The UAE has many positives that make the country one of the best destinations for eCommerce. First, the country has internet penetration at over 95%. Next is the high literacy rate in the country followed by impressive employment opportunities. Third is the uber, cosmopolitan nature of cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Fourthly, people here have embraced eCommerce with open arms. The country is considered to be the central point between the East and the West. Almost every big global brand has a presence here. It is quite natural to think of starting an eCommerce business in Dubai. In this blog, we shall see five top activities new businesses should focus on while they embark on their journey of starting an eCommerce business in Dubai.

Market Research

Even though it is considered promising to start an eCommerce startup in Dubai, the market here is highly competitive and market variables are sophisticated. Assessing the demand levels of the product/service in question is one of the top priorities in market research. If the offering does not have sufficient demand, there is a need to reconsider or redesign the offering. Then there is the competition factor. Because of the presence of many players in almost every product category, even if the demand looks good, it is difficult to grab and hold on to even a small market share. So, new players are always on the lookout for breaking in with an effective strategy. The required inputs and insights come from market research.

Consumer behaviour in Dubai’s eCommerce space cannot be easily deciphered. First of all, consumers here have plenty of shopping options to choose from with world-class services in the offing. Next is the high disposable income level that leaves no room for ordinary products and services. If a brand is not able to position itself as a premium one, it has a lesser chance of survival. Thirdly, aided by the high literacy rates and digital exposure, consumers here carry high levels of awareness. So, cover-ups are not a good idea for brands here in Dubai. Other important considerations are cultural values, pricing, and locational analysis. The moot point of highlighting all these points is that without focused market research, new businesses cannot gain important market insights. And this could make their business models and plans less effective.

Business Model Development

Given Dubai’s highly-competitive eCommerce space, both domestic and international eCommerce companies in Dubai are always on their toes to continue impressing customers with strong value propositions. A unique and strong UVP is essential to start and maintain an ecommerce business in Dubai.

Once a strong UVP is identified, the next step is mapping the value chain that is required to create and deliver this UVP. This involves identifying and instituting the flow and constituents for value creation and delivery. If the value chain is not mapped correctly or is not possible, the UVP also cannot be created or delivered. Although Dubai eCommerce city is resourceful for the purpose of business, every brand has a unique value chain with unique requirements to fulfil.

For those who are new to Dubai’s eCommerce environment, a very important task for them in the value chain mapping is identifying the key business partners and associates. These are the entities that play various diverse roles in the value chain. New businesses must not only know them but also build formal relations with these entities. These entities include service providers, regulatory bodies, suppliers, manufacturers, etc.

Operations Planning & Website/App

Maintaining the best operational standards and practices is of utmost importance in any business. Whether the business is retail or eCommerce, there is no exception to this rule. Strong operations planning helps businesses smoothly execute complex business processes with ease. With sound operations planning, making changes in business processes is easier. The resource requirements can be more accurately identified. The most important benefit is the ability to replicate the same operations in the event of business expansion.

Coming to operations planning for eCommerce business in Dubai, the needs stand a bit heightened. Here, in Dubai, businesses operate at high levels of operations planning. The speed and precision required for both inbound and outbound business processes always remain at high standards. Competition is crushing here. For example, any inconsistency in order fulfilment could easily lead to customers switching to other brands. Customers have enough options.

So, how can an eCommerce business plan and maintain robust operations? The clue lies in becoming process-oriented and implementing eCommerce SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). SOPs help map and define business processes with high definition and detailing. SOPs help secure business process coordination across departments and value chain associates even if these departments/entities are located at different places. SOPs constitute the foundation of business process automation.

The shopping website/app is the storefront for an eCommerce business. The performance and quality of an eCommerce app/site are affected by:

·         Software platforms and technologies used

·         cyber safety and security,

·         data management,

·         UX features,

·         loading speed,

·         device compatibility,

·         ease of navigation,

·         language support, etc.

YRC highly recommends availing the services of any good eCommerce developer in Dubai.

Legal and Regulatory Compliances

For any business or profession, it is important that the incumbents have a good understanding of the applicable legal and regulatory compliance requirements. The idea is very simple – if you do not abide by the law of the land, be ready to face the consequences. In fact, at the time of starting a business, the required licences may not be even granted if the terms and conditions are not fulfilled.

Although the UAE is known for its business-friendly environment, it should at no point in time be taken as lenient. The authorities will not hesitate to terminate any business permission or licence in the event of non-compliance. YRC strictly advises businesses to avail authorised, professional assistance for not only resolving queries on eCommerce licence cost in Dubai or eCommerce company registration in Dubai but also in understanding and complying with the applicable requirements.

Financial and Commercial Planning

One of the most important steps in starting any business is financial and commercial planning. In this step, all the necessary budgetary and commercial assessments and projections are prepared. The bigger objective is to examine the profitability and the commercial feasibility of starting a new business or executing a new expansion project.  A big advantage of this step is that it serves as a future action plan and reference for financial and commercial activities related to business.

Coming down specifically to eCommerce in Dubai and the relevance of financial and commercial planning, the general requirements are universal. But there are aspects which are specific to every region and the prevailing business environment. These specifics must be taken into consideration. For example, Dubai has one of the world’s best supply chain infrastructures for business and industry. The big players in the supply chain services may have an upper hand in dictating the terms and conditions of the service contracts. If there is a MOQ condition, it will have financial and commercial repercussions on small and medium businesses.