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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

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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