Following up my recent post about my personal experience with Enter.ru, I also recently made a purchase through e5.ru, the online project of X5 retail, Russia’s largest food retail group (operator of the Perekrestok and Pyaterochka chain of grocery stores, and Karusel hypermarkets).
I was shopping for a vacuum cleaner and there was a decent selection of models on the site. I selected three for further study. There were very few reviews on the e5.ru site and those that were there seemed less than authentic, so I made an Internet search on the different models and also checked on Amazon.com to see what customer reviews had been written about them. Through this process, I narrowed down my choice and made a final selection.
Similar to Enter.ru, there was no need to register on the site and provide an e-mail address, even though I am a cardholder of X5′s loyalty program. There was a field on the order page to enter my card number, so that I could accrue points for my purchase, but there was no verification or integration. It seems like a major lost opportunity to add data to their customers’ profiles.
The order page also had a field where a “promo code” could be entered, which prompted me to embark on a 20-minute fruitless Internet search for a valid discount code. The closest I could find was a 100-ruble discount for orders made before August 31, which I missed by 1 day. It was definitely a disappointment to know that I missed out on this opportunity, although 100 rubles is only a little over US$3. Anyway, I proceeded with finalizing my order.
E5.ru’s business model is slightly different than Enter.ru’s in that e5.ru is leveraging their legacy physical locations. The downside of this strategy is the requirement to train and motivate staff in these locations to take on additional responsibilities. X5 operates more than 600 retail locations, so you can imagine the scale of the effort required. I would be astonished if the process was seamless and streamlined, but I remained open minded. I selected the Perekrestok location close to my office and the order system told me that the item would arrive in 5 days, certainly far poorer than the next-day “fulfillment” promised by Enter.ru. This forecast arrival date was also confirmed by SMS. It was mildly irritating to be charged 75 rubles for the convenience of picking up my item at the store (while Ozon.ru also imposes a fee to pick up item at their distribution centres, pickups at Enter.ru locations are free).
When the day of anticipated delivery arrived, I had yet to receive any confirmation that my order was ready. I went onto the e5.ru website and made an online enquiry, and the system informed me that the order status was “en route”.
On Day 6, I received a system-generated SMS telling me that my item had arrived in the store, and that I could pick it up between 10:00-22:00. I then made my way to the designated Perekrestok store. There’s lots of signage promoting e5 at the checkouts, and there’s a small, lockable closet with the e5 orders, equipped with a hotline telephone:
The shelf had a number of other orders waiting for pickup, mostly on open shelves, while a few were inside a locked shelf (presumably due to their high value). The fixture didn’t seem capable of housing my vacuum, so I contacted one of the managers who went into the office, quickly retrieved my item, and showed me to the checkout. My payment was processed promptly by the normal cashier, although there were a few nuances. The outer packaging was for the transit and the cashiers are instructed to open the outer box and re-package the items in an orange e5 plastic bag. As well, there was paperwork to sign (in triplicate) which was not required for my Enter.ru purchase. Nonetheless, within a couple of minutes I was on my way with my brand new vacuum cleaner.
In the end, shopping at e5.ru was efficient. I ordered online, the product was sourced promptly and was waiting for me when promised. Apart from the 1-day delay, the process worked out very smoothly. I would not hesitate to use this company in future.
P.S. The day after I bought the vacuum, I received an SMS from e5.ru requesting me to provide a review of their service on Yandex Market, and providing me with a 200-ruble discount code for a future purchase. So, I’ve finally got my discount code!