When it comes to selling on social media, it’s crucial to be clear on what’s legal in the UAE. There are many benefits to connecting with customers and making sales over platforms like Instagram — but your business can only take advantage of these if you abide by the appropriate laws that are specific to the UAE.
In this article, we will cover:
- The benefits of selling on social media
- Is it legal to sell on Instagram in the UAE?
- Is it legal to sell online in the UAE?
- Steps to get a business license to sell on social media
- Do I need a business license to sell online in Dubai?
Benefits of selling on social media in Dubai
There’s much to be gained from setting up a business that’s able to sell via social media. Whatever the size of your operation, social media can help your business to grow and thrive. A key aspect of driving sales through your social media platforms is understanding what these platforms offer you in terms of engaging with customers, building your brand, increasing brand visibility and — crucially — boosting traffic to your site, so customers can explore and invest in your products.
Brand awareness is key, first of all; when your brand is known and visible, this is the first step on the journey to purchasing. To build visibility, it’s important to invest time (and money, if necessary) in your social media profiles. When you consistently create and share appealing content that reflects your brand, your visibility will increase — as should your ability to convert potential customers into happy clients.
Another important aspect to consider is customer engagement. The most professional social media profiles can fall at this hurdle; it’s key to make sure that when people comment on your posts, you react to them in an on-brand way. Starting and encouraging conversations in the comments section of your posts is key for sharing information about your products — as well as giving existing customers the chance to share their positive experience of your brand with potential future customers. Don’t miss this opportunity to get people talking in an organic, natural way about the quality of your offering.
Another useful side of having a business that sells through social media is the chance to boost your web traffic through your social profiles. Platforms like Instagram can play a vital role in driving traffic to your website which, in turn, can result in increased sales. For example: perhaps a potential customer isn’t actively looking for your product — but when they see posts advertising it while they’re scrolling on social media, they’re then prompted to visit your site and see if the product is for them. This is why a strong social media strategy will include ways to use social platforms to place your brand’s profile in front of would-be customers, which will then guide them to your website where they can purchase. In an ideal world, if your social presence is clear and enticing enough, customers will be reminded of the quality of your products every time they see a post from you — which may result in repeat sales in the future.
Is it legal to sell on Instagram in the UAE
The good news is yes it is legal, as long as you have the correct business license and visa in place.
Is it legal to sell online in the UAE?
The short answer: yes, as long as you have the correct business license and visa. Below, we’ll work through the steps you need to complete to get up and running — and to be compliant with all UAE business laws.
Steps to get a business license to sell on social media
To get started with selling on social media in Dubai, you’ll need a business license. For a personalised quote and tailored guidance on this, get in touch with us at WWF; we’re experts in supporting businesses through the steps needed to be able to sell online legally. With our help, you could be up and running within a couple of weeks.
As a top-level guide to getting started, we’ve created the following checklist:
1. Apply for a business license in Dubai
This is a multi-step process — and while none of these steps is particularly complicated, they all require knowledge of how the business incorporation process works in the UAE. This is why we recommend you seek out expert advice to help you navigate the steps.
2. Be specific about your business activity
In order to successfully apply for a business license in Dubai, every business must list their business activity — or activities. You will be able to choose the most appropriate option from a predetermined list, with over 2000 to choose from — so whatever your industry or line of work, there will be options that apply to your business. It’s essential that you list every activity your business undertakes; failing to cover all activities can result in fines, or even your business losing its license.
3. Making sense of license types
Once you’ve decided on your business activities, you will be able to determine what type of license you will need. As an example: if your business provides marketing or consulting services, you’ll need a professional services license. There are a range of other licenses available — such as commercial, industrial, e-commerce and trading.
4. Choose your company’s name
As well as your name needing to be snappy and memorable, you’ll also need to choose a name that fits the UAE’s strict naming conventions. The key information to note on this front is that UAE company names should not contain any language that’s considered blasphemous or offensive. It should also not feature the names of any well-known institutions, or any abbreviations of your own name. Using your own full name is permitted, however. It’s also important that your business name has a legal entity — such as FZE or LLC. These are just some of the criteria to consider; please do get in touch with us for a more comprehensive list.
5. Determining your setup type and applying for your license
You will need to choose between free zone and mainland setup. Both come with distinct advantages and limitations — it’s best to seek expert advice on which is best for you. Once this is complete, you’ll be able to apply for your license. How you do this will vary according to your setup type, but in both cases you’ll need to submit:
- A copy of your passport, and those of any shareholders
- Your business plan
- A copy of your signature
- A No Objection Certificate from your current employer, if applicable
6. Apply for your visa
This final step contains four stages, including a medical — but it shouldn’t take more than a week. And once it’s done, you and your business are ready to get selling on social.
So, to conclude:
Do I need a business license to sell online in Dubai?
Yes — and while navigating the latest regulations can be complicated, we’re here to help. At Worldwide Formations, we’re highly experienced in supporting businesses through the process; we’ll get you all set up within a few weeks, managing applications and communicating with authorities, so you can start showcasing — and selling — your products online in no time.