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Step-by-step guide to setting up your ecommerce store in the U.A.E.

UAE’s e-commerce market is booming. Noon, Namshi, Amazon, etc. dominate the online shopping landscape and the e-commerce market in the UAE hitting a peak of 3.9 billion $ in 2020, a 53 percent increase compared to the year before.

While the retail market (Brick & mortar and e-commerce) holds steady in value, e-commerce vendors set up shop across the UAE. With companies like Noon and Urban Company sitting pretty on advertisements and flooding the market with huge offers that are irresistible, you may wonder if you should set up your own online store.

If you’re looking to set up an e-commerce website and become the next Noon, we want to send you off well prepared. That’s why you should first know a few things about UAE’s retail market, such as….

What do people love to buy in UAE?

As a retail market, UAE specializes in fashion, entertainment, and general retail shopping.

These are the 5 hottest selling goods in the retail market in 2020 and 2021.

  • Personal accessories
  • Eyewear and fashion wear
  • Media products such as entertainment subscriptions
  • Pet care
  • Homecare products

Looking ahead for 2022: What’s going to happen with the e-commerce market?

The Dubai chamber of commerce has predicted the e-commerce market will hit a total value of 8 billion $ by 2025. Here are some of the things predicted for the next year.

Online grocery shopping

A report by Mckearney revealed that the current spend amount for groceries online, which is 25 to 40 $ currently, is set to double by 2022

Hybrid approach: e-commerce coupled with brick and mortar stores

Ecommerce sales are still a low 8.1% of the retail market. This means that some e-commerce parties in the region are considering expanding through brick-and-mortar stores. We see this with Eyewa, e-commerce store that deals in eyewear with their first shop set up in UAE this year and with expansion plans to set up 100 stores within the next two years.

UAE e-commerce market value set to hit 27 billion $

First said around 9th Dec of 2020 at GITEX technology week and then later at the retail summit around May 13th of 2021, the e-commerce market is expected to reach 27 billion $ in value. This indicates the potential that this segment holds and resonates with the consumer preference to buy online.

Alright, let’s get to it

Setting up an e-commerce website is one breakthrough for any business that wishes to expand its reach by selling its products online. Over the last 10 years, e-commerce has been an essential contributor to the web marketplace. Having an e-commerce website for selling your merchandise is proving to be a beneficial strategy for businesses.

The reason behind this boom is the increased usage of mobile phones in recent years and users searching for convenience buying at their fingertips. People favor shopping online for various reasons: it’s quicker, easier, less stressful, gives a wider choice, and, because of the ability to compare deals, and it’s often cheaper.

A strong e-commerce presence is required to provide an exceptional consumer experience and generate first-time as well as repeat sales. Therefore, entrepreneurs have shifted their focus to offering their consumers value over the e-commerce portals.

Here’s a list to try prior to launching your e-commerce platform to make sure it gets the desired traction.

Research the Target Market

Understand the demand for your product within the market you chose to sell. Whether the products are sellable, are rightly priced, and are available readily to the target group, is imperative for the seller to realize.

Benefit from approaches like creating surveys, using google trends, spy tools, and keyword searches in the region.

Know Your Competition

Ecommerce websites like Amazon, Noon, Centerpoint, Namshi occupy enough space in the buyers’ minds to be considered as the preferred shopping destinations. Remember that you’re competing against brands big and small.

Start by attempting to find the kind of product you’re going to sell. head to the websites that are offering those products and write the differences between their implementation. See if there’s a difference in their prices and obtain a concept of the approximate price that you just could sell your product at. This whole practice will allow you to know your competitors, what they’re lacking in and what you’ll do to enhance that. Moreover, you’ll be able to also comprehend their services by buying the products from their sites.

Choose the e-commerce Platform/technology that suits you best

There are multiple platforms wherein you can develop your e-commerce platform such as Shopify, Prestashop, Magento, WooCommerce, Open cart to name a few. Depending on the size of the e-commerce store and the products and services that you want to sell you can choose the platform. Below mentioned are some parameters to consider while choosing the platform.

  • Security
  • Number of products
  • Single/multi-vendor
  • Integrations
  • User-friendly
  • Flexibility to develop custom modules
  • Ease of customizations
  • Drag and drop ability

Design the platform as per the user

Go heavy on the user experience while you are developing the website. Designing an E-commerce website will be a touch more complicated than other styles of websites. Like other websites, it doesn’t just showcase information but also allows others to sign on and shop online. These are some points that will facilitate you in selecting a design. Match the look with the merchandise you wish to sell. For example – if you’re selling gadgets then your design should be a touch futuristic and tech-oriented.

These are some critical elements to consider.

  • Branding & imagery
  • User navigation
  • Clear display for products
  • Perfect categorization
  • Standardized imagery
  • Social media integration
  • FAQ
  • Guest – Include guest checkout in your design.
  • Customer service
  • Shipping methods
  • Shopping experience
  • Follow up on order
  • Add social media integrations for amplified reach and receiving feedback

Payment gateway

For receiving payments from your customers, you wish to sign on with a trusted payment gateway that allows the user to transact the payment online using debit/credit card, pay wallets, Google pay, Samsung Pay, or Apple Pay. Having a trusted payment gateway ensures that you care about a secure transaction from the customers.

Test the platform

Prior to launching the e-commerce portal, make sure that you have tested not only the following features of the website, but have figured out seamless logistics, payment transactions, automation, and other facets of the business if it is working smoothly.

  • Orders are being received
  • Payments are being processed
  • Easy to use
  • Mobile responsive

Create early marketing plan – execute, measure and embed learnings

Before your website is prepared for commercial use, you wish to start out creating a buzz for the products and services. It’s always beneficial to start your digital marketing activities such as Social Media, Content Marketing, and setting up PPC campaigns to ensure you have every aspect covered to get the promotion started. Have a yearly plan and quarterly action items already laid out with the help of the internal marketing team or with the help of a digital marketing agency.

Embed other activities in your marketing calendar such as email campaigns, SMS & WhatsApp messaging campaigns along with ready-to-roll offers & coupons. This can help your e-commerce website to induce popularity among online users.

Get benefitted from the e-commerce boom

A well-executed idea will be profitable and sustainable in the long run. For a detailed look at the must-have features of an e-commerce store, download our e-commerce website brochure.

Have an idea, and want to launch your e-commerce website in the UAE within weeks, email us at