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How to Start an ECommerce Business in the UAE

The UAE is a great place to start an online business! Lots of people shop online there, and the government makes it easy to set up your business. With a huge market and shoppers,UAE is a top spot to launch your ecommerce dream. 


Steps to Start an ECommerce  Business in the UAE 

How to start an ecommerce business in UAE from scratch in 8 steps

Step 1: Do Your Market Research 

  • What will you sell? Make sure there's a demand for your product in Dubai. Research trends and see what customers need. 

  • Who are your competitors? Knowing your competition will help you develop a strong strategy. 

Step 2: Choose Your Business Location 

  • Free Zone or Mainland: Dubai offers free zones with special benefits like tax breaks, but you can also set up shop on the mainland. 

  • Think about your needs: Free zones might have restrictions, while the mainland allows you to sell directly to UAE customers. 

Step 3: Pick a Catchy Name and Get a License 

  • Choose a unique name: Make sure it's available and reflects your brand. 

  • Get a trade license: This allows you to operate legally. The type of license you need depends on your location and business model. 

Step 4: Build Your Online Store 

  • Create a user-friendly website: This is your online storefront! There are website builders that make this easy, even if you don't know how to code. 

  • Don't forget a domain name: This is your website's address on the internet. 

Step 5: Accept Payments Securely 

  • Set up a payment gateway: This allows customers to pay for your products online securely. 

Step 6: Deliver the Goods 

  • Logistics and storage: You'll need a plan for warehousing your products and getting them to your customers. Consider using a fulfillment service if needed. 

Step 7: Customer Service  

  • Offer excellent customer support: Be there to answer questions and address any issues promptly. 

Step 8: Get Your Import-Export Code (Optional): 

  • This is needed if you plan to import or export goods. 

Why Get a UAE E-commerce License?  

There are many reasons why getting a UAE e-commerce license is a smart move. Here are some of the biggest advantages: 

  • Minimize Initial Investment : You can launch your online store with a lower investment and still reach a wide audience. 

  • Run Your Business from Anywhere: No need for a physical office – you can manage everything online! 

  • Open a Branch in the UAE (Optional): A mainland license allows you to set up a small office if needed. 

  • Cost-Effective Business: E-commerce is a popular and affordable business option. 

  • Skip the Rent: No need to pay for a physical store with an e-commerce license. 

  • Flexibility for Owners: Shareholders don't have to be physically present in the UAE. 

  • Special Perks in Free Zones: Free zone licenses offer benefits like access to customs warehouses and zero import/export taxes. 

  • Global Transactions: Accept payments in multiple currencies to reach more customers. 

  • More Freedom to Operate: An e-commerce license gives you more flexibility to run your business. 

In short, a UAE e-commerce license opens doors for your online business, making it easier and more affordable to succeed! 

Cost of starting an e-commerce business in UAE 

The cost of starting an e-commerce business in the UAE can vary depending on a few things, but it usually falls between AED 5,500 and AED 12,500. Here's what can affect the price: 

  • Free Zone vs. Mainland: Setting up in a special economic zone (free zone) can offer some perks, but it might cost a bit more. 

  • Company Size: Bigger businesses might pay more for licenses and permits. 

  • Office Space: If you need a physical office, that will add to the cost. 

  • Number of Visas: If you need visas for employees, that can increase the cost. 

  • Business Type: The type of products you sell might influence the license fees. 


Need a hand? 

Raes Associates has experienced business setup consultants in UAE who can help you set up your UAE e-commerce business and get your online business license at the lowest cost possible. 

Just contact us and we'll be happy to guide you through the process! 

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