Business on trust: a new format of trade by Oleg Volin

Business on trust: a new format of trade by Oleg Volin

The consumer society in its classical understanding has undergone significant changes in recent years. As the self-isolation regime has shown, traditional market relations in a crisis are very vulnerable, and therefore the conditions are now dictated by a fundamentally new reality, which Russians and residents of other countries faced during the pandemic and the quarantine measures introduced by the authorities. The most popular and most successful business in such conditions is the business in which human relations are turned into the basis of the corporate concept and philosophy. A striking example of such success can be called the Russian entrepreneur Oleg Volin, writes

Business on trust: a new format of trade by Oleg Volin

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In practice, Oleg Bulatovich manages to implement unique business models focused not only on the real conditions of the modern market, but also on the immortal values of personal contact. Volin managed to relieve the buyer and the seller from such an obstacle in communication as the counter, turning it into a rudimentary element of modern trade. In fact, the businessman has achieved the maximum reduction in the distance between the desire of the buyer and the offer that the seller has. And the result is quite intriguing.

Despite numerous claims that trade is always only a response to the needs of potential buyers, in reality, the seller often creates a fundamentally new product on the go, persistently promoting it and making the buyer confident that he made this choice on his own. In this case, no one is interested in the real needs of the buyer and the motives behind the purchase. In the foreign trade model, there is no expectation of partnerships between both parties to the process. And this moment is in fact extremely important – a person can trust a partner, because he knows that he will not deceive him or slip in a product of inadequate quality, simultaneously imposing unnecessary services. The seller, who has deceived the buyer, deserves only one thing: that the next time no one comes to him. A rotten tomato found at the bottom of the package, which was previously unnoticed by the seller, will only cause resentment and irritation in the buyer.

The ancient traditions of Russian entrepreneurship and merchants at all times relied precisely on trust in a partner, proceeding from respect for the buyer. And Oleg Volin, as an entrepreneur with a modern outlook on business processes, intuitively began to use the traditional trading model, embodying it in modern market conditions. Despite the fact that the concept itself was conceived and implemented 8 years ago, one unexpectedly turned out to be effective in conditions of quarantine restrictions and isolation.

When Volin's company “UniversalResource” was just planning to open a large-scale “Petrovsky Building Yard”, the entrepreneur was sure that this enterprise should work according to the model of a traditional Russian fair – one product, one pavilion. Or a group of similar products on the same retail space. The businessman did not want to create a banal shopping center on the basis of this facility that would resemble an anthill. But the new format caused a certain caution, and therefore Volin was strongly advised to opt for the shopping center project, which is familiar to most. It was not easy for Volin to prove the correctness of his idea, for this he had to strain his extraordinary talent as a communicator and all his enterprise.

And now “Petrovsky Building House” is a successful project precisely due to the division of product groups and quite obvious internal product competition. This format of doing business has long been perceived by others as a completely natural and familiar phenomenon. The space, organized in the form of a passage, when each store has a separate entrance from the street, turned out to be even more in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, because the buyer in this case can see the outlet with the goods of interest from afar and avoid crowds of people, and together with this and unnecessary contacts. In addition, any store located in one of the 25 buildings of the complex can be easily accessed by car. In such conditions, critics of the project no longer try to recall their “weighty” arguments against the creation of a construction mall with a fundamentally new approach to organizing trade and space.

“In the current paradigm of the market, there is no place for projects where the idea is fitted to the financial model. Only in the case when an idea lives in the mind and is a real need, it has a chance to become the main one for any monetization, ”Oleg Bulatovich himself is convinced.

Eight years ago, back in 2012, an entrepreneur decided to build not a huge concrete cube, but an original farmer's bazaar. And the uninitiated at that time considered this venture a stupid fantasy and a risky adventure. But Volin's idea was carefully thought out and conceptually implemented. As a prudent entrepreneur, he has long and thoroughly studied the formats of all modern European markets, especially those that can boast of their own, even somewhat exclusive, specificity. And from this, one important fundamental conclusion was drawn: someone else's specificity can not be adapted, nor copied. But there is always an opportunity to convey its very spirit and a touch of exclusivity, simultaneously multiplying all this on the traditional Russian scale. To this end, we had to immerse ourselves in the technology as deeply as possible, from the basics of production to the psychology of communication with the customer. If we talk about the philosophical and cultural foundations of this project, then it was inspired rather not by the famous European trading floors, but by the Russian Ivan Shmelev, with his characteristic cult of traditional gourmet food, the charm of Russian bazaars and the historical characteristics of merchant trading houses.

