How to Start an eCommerce Business in Dubai?

Last Updated: March 11, 2023By

The pandemic opened the floodgates for online eCommerce platforms. It became the main shopping outlet for the majority. This meant that there was explosive growth in this industry with much growth yet to come.

UAE has emerged as an attractive destination for businesses especially if you are working on technology and online businesses. The infrastructure provided by the government, zero tax reforms, and easy payment gateways in UAE allow you to expand easily.

Why Start an eCommerce Business in Dubai?

Before you start your eCommerce business in Dubai you should be familiar with why UAE is one of the most lucrative places for your business:

  • It is the fastest-growing eCommerce marketplace in the middle east.
  • They have a world-class transport infrastructure. This means easier access and transport for your goods.
  • UAE encourages new businesses to develop in their ecosystem. There is extensive support for anyone planning to open their firm or company in Dubai.

Steps to set up an eCommerce Business

Here are some easy pointers for someone looking to set up shop in the eCommerce sector in Dubai:

1. Understanding the market

Conducting proper research about market conditions is mandatory while developing your business model. Depending on the current market trends and the economic landscape one can decide to go for B2B or a B2C model.

A thorough understanding of the market will also help you to select a particular niche and develop a unique selling point. This ultimately results in organic growth and helps in developing an eCommerce brand.

2. Choosing a suitable location for your business

Even though you do not need a physical office for setting up your business, it is of paramount importance that you select your location with considerable thought.

In UAE one can register their business either from the free zone or the non-free or the mainland zone. Each has its unique advantages. While in the free zone you are not liable to pay any form of tax and a hundred percent of the revenue generated is yours with negligible custom duties, operating from the mainland will help you to get authorization to run both local and international business.

Hence understanding the nature of the business you want to run and clearly defining your goals will allow you to select your location with ease. The products or services you want to sell are also a key aspect when choosing a spot to run your business.

3. Registering for a Trade name

You must register your company’s trade name. One can easily do so by filling up an application form provided by the economic department. You should be careful to use trade names that are allowed in the UAE. Make it a point not to use any foul language or any names that can hurt anyone’s sentiments. Also, a trade name is unique and it is the identity of a specific business. Hence always use original names for your eCommerce business.

4. Applying for an eCommerce license

Like a tradename to set up your business, you will also require a specific eCommerce license in Dubai. The Economic Department will provide you with the license to help you get started. It will allow you to carry out our business activities via social media accounts. Also as mentioned above if you hold a mainland license then you can directly start trading products and services in the local markets. On the other hand with a free zone license, you need to work with a local distributor to sell your goods.

5. Build your online website

Having a website to set up your eCommerce store is a priority. If you are not well versed in the technical aspects of web designing, you can easily avail of the services of established companies for eCommerce web design Dubai. Otherwise, if you are confident enough you can directly go ahead and register a domain for your website, and start building. You can take the help of various website builders that makes it extremely easy to integrate and build various features into your eCommerce website.

Try to build a stable and optimized website with proper customer care facilities as nowadays a company with good customer retention can easily grow organically. Building a good website is the first step to getting you on the online business map.

6. Establishing secure payment gateways in UAE

Since you will be running an eCommerce store, having secured payments is another key aspect of your business. One needs to integrate a payment gateway into their website which can be achieved by acquiring a merchant account from your local bank. You should also seek to follow the telecommunications regulatory authority(TRA) guidelines while setting up your account. Since you will be dealing with a substantial amount of traffic and payments you should ensure that you have robust customer services in place 24/7 to deal with any form of complications or payment problems. This is essential for building a healthy brand.

7. Sound logistics

Set up a proper logistics system to handle the traffic of goods. This means ensuring you have a proper network for timely import, storage of goods, and fast delivery. This will improve the customer experience ensuring their retention.

8. Marketing

Finally, we come to the all-important step of marketing and establishing your brand in the market. Once you have set up your store, it is time to advertise and bring in clients and customers. This can be done by running organic or paid marketing campaigns. You can choose to digitally market your products through social media and search engine optimization or go for traditional marketing with banner ads, physical templates and television ads or both. Various strategies can be used for this.

Steps one should follow to get an eCommerce License in Dubai

Here are the guidelines for anyone willing to acquire an eCommerce license in Dubai:

  • The person should be above 21 years of age.
  • A registered company name.
  • Complete the registration process and pay the fees within 24 hours of registration.
  • Annual renewal of the license within one month of the expiry date.

Costs associated with starting the Business

This is a varied question and it depends on various factors such as:

  • The location and the type of license you acquire.
  • Size and type of the business
  • Do you need physical offices as that can ramp up the costs
  • The number of employees or the number of visas you require.

Taking an average it generally takes AED 15000 to 50000 for setting up an eCommerce business in UAE.


Thus we discussed various reasons for the benefits of starting a business in the UAE and also how one goes about it. We further looked into the different legal procedures that you should adhere to and the costs associated with them before you can get your business started.

There are various firms specialized in this. That can help you to kickstart your business in the UAE. They will provide you with the perfect launchpad to establish your eCommerce business.