Decathlon has begun to sell its products online in the country through the Tmall marketplace of AliExpress Russia, instead of using its own internet platform as in other countries.

Until now, Decathlon Russia has been selling its goods exclusively through its network of brick-and-mortar stores. The company also has plans to sell its private label items through other online stores in Russia, but no agreements have been inked yet.

As of today, Decathlon sells 2,000 SKUs through Tmall in Russia, and the range will be gradually expanded in the future. Decathlon will manage the delivery of the products to the customers on its own. At the moment, Decathlon runs 20 stores in Moscow, six in St. Petersburg and nearly 30 in the Russian provinces.

According to Decathlon, the initiative is meant to pursue the company’s goal of making sport more available to Russian people, as the new online sales program through Alibaba is expected to enlarge the targeted audience.

The synergy with Decathlon should also be beneficial for Tmall, generating higher customer traffic through the marketplace. AliExpress Russia wants to expand the pool of suppliers in the fashion category by attracting both big international companies and some local suppliers.

Reportedly, Decathlon has been working with Tmall in China since 2010, and the retailer expanded the relationship in 2015, joining brands like Lafuma and Timberland on a program to promote the practice of outdoor sports.

A few weeks ago, as reported in our last issue of Shoe Intelligence, Russia’s biggest shoe retailer, Obuv Rossii, announced that it was turning to the Tmall portal of Aliexpress Russia “to reach new audience and to attract customers from different regions of Russia,” as well as to enter neighboring countries like Georgia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Obuv Rossii said it has begun with a test with women’s shoes under its own flagship private label, Westfalika. In the first nine months of 2019, the company’s online sales increased by 29.5 percent, representing 13.8 percent of total revenues.