How to Open E-commerce Business in Dubai, Get Expert Tips

how to open e-commerce business in dubai

This is the era where online businesses are thriving. Gone are the days of brick and mortar stores. The new trend is setting up online shops.  Interested to learn more about how to open e-commerce business in Dubai? This is the perfect place to start as we penned down this detailed guide with all the insights and expert tips.

E-commerce Business Trends in Dubai, an Overview

The technological hub has witnessed its unique share of e-commerce business trends in Dubai. With different models and structures of businesses, there is something for everyone.

These are some of the current e-commerce business trends in Dubai:

  • Delivery platforms
  • Drop shipping
  • Jewelry
  • Clothing

Key Steps to Start E-commerce Business in Dubai

Key Steps to Start E-commerce Business

Wondering how to open e-commerce business in Dubai? Here are some of the most important steps:

  1. Research the market
  2. Consider your niche and products
  3. Select a unique business name
  4. Get a trading license
  5. Decide your company structure
  6. Arrange an office space 
  7. Get the permits
  8. Get approvals
  9. Open a corporate bank account

Decide on Your products

It is time to decide the niche of your products. Conduct a market research first and consider the category of products, the target audience. Figure out the logistics. It will also help out when choosing products.

Do not forget to do thorough competitor research and competitive analysis. It gives great insight into the big picture.

Structure Your Business Model

When you move past merely pondering over how to open e-commerce business in Dubai, it’s time to take an active step of structuring the business model. 

B2B (Business-to-Business)

Business-to-Business is one of the most common business models. The businesses are provided products and services by other businesses. Business-to-Business business model will encompass products that are most suited to other businesses.

B2C (Business-to-Customer)

Business-to-Customer is another common business model. It is when businesses sell their products to individual customers. The model of business-to-customer is evident in the real world. From grocery shops to cafes, these are operating on a business-to-customer model.

C2B (Consumer-to-Business)

Consumer-to-Business is certainly a unique business model. In this model, the final user of a product or service offers their service to the business. In the consumer-to-business model, the consumer provides value to the business. An example of this are influencers or bloggers who will consume a product and then provide a link to the businesses in their posts. Some examples of Consumer-to-business are:

  • Reviews
  • Blogs
  • Paid advertising space


Dropshipping is a business model that lets businesses handle and ship products to a third party. With dropshipping, the ecommerce business in Dubai can outsource these processes to a third party:

  • Procuring items
  • Storing products
  • Shipping 

Register Company’s Name

Select a unique business name. Double check that it is not already in use by someone else. Check its availability. Make sure that the company name you come up with is not in violation with the naming guidelines of UAE.

Get an E-commerce license

It is important to select the jurisdiction correctly and according to the product or service you are offering. This helps you anticipate the regulations of both jurisdictions.

After deciding your jurisdiction, apply for your business license.

Free zone license

Free zones have options of virtual offices and flexi-desks. They reduce a significant amount of cost involved. There’s also 100% foreign ownership. There are tax exemptions too.

For a free zone license, the application will be with free zone authorities. E-commerce enterprises commonly use the freezone license.

Mainland license

Setting up an ecommerce business in Dubai mainland requires having a physical office space there too so keep that in mind. A mainland company trades directly with the UAE market.

If you are going for a mainland e-commerce license, apply with the Department of Economic Development.

Develop your E-commerce website or application

Anyone who has researched on how to open ecommerce business in Dubai knows your e-commerce website or app is the major event. It is with an e-commerce website that you enter the race to be the best in this business. Be mindful of the e-commerce website design and the user experience it offers. It should be visually appealing and easy to navigate. At the same time, it should not be full of bugs, slow loading time or poor user experience.

Establish a payment gateway

Your website should be able to accept credit card payment. For that you need to have a merchant account at your local bank. Make sure you are complying with the rules established by the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority.

Plan your marketing strategy

Setting up shop and not marketing the products is one way to not sell anything. Be it word of mouth or a grand scale paid advertising campaign, you want the customers to reach you and buy your products. To achieve this, you will have to devise a clever marketing strategy; one that will make you sought out by potential customers.

Weigh different options against each other. For example:

  • Decide the type of advertising different products will require
  • Consider the different social media platforms
  • Market your e-commerce business in Dubai with a unique brand voice

SInce e-commerce business in Dubai is operated online, it is advantageous to make the best use of:

  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Search engine optimization

Make guidelines for customer acquisition and retention

Customer acquisition is one thing. For a business to keep going, it needs to have mastered the skills of customer retention too. There should be guidelines in place that will be helpful towards the success of e-commerce business in Dubai.

The guideline should include these aspects be synced together:

  • Technical support
  • Database administration
  • Customer service

Logistics and distribution are important parts too. So they are not to be neglected either in the guidelines.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

E-commerce is reaching its peak. It is time to adapt with the present times and start an e-commerce business in Dubai. With the correct information, a well-thought marketing strategy and well-researched products, there is no stopping from leading the ecommerce business market. For more insightful information, you can visit our blog insights

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