New business avenues opening up in UAE’s food e-commerce sector - GulfToday

New business avenues opening up in UAE’s food e-commerce sector


A breathtaking view of the iconic Atlantis hotel in Dubai.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s international offices recently organised a webinar in cooperation with UAE homegrown marketplace on-demand delivery app InstaShop, which identified new business opportunities opening up within the UAE’s food e-commerce sector that companies in emerging markets can capitalise on.

The webinar, titled Food E-commerce Awareness Webinar, attracted 84 participants from 33 countries, representing food manufacturers, export promotion agencies and trade offices. Sessions during the event examined the latest UAE food e-commerce dynamics and trends and competitive advantages that Dubai offers as a world-class food e-commerce and innovation hub.

Addressing participants, Omar Khan, Director of International Offices at Dubai Chamber, said the virtual event offered valuable insights on the UAE’s food e-commerce ecosystem and evolving business landscape. He stressed the importance of using e-commerce platforms to expand business beyond borders and tap into growing demand among consumers in the UAE and surrounding markets who are increasingly turning to digital channels to access products and services.

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Online food and beverage spending in the UAE surged 255% in 2020, while e-grocery gross merchandising value in the country has nearly doubled in recent years, supported by the Covid-led digital shift and changing consumer behaviours.

He added that Dubai’s digital economy is growing by leaps and bounds as various sectors adopt advanced technologies and cutting-edge solutions, while more e-commerce players enter the market.

For his part, Nikola Cabarkapa, VP of Brand Partnerships & MFC at InstaShop provided an overview of InstaShop, the benefits of leveraging the e-commerce platform, as well as potential marketing partnership opportunities.

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Meanwhile, Google and Dubai Chamber have teamed-up to launch ‘Business Online Presence’, a comprehensive digital solution designed to help businesses in the UAE manage their online presence, maximise visibility and attract new customers.

The new solution was launched during a webinar organised today by Dubai Chamber in collaboration with Google. The virtual event was attended by members of business community in Dubai, including representatives from business groups and business councils.

Members of the Dubai Chamber can now access the ‘Business Online Presence’ dashboard to set and verify their business profiles across single or multiple locations on Google Search and Maps. Those online profiles feature essential business details such as opening hours, contact details, address and photos. Businesses can also post timely offers and promotional packages during special seasons.

The tool can generate a customized total score for each business’ online readiness and reputation management. Members of the Dubai Chamber, whether small or medium-sized enterprises, can use the dashboard to standardize brand experience and engage with customers through online reviews, access timely insights like their store visits and identify operational challenges faster. Through this program, registered businesses can also access the ‘Maharat Min Google’ training program to learn the digital skills needed to grow online.

 Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber, described the dashboard as a versatile and reliable tool that helps SMEs seamlessly manage their online presence, reputation, and activities from a single platform. The platform is designed around the needs of local businesses and helps them easily reach new categories of customers who are actively seeking out specific services and products.”

Buamim added that the initiative supports the Chamber’s ongoing efforts to accelerate digital transformation of business in Dubai, expand the emirate’s digital economy and enhance its economic competitiveness on a global level.

Lino Cattaruzzi, Google’s Managing Director in MENA, commented: “The pandemic has truly exposed the critical role digital tools can play in a business’ ability to navigate through challenging times - with a particular impact in certain sectors like retail and tourism. For this reason, we are very happy to continue our collaboration with the Dubai Chamber which has started in 2018, and together offer a tangible solution that helps SMEs across the country grow their online presence and learn digital skills to successfully scale their businesses and reach more customers.”

This initiative is the product of Chamber’s long-standing partnership with Google which has benefited more than 100,000 businesses in the UAE and helped them enhance their digital presence. This partnership is also under ‘Grow Stronger with Google’, the company’s initiative to help accelerate economic recovery in the MENA region through tools, programs and grants. Together with Google, the Chamber aims to continue engaging with SMEs in the UAE, with a focus on retail and tourism sectors.

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