Russian e-commerce platform goes global

A leading Russian provider of e-commerce solutions on Facebook has seen rapid expansion worldwide, with over 500,000 merchants in 175 countries using the programme.

The solution, created by Yury Zaytsev and Ruslan Fazlyev, enables clients to easily add online stores to a website or social network page in just five minutes. The easy-to-use online store-building platform has attracted over 500,000 merchants in 175 countries and has been translated into 45 languages.

The two programmers began developing the software platform Ecwid at the end of 1990s as they graduated from university and found few jobs in the provincial city of Ulyanovsk. Browsing the freelance marketplace, the programmers found many requests for help creating online stores, and decided to create a programme that would do so automatically.

Zaytsev and Fazlyev created X-Cart, the world’s first ecommerce platform to use the PHP scripting language. Their popularity grew on the value of the product. The demo version was free, and while commercial users needed to pay a one-time licensing fee, X-Cart was still much cheaper than its competitors.

The base created by their first venture was built upon in 2009 by Zaytsev and Fazlyev and became Ecwid. While X-Cart X-Cart was a useful tool for talented users adept at coding and programming, Ecwid is much more accessible. The programmers call Ecwid, “X-Cart for dummies.”

“We knew that there were numerous e-commerce companies that enable small and medium businesses to create an online store,” Fazlyev told Russia Behind the Headlines. But he found that none of them offered customers the possibility of easily adding a store to their existing web presence. Having been flooded by requests via X-Cart, the two programmers decided to take on the challenge themselves.

Since then, Ecwid’s international strategy has proven successful. Since moving to the U.S. the company has formed a partnership with Facebook to embed shopping carts on the social network. Merchants with up to 10 items in their store can use it for free while larger ones pay a maximum of $99 per month. The company has recently attracted investors to new e-commerce projects. In May the company raised $5 million from Russian-based international funds iTech Capital and Runa Capital. The latter previously gave $1.5 million to Ecwid in 2011.

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