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The Russians are coming!!

They claimed to be ecommerce entrepreneurs from Russia who were eager to visit our fulfillment centers in California and South Dakota. They said they had started a call center and order fulfillment business in Moscow and wanted our advice. But I knew better. They weren’t going to fool me – not this guy. Instinct told me they were KGB. Probably chain smoking, vodka swilling secret agents who, due to hard living, looked 58, even though they were 28. Their eyes would be steely, surrounded by tired, dark circles attributed to endless training and nightly espionage missions. They’d be fit – Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV kind of fit.

Thanks to a panoply of 80s Cold War Movies, I knew all about Russians. Who can forget Mikhail Baryshnikov dancing his way through White Nights? Or Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer facing down Soviet pilots in Top Gun? And what about Patrick Swayze fighting off Ruskie invaders in Red Dawn! (That. Was. A w e s o m e)

So, the Russians were coming, eh? Bring it on. In my star spangled ballet tights and leather bomber jacket, I’d be ready.

While I was prepared for visitors from the 80s, I wasn’t prepared for our Russian guests of 2013. They were young (so young). Eager. Smart (so smart). Well dressed. Informed. Worldly. Fit (why so fit?). Multi-lingual, and so nice. Our Russians looked more like cosmopolitan Swedes than cold-blooded, freedom-hating commies.

To further challenge my decades-old stereotypes, “our Russians” informed me that they don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Don’t eat meat. In fact, they are kinda Buddhist-ey. They’ve seen what hard living has done to past generations and they want no part of it. Communism? Not so much. This trio has their very own venture capital funding.

Damn that Tom Friedman and his flat world! Can’t I be left to my stereotypes? They’re such time savers.

It turns out that Aleksey, Valentina and Alexander came up with the idea to start a fulfillment and call center company in Russia. It’s called Quadra. They found One World Direct on-line and felt validated to see that somebody else was doing similar work. They knew our web site inside and out, and quoted our videos verbatim. In short, they knew their stuff and had done their homework.

What did I learn, you ask? I learned that my muffin top doesn’t look so great in tights. Beyond that, however, I learned a lot about ecommerce in Russia.

With credit card holders totaling only about 5% of the Russian population, getting paid is tough. As a result, COD deliveries are very common. In addition, postal regulations add a layer of complexity in that somebody has to be there to accept parcels. Worse, multiple delivery attempts incur additional charges that sometimes put the order in the red. Placing an order on the phone? Great. After you hang up, you’ll get a call validating that you made the order in the first place – more overhead. UPS, DHL, FedEx? Here and there, but spotty.

Their visit brought perspective. As Americans, it feels like the Web has been around forever. After all, there are college grads who can’t remember a world without it. But, in many parts of the world, Web connectivity isn’t assumed, and the infrastructure that makes ecommerce happen is still in its nascent stages. Globally, ecommerce is still a toddler.

Perhaps most importantly, I was reminded of the “world wide” aspect of the Web. There, in a multi-media call center in middle-of-nowhere South Dakota, were three hip, young Russian ecommerce pioneers eager to collaborate with their new American friends. All it took was access to information through the Web.

I flashed back to my days in elementary school in the 1970s. In those days, “the Russians are coming” meant something else entirely, as in, “dive under your desk!”

So, with all due respects to Mr. Swayze (RIP), and so many other Hollywood stars who educated me throughout the Cold War, the Russians are coming – coming to do business. And they’re delightful.

Thomas E. Unterseher
Co-Founder & CEO
One World Direct
www.owd.com

Fulfillment Costs

Fulfillment costs are based on three criteria: size, weight and delivery time.

OWD offers five service levels: economy (7-10 days); Standard (5-7 days), 2-Day, Overnight and International.

Starting At

$3.99

Per Unit

FAQs

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International Shipping

The old way to ship internationally

DDU means Delivery Duty Unpaid – where the buyer pays for all of the import fees at delivery.

Unexpected import fees give buyers sticker shock – not good. When they refuse to pay, you’ve lost a sale and must pay to return your product, or abandon it.

DDU is an old idea whose time has passed. For these reasons and more, OWD doesn’t recommend DDU for e-com sellers.

The best way to ship internationally

DDP is an acronym for Delivery Duty Paid. DDP means that the seller pays for all the duties and import fees.

With DDP, your customers won’t be surprised with unexpected customs charges – good!

With OWD’s landed cost calculator, your foreign customers will know exactly what their various VAT, customers and duties will cost. No unhappy surprises.

Ship flat-rate anywhere in the world starting at:

$16.39

One World Direct, B.V.

For large-scale operations needing a full solution in Europe, there’s OWD Europe, based in Amsterdam.

We Make Contact Center EASY

Sell More with Live Agents

The Services

OWD handles phone calls, e-mails and web chat eighteen hours a day from our own state-of-the-art facility.

We’ll handle your inbound sales and customer service contacts.

You get career agents who speak American English and know how to sell.

The Costs

$99 gets you 200 calls, e-mails or chats handled every week.

You get your own phone number and custom e-mail.

We do a lot more. Call for details.

More than a Call Center

Get Virtual Assistants as needed

One World’s contact center in Mobridge, South Dakota.

The Voice of Your Brand

We Make Returns EASY

Returns? Yuck.
One World has a simple solution.

All-Inclusive Returns

OWD’s all-inclusive Returns service provides simplicity and high-end customer service. OWD includes a pre-printed return label as part of your packing slip. Your customer need only drop it in the mail.

What’s included: packaging slip with return label, QC inspection, re-bag, re-tag and return to stock. What’s excluded: postage cost, poly bags and any special packaging.

Base Price

$4.95

Add-On Services

Call For Quotes