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Estonia is becoming a global hub for e-commerce

In the time of Black Friday’s and Cyber Monday’s e-commerce shopping fever, it's high time for business executives and investors to think about how to make e-commerce work for themselves.

As the world’s most digitally enabled nation, Estonia has the best solutions in the fields of e-commerce – from FinTech company Fortumo serving Amazon, to Cleveron delivering Walmart’s goods to customers with parcel robots.

There is no doubt that Estonia is an emerging hub for global e-commerce activity. World-class IT skills have created numerous e-commerce applications and are supported by leadership positions in enablers such as online trust, payments and digital logistics.

The biggest names in retail, like Amazon, Walmart, Zara, are already using the competence and solutions of Estonian e-commerce companies. Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Spotify and Sony are costumers of Estonian carrier billing solution provided by Fortumo, writes business daily Äripäev.

Digital marketing

Before you can start generating e-commerce turnover, you need to make your e-store brand and your products known to customers. Professional digital marketing can enable quick and long-term results for that. Estonian digital advertising company Adcash, founded in 2007, one of the biggest players in the online advertising industry, trusted by Alibaba and 200M unique users every day, could be your best partner in digital marketing activities.

In 2018, while footfall in shops dropped by 5.4% on November 28 compared to 2017, online sales skyrocketed by 46%. This isn’t so great for the high street, but it offers a huge opportunity for retailers and their digital advertising efforts. There are, however, a few specific tactics that brands should leverage to optimize ROI, writes Adcash. Check out for latest tips on Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing on the Adcash blog.

Automated processes

One of the most positives of e-commerce business are the lowered costs, which come from the automation of order management, inventory management, checkout, billing, payments, shipping, and other operational processes lowering the number of employees required to run an e-commerce setup. However, an experienced automation partner is needed to connect all these processes.

Linnworks and Erply are the right companies to connect and automate all the different parts of your selling processes.

Online payment services

In payments, Estonia has produced globally successful companies including Fortumo, Monese and unicorn TransferWise, each of whom has significant R&D, engineering and 24/7, multilingual client service operations in Estonia.

Fortumo, founded in 2007, is one of the world’s leading mobile payment service providers, having 3 billion customers, including Amazon.

“We are proud to be a part of the solution that helps customers join Amazon Prime in new ways, giving them access to the best in shopping and entertainment,” said Andrea Boetti, VP of Global Business Development at Fortumo.

According to FinExtra, Monese, launched in 2015 as the first 100% mobile account in the UK, is the first banking service to enable Apple Pay payments in UK and in several Eurozone countries, with the largest coverage in Europe. Taking care of customers’ online shopping security, Monese gives you tips on how to shop safely on Black Friday.

TransferWise offers a free multi-currency business account to pay global suppliers and to receive Stripe and Amazon payouts for free. The company, founded in 2010 by ex-Skyper Taavet Hinrikus and IT talent Kristo Käärmann, to transform international money transfers cheap, fair, and simple. They have been fabulously successful – TransferWise has 4+ million happy customers, 11 offices with over 1,300 employees, across 4 continents.

Location-based services

We don´t wonder, when our smartphone knows, where we are, and where is the nearest store or service, we’re interested in, or recommends a parcel machine nearby, where we can pick up our purchase. This all is possible with location-based services (LBS) that are using real-time geo-data from a smartphone to provide information.

Estonian company Reach-U is one of the largest LBS providers in the world, serving more than 343 million subscribers of 25 operators. Founded in 1989, Reach-U, can be an essential partner for excellent customer service, digital marketing and customer management, being able to give all the needed answers in the blink of an eye.

Digital logistics

By combining a pro-business environment ideal for R&D with world-class skills in IT and engineering, Estonia has produced numerous digital logistics innovations. Starship Technologies‘ autonomous delivery robots and Cleveron parcel delivery solutions are adopted globally.

Starship is a delivery robots company founded by the members of the original development team that created Skype. Their small robots are designed to move along pavements at a pedestrian speed and navigate around people and objects using GPS, ultrasonic sensors, radar and cameras. Those awaiting a package can monitor the robot’s journey on a smartphone. Starship is delivering restaurant and grocery around the world, US university campuses for example.

Estonian parcel locker and fulfilment robotics provider Cleveron has lately  launched a grocery robot, opened a robotics academy, expanded to 21 countries, and has been awarded as the best last mile delivery innovator and this year’s exporter of Estonia.

The digital mindset of Estonia has influenced the entrepreneurial thinking, admitted Peep Kuld, co-founder of Cleveron. “The only way to be successful in entrepreneurship is to be in the internet or invent something that is based on computers or the Internet,” Kuld said.

Estonia’s world-class IT skills, tech-mindedness, entrepreneurship activity, non-bureaucratic business environment with advantageous tax system give the reason to believe that the following innovative solutions for implementation in e-commerce are coming soon from here. Areas of innovation include harnessing AI to deliver personalised service, mobile commerce and enterprise management systems.

Read more about the e-commerce opportunities Estonia offers here or send us an e-Consulting request to get more detailed information.

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What is it like to run a business in Estonia? How to benefit from the e-solutions and the efficiency of our business culture? What are the opportunities in specific sectors? Who to partner up with?

The Estonian Investment Agency’s team is happy to help you via its complimentary e-Consulting service, organize online or offline follow-up events such as virtual investment visits and guide you through the fairly simple process of investing in Estonia.

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