Product marketplaces will help SMEs reduce costs – ExpertRU

The Bank of Russia, the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Federal Antimonopoly Service are discussing a draft law that will create conditions for the development of commodity marketplaces. These platforms are designed to help small and medium-sized businesses in purchase and sale transactions and become an effective alternative to commodity exchanges.

“The bill is aimed at creating a new infrastructure for trade in goods by providing economic and legal conditions for the formation in the Russian Federation of digital trading platforms (marketplaces of the commodity market) for organized trading in goods (raw materials and finished products) on the basis of a trading system license issued (by analogy with a license exchanges) by the Bank of Russia,” the explanatory note to the document states.

According to the authors of the draft law, the current exchange infrastructure is mainly focused on providing standardized services for participants in the large-scale wholesale market. However, in the face of sanctions pressure, limited access to foreign data and the global market, Russia has become in demand for alternative services, including those with a basis for the formation of domestic prices for Russian goods in the trading mode.

First of all, they should become a help for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). The Central Bank of the Russian Federation will be called upon to regulate and control these trading systems. This should ensure their transparency, as well as allow the formation of verified and correct market information based on the results of trading.

In addition, it is planned that a whole ecosystem of services for the storage, delivery and transportation of goods will begin to form around marketplaces.

Business circles are currently closely monitoring the development of the situation around new trading floors. However, to say that they are already very popular among entrepreneurs would be an exaggeration. Perhaps the business just has little information yet.

According to open data published on the website of the Central Trading System for 2022, only 7 joint-stock companies and limited liability companies were included in the list of bidders. All listed societies represent regions. They were admitted to trading after March 18. Whether this decision was influenced by the imposition of sanctions by Western countries is a rhetorical question.

There is currently no consensus in the expert community regarding the effectiveness of product marketplaces. Thus, Inna Anisimova, General Director of the PR Partner communication agency, noted that, in general, marketplaces are in high demand among the audience, and therefore the new project is likely to work and benefit the business.

“For the buyer, the task of searching and choosing will be simplified – all options are in one place. Sellers will be able to get new customers quickly if they can apply marketing techniques,” she suggested in an interview with an Expert correspondent.

In addition, according to Inna Anisimova, the “entry” of companies to the market will be simplified by reducing costs. For example, the minimum amount of own funds for a trading system that provides trading services only on the commodity market will be reduced by 10 times – from 50 to 5 million rubles.

In turn, the director of the Institute for Socio-Economic Research of the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Doctor of Economics Alexei Zubets doubted the ability of marketplaces to bring the country’s economy to a new level.

“I personally do not really believe in marketplaces, because those that were created earlier, including those with the support of the Central Bank, and based on ecosystems created by various banks, did not show particularly brilliant results. The main conflict is that it is very difficult to fit a business into some standard framework. Companies may have the same nature of activity, but in terms of meaning, specifics, and markets, they will not match. Therefore, here the generalizing approach usually does not bring results. And then any small businesses know their potential customers much better than the organizers of the next marketplace,” Alexei Zubets told Expert.

On the other hand, the organization of the marketplace itself does not carry anything negative, the doctor of economic sciences noted. There is no doubt that for a number of companies, working within the framework of such projects will bring obvious benefits.

“Marketplaces, of course, will help a certain number of companies: they will provide someone with preferential financial resources, someone will be helped with payments, with the search for warehouses, and so on. But the previous marketplaces did not become a breakthrough for the Russian economy. I think the same picture will be now,” Alexey Zubets summed up.

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