Distribution channels in Estonia are similar to those in the U.S. market. Goods may be sold through an agent, distributor, established wholesaler, or by selling directly to retail organizations. Businesses and most logistic services are concentrated in and around Tallinn.
The Estonian Traders’ Association is a non-profit voluntary organization bringing together retailers with common interests, to solve different problems and represent members in various institutions in Estonia and abroad. The association has 56 members who are all retail and wholesale enterprises.
Using an Agent or Distributor
One exclusive agent/distributor is usually appointed to cover the entire country. Estonian importers often represent several different product lines. In selecting a representative, the exporter should check whether a company handles competing products. U.S. companies seeking agents, distributors, or partners in Estonia may contact the Political/Economic Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn.
Establishing an Office
All questions concerning establishing an office in Estonia are covered by the Enterprise Estonia Investment Guide.
Estonia’s legal system provides for trademark protection and licensing provisions. Franchisors should consider the small size of the market when making their agreement requirements
A wide range of EU legislation impacts the direct marketing sector. Compliance requirements are most stringent for marketing and sales to private consumers. Companies need to focus on the clarity and completeness of the information they provide to consumers prior to purchase and on their approaches to collecting and using customer data. The European Union law portal includes a brief overview of the most important provisions from EU-wide rules on distance selling and online commerce.
Joint ventures and licensing arrangements with foreign manufacturers are allowed and encouraged. More than 100 U.S. companies have established themselves in the Estonian market with subsidiaries or joint ventures
Omniva is the Estonian national postal service provider and has post offices all over Estonia. Other postal and courier service providers include TNT, DHL, and UPS. More information on express delivery to Estonia from the United States is available from the United States Postal Service.
Due diligence checks are recommended before buying a company, merging, or entering into any type of partnership with Estonian companies. If you would like to investigate the capabilities, legitimacy, and financial strength of a potential overseas business partner gleaned from government, industry and financial contacts, the local press, and other sources, please contact the U.S. Embassy for an International Company Profile (ICP) report.