To Russia, With Wings
The lynx (Lynx Lynx) is one smart cat, this much we know – but a flying lynx? (Sure, in Finland even reindeer fly, but nobody said it was contagious…) Talking with Marko Kangaskolkka, the Managing Director of Kotka-based company Flying Lynx, one soon realizes what’s really going on: it’s online shopping deliveries that are now about to take off.
Marko Kangaskolkka explains that the prime focus for the company’s operations right now is Russia – how does one make the flow of international online purchases as smooth as possible? The Russian customer base is eager to order products from abroad, but both bureaucracy and complicated online procedures have been able to hold back the tide. Until now, Kangaskolkka argues.
“We came up with a comprehensive service to deal with the issues. Now you can get the total package for your online business needs,” he promises.
Having launched concrete operations only earlier this year, Flying Lynx is not exactly an old company, but the enterprise does have a wealth of experience when it comes to Russian trade. Kangaskolkka himself, for instance, worked in Moscow for two years while taking care of Panasonic’s logistics in and around the Russian capital.
E-recipe for success
But why should companies choose Flying Lynx, as there are other ways to crack that Russian market, too? – Kangaskolkka replies that his company provides “a unique concept” which combines sales on different channels, delivery management and convenient money repatriation.
“In essence, Flying Lynx will bring the client’s products to the sales channels where millions of customers make purchases every day. Sales on different channels, and also the deliveries themselves, are managed through just one operating system.” Flying Lynx’s service package includes the whole supply chain management from suppliers’ premises to delivery at customer’s door, including country specific documentation and customs clearance.
Value for Investment
Kangaskolkka points out that making costly investments into e-commerce systems is not required at all with Flying Lynx. All that the client needs to do, in fact, is to send a product card to Flying Lynx. The full service package will cost a fixed monthly fee, pure and simple.
“You can bring your products to different sales channels by creating one product card and start sales straight away,” says Kangaskolkka.
What’s more, the consumers in target countries can pay their orders by using their local payment methods. Flying Lynx repatriates payments to the client’s bank account in euros.
“Another big upside in this concept is that there is no need to get product certification from Russia when goods are sold directly to consumers,” adds Kangaskolkka. This allows clients to start selling their products as soon as products are available in sales channels.
Flying Lynx has a warehouse, located in Kotka, Finland, available for clients that operates as a customs terminal. If products come from outside the EU and are going to be sold in the countries outside the EU, the client does not need to import goods and pay duties & VAT.
“This means that the client can sell products directly from our warehouse and significantly cut costs in the process.”
Just Getting Started
Kangaskolkka admits that, as of yet, the business is not soaring as high as it could be. Finnish companies, for example, are very cautious about dipping their toes into the Russian market right now. Nevertheless, looking at the tremendous global potential, one quickly gets the feeling that this could be a very strong business in the future.
“We have, for instance, Swedish and Estonian clients that are developing their Russian operations,” he says while adding that there have also been talks with German players.
Furthermore, Flying Lynx has, in addition to Russia, specific channels for companies looking to break into the European or Asian markets, but presently Russia is the company’s biggest priority.
“We have dozens of clients that we are helping to do e-commerce in Russia. One year from now, we expect that there will be hundreds of companies that are using our service.”
Quality Wins the Day
But what type of products are well suited for this kind of a scheme? Kangaskolkka says that quality products with well-known brands are steady e-sellers, if they’re not too high-end. Hit products can be anything from children’s fashion to vitamins, allowing that they already have a “brand halo” that is highly recognizable.
“Russian consumers are more likely to purchase online if they already know and like the brand.”
According to Kangaskolkka, even strong brands may not be able to make a dent in the Russian market, if the marketing efforts are not localized with care:
“According to studies, perhaps only 5-10 % of Russian consumers know English well enough to base their purchasing decisions purely on that. That is why we have opted to provide Russian-language services from the start.”
International Business in Kymenlaakso (IBIK) has supported Flying Lynx.