Top 5 Tips For Doing Buisness With The UAE


Hi everyone it’s Victoria at Bolst Global and i hope you’re doing really well. Today here are my top five considerations when dealing with the UAE. First of all remember that this is a very diverse market, there are hundreds of nationalities living here, there are millions of tourists who visit the UAE and particularly Dubai throughout the year.

Especially with things like expo going on and lots of global trade shows from a business perspective. and also there’s a lot of transients meaning that there are people that come and go live here for a short period of time. So in that sense it could be a great place to showcase your brand from a global perspective and get it spotted for opportunities around the world.

Having said that it is really important to remember that this is also a very competitive market to enter so in doing so and depending on your route to market strategy you have to be clear that there are various costs, commitment and time that will be required in order to successfully penetrate the market. Sometimes getting a listing is the easy thing or finding the right partner but maintaining that and growing that is often the difficult part here.

Remember also that your channel strategy here in the UAE may be different from your home market particularly with various health and wellness products. What i mean by that is for example some certain food supplements that you may find quite easily on a supermarket shelf in Western Europe would not be found here in the UAE.

You may have to go to pharmacies more specifically or even doctor prescription routes depending on the actual nature of your product. Another consideration which would be number four from my point of view is understanding your route to market, this is really important before you get started in entering the market and thinking about this ahead of time will save you potentially a lot of margin and a lot of time and making sure that you are entering the market in the right way that’s appropriate for your business and capabilities but equally in a way that the market will respond here positively.

So it may be that there’s an option to go direct to retail for example with your health and wellness product which is absolutely fine however, you do need to make sure that your pricing strategy is reflective of that type of direct retailer opportunity. Should you wish to work with a local partner an agent or distributor here on the ground, then equally should that be a later stage or from the beginning you need to make sure that your margins work to have that extra intermediary supporting you and helping you bring the product in to this market.

There’s also the option obviously to set up your own entity here which is something that maybe some brands would consider but again you have to look at the pros and cons of each market entry strategy and mode of operating.

Do remember as well though that here as i mentioned with lots of competition and from a pricing perspective you may need to be more competitive on your pricing offer than you would expect there are a lot of preconceptions that this part of the world um has plenty of disposable income and whilst it may be a tax-free country and and to some extent there are some truth in that, there’s equally this is this part the world is changing very much and people are looking for better value products and discounts etc as well so be aware of that and mindful when when deciding on your actual pricing that you’re going to offer to the market.

Finally the last thing to think about here are just some what i would call the nuts and bolts of being in exporting to a different country and here in the UAE products do require registration here with the local authorities before they can be imported, that is a requirement and it has to be by somebody here in the UAE who has a valid trade license for importing those products. So they cannot just come in very easily, equally and shelf life is always an issue and trying to put short shelf life stock here will not work.

Arabic must be required on the packaging, production and expiry dates need to go on products as well for retail sale, which is often different from from other markets. Plus the country of origin which a lot of people um don’t realise as well and then from a key documents perspective, the main four that you will need are your commercial invoice packing list a certificate of origin and a health certificate. Obviously if your products are organic or there’s anything meat related then Halal and organic certification is an absolute must as well.

So i hope that was helpful some top tips on entering this fantastic market there are lots of opportunities here in the UAE and in the wider gulf and middle eastern regions we absolutely love working here and it’s a great place to do business but do be mindful of some of these top considerations that i’ve given you today.

Thanks for listening and take care

Victoria Boldison

Victoria Boldison

CEO & Founder

Victoria is a multi-award winning Chartered Marketer and has worked internationally for all of her career within start up, SME and large corporation environments marketing and selling food, drinks, supplements and medical devices around the world.

Multilingual with an MA Hons from the University of Oxford (French, Spanish and Portuguese) and an executive MBA from Leeds Business School, Victoria now runs Bolst Global, an international business consultancy and export solutions provider, supporting those businesses operating in global food, drink and supplement sectors.

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