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E-commerce in the UAE moves to the next level

E-commerce in the UAE moves to the next level

The opening of a dedicated e-commerce free zone in Dubai has signalled the start of a new era of global online trading for the UAE.

Dubai CommerCity, which covers an area of 2.1 million square feet, cost AED3.2 billion ($870 million) to develop. It has already let 30% of its facilities.

The management team say its customs office has now opened, providing ongoing support, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In order to encourage more businesses to the development, Dubai CommerCity is offering launch deals through an ‘Early Bird Campaign’, offering customers a chance to save up to 50% on the cost of setting up their businesses within the free zone.

The Arabian Business website said that “the purpose-built development is set to accelerate the already significant rise seen in e-commerce business set-ups and online retail in Dubai and across the UAE”. It added: “It provides e-commerce strategy consulting, guidance on e-commerce regulations in the region and end-to-end logistics solutions including warehousing and last mile delivery.”

The facility is located in the Umm Ramool area, near to Dubai International Airport.

DeVere Forster, chief operating officer, Dubai CommerCity, said: “This is a historic and pivotal moment for the UAE and wider region which for many years has been the epicentre for innovation and technological advancement. We see all around us on a daily basis the incredible transformation of e-commerce and trade and now we have a dedicated home for its future growth and development.

“Dubai CommerCity is a real game changer and offers first of its kind solutions, services and offerings to businesses of all sizes and backgrounds,” added Forster.

It is divided into three clusters – the Business Cluster, the Logistics Cluster and the Social Cluster.


Online shoppers reveal preferences

The phase 1 opening of Dubai CommerCity comes as a survey uncovered more about UAE consumers’ shopping preferences.

The 2021 Stay Secure consumer survey, conducted by Visa, the Dubai Police and Dubai Economy (DED), found that more than a third of UAE consumers would rather switch retailers (37%) or shop on another site (35%) than wait if there are delays preventing them from completing their online purchase.

Nearly one in two consumers said they had abandoned their shopping cart when they experience a delay or authentication error, according to the poll.

E-commerce sites that offer customer reviews (51%), seamless refunds (42%) and a variety of payment options (41%) performed better in building high levels of consumer trust, the survey found.

When it came to security, 57% said they are now more willing to store their card information on merchant sites – as long as it improved their shopping experience. And 43% of respondents said they are shopping less in-store despite the easing of restrictions.

Shahebaz Khan, general manager for the UAE at Visa, said: “Consumers in UAE are very savvy and will not settle for a shopping experience that does not match their expectations.

“Merchants need to recognise this and our survey provides them actionable insights that can help them combat fraud and ensure consumers feel safe when transacting with them.”