Start a Profitable Ecommerce Business in Gulf Countries: 5 Requirements to Begin Today


Dec 8, 2020 | E-commerce Industry

Home > Blog > Start a Profitable Ecommerce Business in Gulf Countries: 5 Requirements to Begin Today


eCommerce in the Middle East has seen rapid growth with more than 45% of shoppers beginning their purchase journey online. With the rise of accessibility to smartphones, high-speed internet and an overall choice of shopping from the comfort of their homes, the percentage of shoppers shopping online has increased in the eCommerce ecosystem.

If you are a retailer and selling only offline in the current times you may face the issue of selling in-store Inventory first due to the low footfall in malls and stores as more and more shoppers are choosing to shop from the comfort of their homes, without going through the hassle of stepping out. And so, by going online, you will not only be able to rotate the stocks on a regular basis but also increase the sales, improving your overall unit economics.

To make the switch from offline to online, this is the right time because not only will you find superior assistance in making the transition, but you will find a rather larger audience to make your mark on.

Going by the reports of Go-Gulf, online shopping is shaping up to be a big deal in the Middle Eastern countries with the biggest amount of shoppers coming from UAE and KSA at 60% followed by Egypt at 43%.

48% of UAE and KSA consumers explore hundreds of online shopping sites to know the price range and variations in products to get the right ideas and inspirations before making a purchase.

These numbers show a positive future for eCommerce in these regions and that makes up for a crucial factor to strengthen your online presence even more than that offline.

This article has been designed to help you make the right decision with a complete understanding of all the aspects you need to consider before and after making the switch. Read on to get useful insights on how to become a top eCommerce seller in the Middle East.

How to Take Your Retail Business Online?

Take your offline business online in UAE and Saudi Arabia

If we look at the statistics, the audiences of the Middle East region accounts for 60% in terms of internet usage and has the highest social media engagement of 99% in the UAE and Qatar alone.

The consumers of today prefer more options of buying, delivery, payments, etc making it necessary for a retailer to not just limit their audiences to offline channels where the only way to make a purchase is by visiting the store in person, making payments and then taking the product home by themselves

Incorporating online selling creates a more flexible environment for your customers and that has become a major factor in deciding your overall profits and growth as a business. 

But even if you decide to take the route to online selling, the biggest concern you as a retailer will face will be about the right ways and strategy to start your eCommerce journey and what all you’ll need to be prepared for in the process?

Here are the top 5 requirements to sell online in the Middle East that will help your business make the shift, start the sales and maintain growth

1. Website Creation and Marketplace Integrations

Numbers show that over 56% of shoppers prefer to search for products on different marketplaces and or on the own website of a brand so it is a fundamental step towards building your eCommerce business.

If you wish to kick start selling without waiting up for too long, you can list your products on various marketplaces such as Amazon, Noon, Jollychic etc., but it is always better to have your own website while being present on these platforms as well because then you will have multiple options to cater to your audiences with and will not be restricting your online presence. 

Platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento., etc can help you create a unique website and promote your business in the way you want to. They provide you with hundreds of templates or personalized formats to choose from along with many other plugins to ease your process of selling online., Noon, Jollychic, Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce etc., are seamlessly integrated on the Unicommerce platform, giving your business the ease to create a strong online presence, increase sales and strengthen customer relations.


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2. Personalized Shopping Experience

Going by the reports of Go-Gulf more than 52% of shoppers in the Middle East buy products based on their popularity on social media platforms, making it essential for an eCommerce business to give their customers a sense of personalization when recommending or pitching products to sell them.

Over 42% of customers in the region prefer to shop from platforms that provide them with options based on their previous purchases or interests in a more personalized manner. To ensure that your customers connect well with your products, work with local language experts to revamp your website to have an Arabic version.

You can change the interface of your website as per the Arabic language, show more local faces and products preferred by the audiences, etc.

3. Payment Gateway

Once you have built your website or listed your products in any of the popular marketplaces and carts, the next big thing to ensure is the safety and security of your customers when they purchase products from you and this can be done only with a trusted Payments partner. 

In the Middle East, 62% of the shoppers still prefer Cash on Deliveries due to the very reasons of theft and fraud but with more and more advanced security features being added to several Payment Gateways, users have slowly started to place orders using credit or debit cards, prepaid, wallets etc.

4. ERP and Accounting Systems

Not only for payments but having a stronger system than can evaluate your total earnings, keep track of all payments and provide you with useful information on your accounting processes is also necessary. 

These are no tasks to be done manually and require precision and attention to detail which cannot be achieved fully using manual efforts.

Apart from these, the VAT system in the Middle East, effective from January 1st, 2018 makes it even more crucial to have a robust ERP and accounting system onboarded to handle your taxes, better understand the VAT laws and be aligned with government regulations.

Utilizing the expertise of technology, you can provide your business with the right tools to maintain, manage and keep records of all your payments, get error-free calculations on profits and always be one step ahead of your competitors.

5. Logistics and Delivery

When all the shopping is done and the payments are made, the next thing to take care of is the delivery of products on time and without errors.

Shipping products on time and making sure they reach the last mile is what will set your eCommerce business apart from all others. Onboarding third-party logistics and shipping providers that have strong local ties to ensure your orders can reach the farthest of the end, will help you create a happier and bigger pool of customers.

Look for partners that provide multiple options for delivery such as same day, next day, etc. This will allow your customers the convenience of getting orders at their own time.

Your eCommerce platform will need to have complete automation of services to tackle the demands, sales, deliveries and much more, all at the same time and that can be achieved only when you have all of these 5 crucial aspects in place to ensure a seamless transition, better management and overall higher profits for your business.

Unicommerce’s hassle-free integrations with Aramex, DHL, FedEx etc., streamlines the entire process of handling your logistics and shipping to help you achieve faster deliveries, better customer experience and overall increased productivity.

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Establish your Business With the Right Solutions!

Accomplishing all 5 of these highly important aspects to take your business online may be difficult if you do not have the right support by your side but with Unicommerce you’ll be able to check all the boxes and scale up your eCommerce business in the most successful way possible.

Unicommerce is a leading supply chain technology solutions provider that ensures complete simplification of all your eCommerce needs be it managing your inventory, orders, warehouse, returns and much more!

Unicommerce has been catering to hundreds of sellers, retailers and brands emerge as thriving eCommerce businesses and create new opportunities of success for them. 

To know more about our services, technology solutions or to get a free demo, speak to one of our experts right now.

Start your eCommerce journey with us today!

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