How to start E-Commerce Business in Dubai

Dubai is by far, the most sought after shopping destinations in the world. Every year people from all over the globe visit the United Arab Emirates Malls such as the Dubai Mall, City Mall, The Mall of Emirates and so on for the sole purpose of shopping. In Dubai. Traditional retail shops are generally preferred by tourists but as the time have changed and more retail businesses have started e-commerce business in Dubai, so as the perception changed and now more locals in Dubai have begun their shopping in online stores.

The UAE being one of the most progressive countries in the world from a technological point of view, it is always a good idea to invest in an e-commerce company in Dubai. With that being said, Dubai will also be among the first city in UAE to have a state-sponsored digital coin.

As you might be aware of the fact that Dubai is an ultra modern city and has increased internet and smartphone users at saturation rates. According to another survey conducted by Master card, the United Arab Emirates is dominating the e-commerce business in the Middle East by a huge margin. This is also something that further consolidates this idea, going by a statistical reference that for every five out of ten people, the preferred mode of shopping for goods and services is mainly conducted through online portals ans websites.

Also, if you think that was some news, Paypal which operates online payment system in the world has also stated that with evolution of mobile phones in the past decade or so, e-commerce business in Dubai has boomed largely and is second only to China in that regard. In the past year or so 60 per cent of mobile users in UAE are purchasing goods online with the help of their smartphones. The advancement in internet technology has forced many businesses to create online websites and mobile applications to increase their businesses with the help of eCommerce development companies.

Introduction to eCommerce in Dubai:

Dubai has one the fastest growing economy in the world and with all the technology savvy culture , amazing infrastructure and huge expansion scope, the land of Dubai has the qualities which are required to start off an online E-Commerce business in the region and which will prove to be fruitful business option for entrepreneurs from all over the world.  Recent statistics shows that around 45% of the population of Dubai is engaged in online shopping on routine basis. Dubai has got a lot of benefits to offer to online business set-ups.

Commencing a business set in Dubai is very easy and efficient and to register business in Dubai and UAE it generally takes around 8 days to process. As Dubai is ranked 34th in the world by world bank’s “Ease of doing business”, an E-commerce business is sure to be a lucrative venture for investors.

In order to be a successful eCommerce venture in Dubai you will be required to create a user friendly and attractive website and also you will have to create trust in online payment modes.

For that purpose, The Ministry of Economy is Dubai have taken multiple steps to ensure safe transaction system and has introduced digital protection initiative which will make sure that all the online business must be certified in relation to online transactions.

This initiative will increase consumer confidence in online or e-commerce business in Dubai. Apart from that online shoppers prefer free delivery service as opposed to paid delivery. So E-commerce business can be quite profitable venture in Dubai if you can back it up with cash on delivery option as well as bank card payment method and free delivery and discount coupon option.

Guide to start an E-commerce business in Dubai:

UAE follows some regulations and guidelines for businesses to start with eCommerce like any other country. Let see the steps required to start a E-commerce business in Dubai.

Create a License:

To create a web-based company in Dubai, it is compulsory to acquire a commercial license from the Department of Economic Development. If you want to establish your business setup in a Free-zone, then you will procure a license from a free zone authority and that is mandatory. The license of your company will depend on the type of e-commerce business. Once you create a company then further licenses are no longer required.

The procedure of licensing for business setup is a very easy process. Foreign business investors operating in a free zone company can benefit from multiple advantages. Some of those advantages are:

There is no income tax.

  • 100% repatriation of business profits.
  • no corporate tax
  • offers complete 100% business ownership
  • no custom duties involved

All these above mentioned benefits make e-commerce business setup a very favorable business in Dubai.

In Dubai there are multiple free zones where you can set up an e-commerce business and you can choose anyone of them depending on the area of business activity. All procedure of licensing lay with free zone authority that you register with. Department of Economic development is responsible for licensing if you do not establish your business in the free zone.

Need For Physical Office Space:

Even, if you plan to commence an E-commerce business in Dubai. It is mandatory to have a physical office space if your organization is Dubai-based. Hence depending on the nature of the business, it is imperative for you to setup a physical office.

Typically, Dubai provides you with one of the best infrastructure in the world. There are world-class luxuries in terms of office spaces and they can be obtained at a very reasonable price. Leasing options are also available. There are certain cases in which the foreign nationals are not allowed to buy a property in Dubai. In that case the help of a local sponsor or UAE resident is required to help you with purchasing of a suitable place.

