Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve put together some of the most commonly asked questions to give you more information about eCommerce in Qatar.
In a recent survey more than 60% of respondents in Qatar indicated they would likely make an online purchase in the next year. Qatar’s eCommerce market is currently US$3.3bn, split almost evenly between B2C and B2B and Qatar’s B2C eCommerce sector – currently the 7th largest in the MENA region – is set to expand by a compound annual growth rate of up to 17% by 2025.
Qatar has recognised that eCommerce must become major contributor to the economy. Its eCommerce programs are aimed at rapid adoption by businesses and consumers, offering encouragement and support for eMerchants, including startups, home businesses and SMEs. It also aims to increase public awareness of the benefits online shopping and educate eShoppers on the risks, safeguards and protections available, including the Qatar Theqa eTrustmark.
Currently ranked in top 30 countries in the world for eCommerce potential, Qatar offers enormous opportunities for businesses wishing to capture a share of this fast growing market. While B2C eCommerce portals offering online goods and services to eShoppers are of course expanding, a significant influx of new supporting service providers – including those providing end-to-end eCommerce services, payment gateways and logistic support – are also required for Qatar to achieve its eCommerce ambitions.
To become an official eMerchant in the Qatar, you must register your business with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), the Qatar Financial Center (QFC) or Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP). Businesses can also register domains and trademarks, which contain several further policies and procedures, and you can also apply for the Theqa eCommerce Trustmark. Through its eCommerce Regulatory Framework, Qatar is currently working to simplify the business registration process, as well as increase transparency and support for eMerchants.
Qatar’s burgeoning eCommerce ecosystem offers international investors and new business partners enormous opportunity for high returns. Your new businesses in Qatar must apply for commercial registration to join the country’s eCommerce market (see above), through which you can enjoy several forms of support including potential access to funding, investment and incubation services. This website also provides a central support hub for all investors and prospective eMerchants, including several downloadable guideline documents.
Online businesses can register their domains with the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA), the Qatar Domains Registry that governs all Qatar-specific Internet domains. To visit their website, please click here.
Under the eCommerce guidelines available on this website, prospective eMerchants can access recommendations relating to best practice in the digital development and management of eCommerce websites in Qatar. This serves to ensure that all platforms in the country are designed and built to strict standards that maximise user experience and adhere to strict terms and conditions. Through its eCommerce program, access to further support and e-learning is also available for the country’s eMerchants.
As trust is the number one concern of eShoppers, as an eMerchant you will have to provide a secure payment gateway on your eCommerce platform. Qatar is continually developing this aspect of eCommerce and has several recognised payment gateways, all of which comply to the international Payment Card Industry (PCI) