How Dubai Commercity is spurring the e-commerce ecosystem
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How Dubai Commercity is spurring the e-commerce ecosystem

How Dubai Commercity is spurring the e-commerce ecosystem

Dubai CommerCity can create an e-commerce solution based on the varying needs of each one of its clients, says its COO, deVere Forster


Dubai CommerCity recently announced the launch of new facilities as part of its first phase – can you elaborate on what’s available?
Dubai CommerCity is a major free zone development project spanning across 2.1m sqft. The city is an ideal opportunity for international and global brands and e-commerce players to better service their end customers. Designed with a modern and innovative approach, Dubai CommerCity is split into three clusters with the aim to strategically achieve environmental and investment sustainability.

The business cluster consists of 12 buildings, out of which we have delivered one office building with a total leasable area of 215,278 sqft.

The logistics cluster consists of flexible-sized warehouses and fulfilment units equipped with the latest technologies to meet the needs of logistics providers and customers. The cluster is designed with rooftop PVC solar panels for generating clean energy. We have delivered a total leasable area of 146, 313 sqft, including 20 dedicated units (79,000 sqft) and 67,306 sqft of the multi-client warehouse space.

Finally, the social cluster is in the heart of Dubai CommerCity, which is also open to the public. The area covers a diverse food court, shops, restaurants, multi-purpose exhibition halls and quality amenities – all within walking distance, and can be used by pureplay e-commerce clients as a pick-up-point for click-and-collect orders and a drop-of-point for customer returns. Out of a total area of 32,033 sqft, we have delivered 15,607 sqft so far.

Can you also take us through the next stages of development?
The next plans for expansion will be delivered by the end of 2022. This milestone will include dedicated logistics units (warehouses and fulfillment centre as well as additional multi-client facilities) in addition to two office buildings. At present, what are the main challenges to setting up/operating an e-commerce venture in the region?

There are several factors to consider when developing a regional e-commerce presence. If you are just starting out, it is always best to work with providers who understand market-specific challenges, can fill-in for legal and technical aspects, and can provide extensive commercial and logistics infrastructure.

While selecting a base for your business in the region, you must consider ease of doing business – how advanced are the regulations and how friendly are the government policies? And when we are talking about e-commerce, we need to consider the mobile internet speed, internet penetration rates and tax environment. Recently, the UAE was ranked 13 out of 99 countries for ease of starting an online business, which is one of the important considerations when choosing a regional base.

Another aspect is catering to local payment preferences. Your business may accept credit card payments, but the population in a specific country may have a different preferred payment method. For example, COD is an important payment method in this region.

The ability to offer what buyers consider as a safe and acceptable payment method in a specific geography is important to ensure reduced cart abandonment.

Yet another challenge is dealing with product returns and refunds. Up to 30 per cent of e-commerce orders go through an exchange/return process. If the experience is not smooth for the customer, they might never return to your webstore.
Other important factors to consider are streamlining localisation efforts, the importance of social commerce in the given market, catering for cultural sensitivities and ensuring omnichannel customer experience, among others.

What are the main solutions you offer to support e-commerce businesses to be successful?
The value proposition you get from Dubai CommerCity comes in the shape of a specialist freezone for e-commerce together with a complete end-to-end e-commerce ecosystem. This means we can create an e-commerce solution based on the varying needs of each one of our clients. We help businesses across the following areas:

  • Pre-and post-setup support including fast and automated registration and licensing
  • Pre-integrated and pre-configured e-commerce platforms
  • Last-mile delivery solutions with pre-negotiated rates from the regions’ leading 3PLs
  • Streamlined direct-to-consumer customs support and processes for product movement between the freezone, mainland and cross-border
  • Access to on-site ecosystem service providers such as payment gateways, contact centres, talent recruitment, e-commerce platform developers, performance marketing, translation, and content production, among others

With Dubai CommerCity as a one-stop-shop, you can simply cut out the middleman and choose to select our full suite of services, or just activate the ones your business requires on a ‘Pay as you Go’ model.

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