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How To Start Online Store With Shopify In UAE?

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Posted on: Thursday June 13, 2019

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The rising popularity of online portals has captivated many individuals & business houses to start their stores and make a profit online. Several excellent web development platforms are available for entrepreneurs to create a professional E-commerce website equipped with good shopping cart plugins usable to help your clients pay for handed goods and services.


Shopify is one of the best available options for developing an E-commerce website with features like server, security, and maintenance under one roof. For demonstration review, we’ve purchased a basic plan to create our online storefront; however, there’s a choice of 14 days free trial available, so you can set up your store and start testing it before purchasing anything. After completing free trials, Shopify has a selection of 5 packages to choose from, starting with a standard USD 9 per month plan.


You first need to know that if you are looking to set up a website with Shopify in UAE, you must know about Shopify pricing and which plan is best for your business. For example, Shopify offers a Basic Plan for USD 29 per month, allowing users to receive payments without any transaction fees if using their gateway. In addition, this plan supports unlimited storage and listings for your products along with a website, blog, SSL certificate, and 24/7 support. Other plans include; the “Shopify” plan for USD 79 per month, Advanced plan for USD 299 per month, Shopify Plus for about USD 2000 per month, and Shopify Lite for USD 9 for merchants who are looking forward to selling in person or adding a buy button to the existing website. However, one cannot build an online store with Shopify Lite.


How to create your Shopify Store?


Here is an end-to-end layout of building your Shopify store.


Step 1: Brand Identity and Logo Designing


When you decide upon doing a business, you decide to create an identity. A name, color, design, and logo distinguish your entity in the consumer’s mind. Therefore, you have to:


  • Choose a name.
  • Design the logo.
  • Use color, shapes, and other visual elements for the products and promotions.
  • Craft a tagline for advertisements.


Come to think of it, a company’s logo earns the trust and recognition of people, and it has to be continually appealing for years to come as long as the business is operational; therefore, getting the best logo design services seems essential then. However, this is no nutcracker’s job as one has to do intensive adept research to develop a branding that is easy to connect with and is descriptive of the company’s services or objectives. For the same, you would need a branding agency that would grow your business and help you make the right decision.


Step 2: Company Registration and Trade License


Choosing the right kind of company


There are several options that UAE provides you cut-stitched as per your business needs. For example, you can register your company under a limited liability company, branch of a foreign parent company, or as a representative office. The plans you have for broadening your entity and the markets you possess access to determine which form of business you wish to register work optimally for you.


Deciding the Location


While deciding upon the location, you have two options. You can register your E-commerce business under free zones or outside the free zone since each form offers its own set of services and limitations. A company registered under the Free Zone can operate its activities inside the Free Zone solely or outside UAE, experiencing neither restriction in import and export of goods nor import/export duties; while a Mainland company is an inland company that can conduct its business activities in the local market of UAE and outside UAE. Therefore, one has to make to analyze all the terms and conditions of all the forms of business registered in the UAE.


Registering the name of the E-commerce company


Before getting an E-commerce license, you must also register the company’s name, which must be relatable and easy to remember for your target audience.


Choosing a physical office in Dubai


Now you must be wondering when online stores needed a physical premise? You are somewhat right as an online store does not need the traditional brick-mortar shop for operation. However, as per legal compliance administered by the Dubai authorities, one does need a legal address (office).


Registering for the E-commerce license


Similar to any other form of business, one needs a business license for selling goods online with Shopify in UAE. For the same, you must have the following licenses:


E-commerce Activities License


This allows you to sell local products (the ones registered in UAE) through your online store.


Trading Activities License


This permits you to export and import goods from and to other countries, i.e., it enables you to sell global products on your Shopify store.


Therefore, if one wishes to sell international products in the UAE, they need both licenses. If one decides to sell only local goods, there is no need to seek the latter license; the former E-commerce activities license is enough. However, it must be noted that if your E-commerce business is operating under an E-commerce activities license, then you are restricted from selling your products in the local market of UAE through local distributors and agents. You cannot sell products directly to the consumers in the UAE mainland.


Getting approval for the license


Once you have completed and submitted your application after meeting all the requisites, it will take around 7 business days to get your license approved.


Bank Account and Payment Gateways for E-commerce


Like any company, you will need a bank account and therefore will have to open one. The local banks offer good opportunities for opening accounts for offshore companies. Although you will be operating online, you will have to set up credible gateways for your E-commerce website in UAE. It includes features like cash on delivery (COD), credit cards, wallets, and other prepaid card systems such as Paypal, Stripe, Skrill, and many more.


Step 3: Choosing Domain


While the brand identity and logo design give a name and face to the business on all platforms, a domain name is the online identity of your establishment, and it is one of the most effective tools for marketing proven. For coming up with the right domain name, keep the following points in mind:


  • Put your brand on the domain name.
  • The domain name must be short, simple, unique, and easy to remember.
  • Refrain from using special characters like numbers and hyphens.
  • Consider Search Engines.
  • Avoid any legal and copyright troubles.
  • It must be mobile-friendly.
  • Choose domain extensions that represent your industry best.
  • Consider buying an existing domain name.


