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The Five Best E-Commerce Businesses to Start in Dubai

The e-commerce industry has grown globally at an exponential pace over the past few years – especially in 2022. The MENA region alone saw the market grow to $37 billion, marking a 16% growth versus the previous year.

There are plenty of ways to enter the e-commerce space in Dubai, and leverage on a growing industry that’s set to further improve over time. That’s because e-commerce covers a large range of possible businesses, so nearly every industry can now be online. The possibilities are endless, but here are just a few of the best e-commerce ideas to set up in Dubai:

Retail Goods

One of the most well-known use cases of e-commerce is of course, the selling of retail goods. These may be clothing, shoes and accessories, personal care, furniture and appliances, and many more. Noon is a great example of this, as an online marketplace that sells everything from electronics to home improvement tools within a single platform.

When setting up a retail e-commerce business, it will be worth considering whether the priority is to become a one-stop-shop for all items, or a niche marketplace that sells specific product categories. Although the former could be attractive because it’ll potentially attract a large customer base, the latter is also a viable option to build a more dedicated and loyal clientele. It’s also easier for newcomers, since they’ll only have to produce a specific line of products. For example, entrepreneurs may focus solely on the following:

  • Jewelry & luxury goods
  • Children’s clothing & toys
  • Natural & organic products
  • Sports & exercise wear
  • Pet supplies

Either way, retail goods are a strong entry point to e-commerce, so long as the chosen category is in demand without being too competitive.

Drop shipping

There is a similar alternative to the above e- option of selling retail goods, and that is drop shipping. This is when an entrepreneur looks for existing products that other companies manufacture, and sell them to consumers – effectively acting as a middleman. In this case, they take a cut of profits and pass the rest to their partner supplier.

Drop shipping companies can follow different business models in the UAE. One is for reselling, which can be lucrative when selling goods that aren’t easily available in the UAE, or products wherein the original seller doesn’t have an online presence. This allows the drop shipping company to act as a local or online distributor, respectively. Another is for on-demand products like printed shirts, mugs, and other merchandise. Consumers may come to the drop shipper with custom designs, or the drop shipper can work with creators who make designs that they can sell online. Once there is a purchase, the company works with their supplier to produce the merchandise.

Although this business idea is heavy on logistics, the positive is that no inventory is required. This effectively lowers operational costs for business owners.


Another common usage of e-commerce platforms is for food, be it for restaurant deliveries, groceries, and the likes. Some popular choices include Talabat & Careem. Because food is an obvious necessity, marketplaces that offer these will always be relevant.

An online food marketplace can be established via partnerships with local restaurants and cafés, providing them with delivery services around Dubai. Alternately, one could set up their own restaurant or home-based business that offers product delivery. This scenario would mean both preparing the food and setting up customer deliveries, which could be ideal for entrepreneurs who also enjoy cooking or have connections that do. A few ideas for this setup could be baked goods and desserts, organic food, or event catering.

Online Learning

These days, most people are looking to upskill. E-learning platforms are a great source of this form of  further education. Examples include Skillshare which has courses on marketing, photography, or illustration, or Coursera which partners with global universities to offer professor-led MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).

The courses offered by e-learning platforms are typically made for self-learning, which means that students can take lessons at their own time, or follow a loose schedule that accommodates personal flexibility. Topics also cover a wide range, from career-building courses to hobby-related ones. Regardless of which route is chosen, the key is to have a strong network of teaching professionals to head lessons, while building a community of learners who will willingly participate in classes while also sharing knowledge with one another outside class.

Subscription Boxes

Instead of offering one-time purchase products, why not level up to a subscription box and retain a steady stream of revenue from loyal customers? The UAE is already a popular market for subscription boxes. Customers sign up and make purchases through a website, and receive a box of goods at regularly set intervals. The model works for essentials like food or hobbyist products like flowers and cheese.

The main factors to consider are demand, product quality & variety, and delivery frequency. Considering these will prevent cancellations from subscribers, so they won’t feel like they’re not getting their money’s worth; and so they won’t think they can get the same value elsewhere. This is especially true now that movement is more normalized post-COVID-19 lockdowns. If your subscription boxes are thoughtfully curated and have good products, they will certainly still have a place in Dubai business.

Establish an E-commerce Empire with Creative Zone

The above list showcases five of the best bets when setting up an e-commerce business in Dubai. They cover products and services that have local demand and are perfectly fit for the digital landscape. Setting up any one of these ventures will be an exciting and worthwhile adventure, but one that can be made even more fruitful when working with company formation experts who can provide not only business assistance, but also expert advice and strategies for growth and sustenance.

Creative Zone does all this and more. We offer everything from business setup and visa applications, to HR services and marketing. All this enables any e-commerce business to hit the ground running, so reach out for one of our free consultations today!

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