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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

Thursday, Sept. 18


Get your nerd on at Boomfest, St. Petersburg’s answer to the United States’ popular ComicCon. Starting today, this international festival of comics will take over venues throughout the city center and includes exhibitions of comics and illustrations, film screenings, competitions and the chance to meet the genre’s authors, artists and experts.



Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBA’s newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is “Handmade in Germany,” an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during today’s “Djembe and Vuvuzela,” a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of today’s round table discussion on “Interaction with Trade Unions” being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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