Step 4: Developing Store


Now let’s build your store from scratch.


Theme selection in Shopify store


The selection of appropriate themes is a prime requirement for any E-commerce store to look professional. Shopify provides a selection of attractive themes for customers to choose from for 11 available categories, including home, clothing, food, art, accessories, and more. You need to click on the “Demo” button to see what an entire page will look like, and if found satisfactory, just hit “publish” to get it added to your account. Of course, if you’re not satisfied with free themes, you can always visit the store for premium ones.


Shopify in UAE also keeps track of the themes you’ve used in the past. You need to scroll down through your Themes page in the dashboard to find the older option and switch. Also, it’s possible to customize the theme you choose with a drag-and-drop editor or edit the CSS/HTML instead.


Creating Product Collection and Importing Images


This is the most crucial part of your Shopify store development journey since this will describe what products and services you deal with. This is where you have to start your creative head churning. Creating an outstanding product page involves being innovative with the product name, and writing accurate and compelling product descriptions. You must also import captivating high, clarity images that persuade them and grab their attention.


Blogs & Additional Setup


To ensure that your online store is not only an order form and a series of inventory pages, one can make sure that your visitors can get helpful information about your brand. For example, Shopify has created blogs to enhance its SERP rankings and engage with more customers. In addition, it also has a virtual marketing assistant feature known as “Kit,” useful for businesses creating Facebook and Instagram ads and sending a few email templates.


Managing Payments and Customer Experience


Any good shopping cart software is not helpful if the shoppers find it difficult to search for products and pay for them quickly. On the other hand, the best user experience on an E-commerce platform comes as easy as possible, which is also great for sellers looking to manage their transactions seamlessly.


Shopify provides an option of payment gateway called “Shopify Payments” to support payments for E-commerce companies in the UAE. The users can also choose “PayPal Express checkout” or 70 other unique payment gateway options available, but remember that PayPal & other payment gateways charge their fees for credit card transactions, whereas using Shopify’s payment option gives the leverage of getting the transaction fees removed on your behalf.


Furthermore, suppose you disagree about automatically charging customer credit cards or want to be assured that your products get properly shipped to customers before you charge. In that case, all the other payment gateways are as efficient as Shopify’s built-in one. In case of discrepancy, there are quick ways to overcome payments issues in the Shopify store in UAE. Choosing the right gateway contributes significantly to user experience; hence make an informed and prudent decision.


Shipping gateways


One of the good attributes of choosing an excellent E-commerce platform like Shopify is that it has a built-in Shipping setup software through which you can select carriers, shipping methods, print labels, and send automatic order shipping notifications to the customers. Furthermore, you can generate shipping prices to accredit the customer’s shipping fee once your shipping setup is complete. Though Shopify allows you to add real-time prices, which is the same for sending a specific order, you can still set up rates as per your specifications.


Third-party Integrations


Automating core business processes: CRM and ERP


ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) helps you connect your financial and operational systems to a central database, while CRM (Customer Relationship Management) manages customer interaction with your businesses. Both are essential data repositories. SAP is highly acclaimed for streamlining various business processes within any unit or department at the establishment with their different modules and can be easily integrated with Shopify. On the other hand, other than the in-built software of Shopify, Zoho is famous for offering an API that automates critical processes, is time adequate, gives real-time updates, and puts all sales and profits data into a centralized location.


Accounting: QuickBooks


QuickBooks is an accounting platform used for financial management. It includes tools like inventory, payroll, filing tax, invoicing, tracking bank accounts, reconciliation, managing expenses, budgeting, processing payment, account receivables, and account payable management. Integrating Shopify with Quickbooks provides accurate accounting with synchronized data.


Other payment gateways


When choosing a payment gateway, you must consider the following attributes:




It cannot be emphasized enough how important it is for the customers to trust the transaction pathway with their personal information; therefore, securing transactions is the top priority of every business that enables online payment. Therefore, such a mode must comply with PCI – DSS standards (Payment Card Industry – Data Security Standard).


Customer Experience


The user experience of the pathway must be easy, quick, seamless, swift in processing and customizing payment. After all, it is the core part of customers’ shopping experience; hence it must be customer friendly rather than complicated.


Choice of Payment


Every payment gateway must allow customers to choose their mode of payment at their convenience among debit/credit card, net banking, mobile wallets, UPI, or other prevalent payment modes.


Merchant Onboarding


The gateway providing smooth and swift merchant onboarding are vital, and the option processing and setup fees and rates should be affordable for every merchant.


Acceptance of Worldwide currency


Thanks to the internet, interconnectivity now runs deep; therefore, the gateway you choose must support multi-currency transactions.


Also, you must check out our other blog to know more about the top 10 payment gateways for your E-commerce website in UAE.