The supporting utility services are also unmatched, may it be 24/7 security to other utilities including high speed internet connectivity which should be the best if you are entering E-commerce business in Dubai.

Web App Development:

 Web App development is the most important part of any E-commerce business. For an online business to be a huge success, you will be required to have a stable website which is user friendly and has an excellent interface and user experience. This will be the face of your online store and brand. It is a must to seek guidance from top E-commerce development companies for creation of a good e-commerce website. Reviews are available for each e-commerce development companies so you can pick the best one out for making your website.

Now, there are many aspects to developing a website. You need to choose a domain name for the website and register it. Domain name is the name that you wish to use to register your company. It is essential to have a unique domain name, the one that is not already in use and the one that is easy to find in the search engine and easy to remember by the customers.

  • Domain Name Registration:

Domain name is the exclusive address of your business website that guides users to the homepage of website. This has to be compatible with your company and product. It is one of the most important step to make a website. You have to adopt a name that people can easily remember. This is of great importance as online business in Dubai has no physical presence.

  • Online Payment Gateways:

The most crucial part of E-commerce business is setting up Secure Payment Gateway Options for online payment. This is required to gain trust from your users. It is compulsory to include different types of payment methods ranging from credit card payment, cash on delivery, Cash U, PayPal and mobile wallet and so on. Cash on delivery is people choice payment method among shoppers in UAE. So, that aspect has to kept in mind before entering a e-commerce business.

  • Import/export Registration:

Import and export become a very important aspect of your trade depending upon the business activity. Generally UAE imposes 5% custom duty on all imports. You can deal with many types of products such as  in-Digital, Physical, consumer goods, Branded, Unbranded, Discounts, Deals etc.

Registration with the Dubai ports and customs authority should be acquired in order to import goods and other products from abroad and sell it on your web site. Then you will be allotted a specific code for your business and customs duty will be charged on all the imports thereafter. Free Zone companies are exempted from customs duty charges. Once these steps are abided by, the final step is to import your offline goods and categorized into the online store.

E-commerce set up in Dubai


Once the e-commerce company is registered the struggle continues. Now is the time to decide on the activity that will best suit your masses. For that reason extensive market research should be done on what is going to offered and how different you are going from the existing market. This can be done generally by checking different market trends of the locality. You must decide the right product, branding and then follow it by great marketing strategy to achieve success.

Find the Right Vendors for Your Product

You can find right vendors for your product from famous e-commerce sites like Amazon and Alibaba. Using these websites you can find suppliers for a number of products according to your needs.

 Be Prepared

Once your product and supplier/ manufacturer have been narrowed down, it’s time to create a business plan. With a right research, you can easily formulate a successful business plan.

 Set up Your eCommerce Website

Once you are done formulating a business plan, then comes the step where you look for an agency that offers you the Top eCommerce companies or international e commerce companies who can given task to set up your e-commerce website. Utmost attention should be given while choosing the eCommerce development company as your website is the heart and soul of  the online business and can guarantee results.

Choose a Right marketing strategy 

Once eCommerce website is completed, then you have to ensure a good marketing strategy to get it to the knowledge of your target audience. Getting traffic for your website is necessary for profit generation. Research must be conducted on what impact your website will have on your customers. Based on the buying cycle of market products, a good marketing strategy can be developed.

Choose the Right Software 

If you choose the right software it will provide a much needed support to your business. Use relevant tools for effective customer relationship management, accounting project management, email marketing software and get it to make your day-to-day tasks much easier and simplified. Switching to cloud services offers you with a lot of benefits as it comprise software’s to help in eCommerce development. Also saves data loss and website downtime.

Top 10 Ecommerce Websites in Dubai:

 Now let’s discuss list of some of the most popular eCommerce websites that has directed the best traffic in the UAE.  Visiting websites like,,,,,,,, will give you a much clearer idea about e-commerce business in Dubai.

Setting up an eCommerce business is undoubtedly an extremely challenging task. Proper attention should be given when it comes to choosing the product for online website, payment modes and logistics etc. you should be better equipped with knowledge on what you want to do and futuristic planning will reduce this task to a great extent.

There is a lot of competition in eCommerce business in Dubai. So, it is always recommended to provide more options in terms of products to your customers and ensure that high quality products are given to gain new customer and satisfy existing ones.

So, that’s all you need to know about how to start E-Commerce business in Dubai. Dubai is a great market for e-commerce business and with proper planning it can turn out to be a great success for you.