Business as a challenge

When all the economic and cultural foundations of the future project were calculated and developed, the task of its implementation in the form of a specific trading space became inevitable. And Oleg Volin again had to make an effort to prove to everyone the viability of his concept. If “Petrovsky Bazar” at one time had become an ordinary food market, of which there are many, this format would completely suit everyone. However, the same cannot be said about Oleg Volin, who was not at all going to confine himself to the dull market of the “luxury” class, albeit on the rather solvent direction of Novorizhskoe highway.

The concept he chose offered customers a fundamentally new way of spending time, when the desire to buy some fresh products was combined with the ability to choose not only the products themselves, but also the person who would sell these products. Volin managed to organize a kind of “front office” and invite the merchants to stand in front of the counter themselves, ceasing to hide behind it with scales and any manipulations that are implied by this. At the same time, the buyer got access not only to fresh fruits and vegetables, but also to direct communication with the seller, surrounded by the spread out goods. This visualization of the sales process has led to increased mutual respect and trust.

The next element of the unique concept of “Petrovsky Bazar” was the opportunity to relax between shopping and have a bite to eat at the Bistro. Moreover, for some, a trip here becomes a planned step just in order to dine or dine, pre-ordering your favorite dishes from the freshest ingredients. And in order for the legal status of the object to correspond to the concept conceived by the businessman, we had to work hard, but the result of such an innovative approach exceeded any expectations. In November 2012, “Farmers' Bazar Petrovsky” first opened its doors, presenting to the Russians something fundamentally new in the field of food trade. By and large, the country received the first full-fledged food court in its history.

One of the brightest moments in the history of the establishment of this business is associated with the French expansion, which became a real sensation for the Moscow restaurant business in 2013. The famous chef Pierre Gagnier, the owner of three Michelin stars, did not renew his contract with a large transnational hotel chain, but went with his team to work on the French Bistro at the Petrovsky Farmers Bazaar.

Trust is the main element of commerce

Oleg Bulatovich Volin always defended the idea that there should always be a place for partnership in relations between business partners, so that the process itself would not be reduced to just making a profit and sharing it. The entrepreneur is confident that the concepts of trust and decency cannot be left outside the scope of business responsibility. Volin had a chance to go through, together with all Russians, the dashing “nineties”, and numerous crises, and repeated denominations with default, and even the unfair actions of a partner.

Having personally experienced all these problems, Volin began to build business relationships on the basis of humanity and respect. Thanks to this tacit but understandable code of business honor to all participants in the process, it was possible to create an extremely clear atmosphere of confidence in the future and mutual trust. And such a desire for respect and mutual understanding becomes infectious for everyone around, including potential and current partners.

Largely thanks to this approach, all Volin's projects were able to successfully survive the most acute phase of the consumer crisis in conditions of self-isolation and continue to actively increase momentum. For many, they have already become a kind of subject of copying and imitation. And the businessman himself does not see any problem in this, only transferring the discussion of new projects to a narrow circle of friends and associates.

However, even with the seeming simplicity, no one has yet succeeded in copying the harmonious and comfortable atmosphere that Volin managed to realize at Petrovsky. Most likely, the secret of success also lies in the presence of a specific philosophy, as well as a team of like-minded people. At the present time, tough relations between tenants and owners of large shopping centers have become a very common occurrence. However, in a market that is forced to develop in the new era with all its features, this approach has shown its complete failure. The reluctance of partners to meet each other halfway led only to the fact that many shops, markets and restaurants had to close, and traditional trade relations, unexpectedly for many, sunk into oblivion.

However, this did not happen in the coordinate system carefully constructed by Oleg Volin. And all because in this system there is a flexible chain between the buyer, the seller and the supplier, which, by and large, turns this system into a single community of partners who trust each other. Thanks to this, Petrovsky not only survived the crisis, but also got out of it, showing a profit. Suppliers decided to reduce the share of added value in order not to go beyond the demand, the owners of trading floors showed the same flexibility in terms of setting the rental rate, and buyers almost did not feel the jump in prices. Needless to say, such a concept will remain relevant and relevant in the future, especially if the country has to face a new crisis.

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