Shopify Customer Service


One of the most compelling features of Shopify is that it allows you to use the same platform for physical stores and online store sales. There’s also the option to place your E-commerce store buy button on a different website, which is excellent if you don’t want to build your website.


Not only is their store builder manual easy to use if you want to do everything yourself, but there’s also support available through email, chat, and phone calls too. For example, suppose you want to reach out to a relatively large community. In that case, there’s a discussion company available online, which you can access whenever you have a question you need to ask. Remember that you might not get a response on the forum as quickly as you do elsewhere.


Step 5: Choosing a Plan


Shopify has a well-structured pricing plan that caters to different merchants’ needs at an affordable price; therefore, you can easily decide which Shopify plan is best for your business.


shopify plan details
Basic Shopify Plan


The basic plan costs USD 29/month inclusive of services like unlimited storage, listing for products, two admin accounts, a website, a blog, 24/7 complete support, SSL certificate, an abandoned cart recovery feature, up to 4 recovery stores, up to 4 retail stores, warehouses, pop-ups, gift card, and manual order creation perfect for new business.


Shopify Plan


It is targeted specifically for growing businesses at USD 79/month. It offers all the features under the basic plan and 5 admin accounts, 5 inventory locations, and a comprehensive operations report.


Advanced Shopify Plan


In addition to all the necessary features that scale a growing business at the cost of USD 299/month, it offers 15 admin accounts, an advanced report builder, 8 inventory locations, and charges minimal transaction fees on using a third-party payment gateway.


Shopify Plus Plan


shopify plus plan


The ideal preference of large-scale businesses for managing much more than the regular Shopify is the Shopify Plus Plan at USD 2000/month minimum (the price varies for higher volume business). For example, Shopify Plus can handle 10,000 transactions per minute. Sounds impressive, right? It provides unlimited staff accounts, too, with dedicated and more personalized help support, script editing, and analytics.


Shopify Lite


shopify Lite plan


Shopify has recently developed a plan for merchants wishing to sell in person or add a buy button to their existing website. It offers reports for viewing, issuing gift cards, splitting bills, and many other features. However, one cannot build an online store with Shopify Lite. It costs USD 9/month and is available for 14 days free trial like all other plans of Shopify.


After choosing the appropriate pricing, the package can easily be set up in your store. First, create an account with an email and password, after which their in-house software will calculate your tax rate and use your store name for creating a custom URL for the dashboard.


On the dashboard, you can access everything like information about product inventory, existing orders, and customers. Also, one can add outside E-commerce apps like recurring billing and loyalty programs to boost customer experience.


The Shopify app store is incredibly extensive, with the availability of plugins for tasks like sales channels on social media, accounting tools, help desk tools, and more. But remember, adding these features into the mix can increase your monthly bill on the roof-top, so check it extensively before choosing anything to your package. Another common scenario is the requirement to include a lot of information on the product pages whenever something new is added.


Once you have chosen the appropriate plan, your Shopify store is ready to go live. Congratulations!


What all can you sell on Shopify?


You can sell everything on Shopify for the exception being the following:


  • Cannabis and related business
  • Tobacco, e-cigarettes, and e-liquid
  • Online pharmaceutical supplies, prescription-only products
  • Peptides and other research chemicals
  • Gunpowder, explosives, and fireworks
  • Goods and services restricted for a particular age
  • Toxic, flammable, and radioactive materials


Since Shopify keeps updating this list, you should check the website before signing up.


Is there a Tax ID required to sell on Shopify?


Yes, you would need a Tax ID to sell your product and services on Shopify and for:



If you are a sole proprietor and do not have a tax ID, you can also submit the following:


  • Social Insurance Number
  • Social Security Number


What is the cost of developing a Shopify Store?


To give you a rough idea of the cost incurred in building a Shopify store, you must know the parameters on which the cost depends:


  • Functionality requirements
  • E-commerce development company hired
  • Scope of the work


In UAE, the cost incurred in developing an E-commerce store ranges from AED 5000 to AED 90,000 as per the details, requirements, depth of the process, automation and integration, and customization.


When it’s about setting up your online store, great support and a simple process are critical. You won’t prefer losing any customer visiting to buy from you, and Shopify can make it easy for any online store brand to start selling quickly with fantastic features.


Concluding thoughts

We end this roadmap for starting an online store with Shopify in UAE from scratch. We know you must be excited and anxious at the same time. In fact, running an E-commerce business is thrilling, challenging, and when the foundations set right, then fruitful. However, making the store is the end of the means. Prior to that, you have to tenaciously work on the essential attributes like choosing the right product to sell after adept research, evaluating the viability, ascertaining the supply, devising an efficient store, building a brand name and logo, exercising intense marketing techniques, and most importantly having faith in yourself. Do not get desperate to get results. You must remember that this blog is merely a roadmap for the incredible voyage, you are setting on, starting your own online store on Shopify in UAE.