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Ulmart and the Benefits of Hybrid Shopping

Published: August 14, 2013 (Issue # 1773)



  • Terminals at the new Ulmart store make choosing from the 40,000 items on offer quick and easy.
    Photo: Alexei Moskin

  • The new Ulmart store was built to original plans in less than a year.
    Photo: Alexei Moskin

  • A children's area offers tablets with educational games to keep the kids occupied and engaged.
    Photo: Alexei Moskin

  • With over 500 square meters of floorspace, the new Ulmart store looks unlike any other electronics retailer in St. Petersburg.
    Photo: Alexei Moskin

If you are ever in need of a new computer at 1 a.m. or if the tea kettle breaks down before breakfast, Ulmart is the only place to head. Open 24 hours a day, the electronics superstore is a one-stop destination for anything that runs off electricity.

Ulmart, which is one of the largest electronics retailers in Russia, opened its 30th cyber market in the north of St. Petersburg on Aug. 17. The new store, which measures a whopping 6,000 square meters, is the first that the company built from its own, original plans. Taking less than a year to complete, the store is pushing a new concept in hybrid online/offline shopping.

Unlike most electronic retailers, where row upon row of goods sit displayed on shelves and inside showcases, Ulmart is sleek and ultramodern with the goods sitting in a 4,000 square meter warehouse containing 40,000 different items attached to the selling floor, representing on of the largest selections in the city. The warehouse, for example, contains a choice of over 1,000 laptops alone.

Setting the store apart from the competition even further is the unique way in which the floor space that used to be taken up by product has been divided. The new shop has 65 terminals and is able to serve up to 5,000 customers per day. The sales floor is filled with oversized state-of-the-art touch screens and computer stations. A virtual display case allows customers to view merchandise by simply waving their hands in front of a screen.

The set-up will be familiar to anyone who has ever bought anything online but even for those trying this type of retail for the first time will have no difficulty orienting themselves to the new system with the help of a team of hostesses who are always on hand to help customers.

The store is divided into different zones. In addition to the terminals where customers can browse and choose their purchases, there are different zones for each step of the process that are clearly marked. Once a purchase is made, clients proceed to the payment zone where Ulmart accepts cash and credit cards. Customers who place their orders online are also able to use Yandex.money to complete their purchases.

Customers looking to make a purchase that may be bigger than their current bank balance stretches, a selection of banks is on hand to offer credit. The credit desks are staffed from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. making that impulsive purchase all the more difficult to resist. Credit can even be applied for through the company’s website and purchases either delivered or collected from the main shops or a number of outpost located around the city.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during today’s Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the center’s Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonight’s performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Center’s Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodina’s website for more details.



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