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September 22, 2020

Everything you need to know about setting up an eCommerce business in the Middle East

Author i95Dev Admin
Category B2B eCommerce | Blog |

The COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered innumerable brick and mortar stores across the globe propelling them to make an immediate shift to the digital space. While eCommerce is spreading its roots to every nook and corner of countries, popular reports suggest that the Middle Eastern region has been identified to be one of the fastest growing eCommerce markets in the whole wide world.  Albeit, United States and European markets continue to hold the status of being eCommerce hubs, the Middle Eastern region is speeding up to join the league sooner or later.

eCommerce in the Middle East market is expected to reach 69 billion dollars by the end of 2020.  In just a few years, it is expected to double in size. Experts have stated four major reasons to explain this exponential growth:

  • The size of the youth population in the Middle East is one of the biggest in the world. These youngsters are addicted to smartphone screens and are responsible for driving online sales.
  • This region records one of the highest internet penetrations worldwide.
  • More than 29 per cent of the Middle Eastern population buy online every month.
  • In addition, the Middle East has the world’s highest social media penetration.

To exploit the extensive potential of the Middle Eastern eCommerce market, you have to have a foolproof plan with proper execution. Allow us to walk you through the journey.

Market research

Before you invest your valuable time and hard-earned money in any online business in the Middle East, it is extremely important to have a thorough research of the market, industries, sectors, and businesses:

  • Growing rapidly in the region
  • Expected to grow in the near future
  • You can profit from<
  • You have an advantage in

Choose the right jurisdiction and get a trade license made

Whether to choose the Free Zone or decide on Mainland authority depends on the nature of your eCommerce business. A free zone license allows you to work with a local distributor only, on the other hand, a mainland license provides you the liberty to trade or sell products and services to the local market directly. Before you freeze on one, try and understand which license will profit your business more, in terms of scalability and outreach.

Select the eCommerce platform

Magento is the best eCommerce platform for the MiddleEast region. It is a highly flexible, open source platform that enables you to seamlessly integrate with various third party applications such as ERP, CRM, POS, etc. Having Magento connected to your ERP, CRM, and POS will allow you to keep track of inventory, sales and customers all within one system. This is incredibly powerful because you will not have to go back and forth managing each piece of software individually or worry about what information is missing from each application.

Build a state-of-the-art eCommerce store

While you have the option of selling at Marketplaces like and (popular in the Middle East), creating your own online store has two major benefits – branding and non-sharing of profits with the Marketplaces. In addition, tomorrow, if your business is a hit, your e-store might turn into a Marketplace itself. Developing a futuristic eCommerce store is the most significant aspect of setting up an eCommerce business in the Middle East. Your website has to be professional, user-friendly, SEO-friendly, mobile-friendly, and visually appealing. It should operate seamlessly, have a secure hosting, and be integrated with effective solutions to boost your business growth. Since you will be dealing with Middle Eastern customers, your online store should be bilingual, having both Arabic and English language options. What’s more, having a country-specific domain name will give you an upper hand.

For achieving this, you need an experienced eCommerce solutions provider to build your web store from scratch. i95Dev empowers you with unique eCommerce set-up and implementations on Magento with its deep domain expertise, reaffirming partnerships and versatile integration offerings to suit all your business requirements.

If you do not want to waste any more time and take your business to the digital space right away, you have landed spot on! i95Dev helps you reach your customers in the shortest time poss with a fully functional eCommerce store within 8 weeks.

Efficient payment gateway system;

The world is changing and not everyone prefers cash-on-delivery (COD). To run an online business successfully, you ought to provide your customers with integrated secure payment gateways including credit card payments and debit card systems. There are innumerable online payment gateway vendors available on the market. The more technically sound and stable the payment gateway, the greater load of online traffic it can take and the higher the success rate of business transactions on your eCommerce website. The popular payment processors in the Middle East region are Payfort, Paytab,,, and HyperPay.
Logistics, delivery system, and shipping

In absence of an appropriate logistics strategy, any eCommerce business is bound to fall through. Therefore, establishing a robust logistics system to ensure efficient delivery of products is a must. In the Middle East, you can either tie-up with a third-party for logistical support or you have the option of building your own logistics. Whether to outsource logistics or have it in-house completely depends on how deep your pocket is. Shipping is the backbone of any eCommerce business. To get your products delivered smoothly, you need to tie up with reliable shipping carriers. In the Middle East – Aramex, DHL, and SMSA Express are shipping carriers with a strong foothold.

Marketing and customer acquisition

After you launch your online business in the Middle Eastern market, nothing can take it forward except thoughtful marketing strategy. Creating an effective marketing plan will help you position your products and services in the right space and tap into the right set of target customers. In this way, you can acquire loyal customers in the very initial phases and give your eCommerce business a great start!

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