information is presented as general steps to open a shop on an e-commerce platform in Russia. We at D’Andrea and Partners Legal Counsel have a team of experts who can assist you with your Russian e-ecommerce related queries. Please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.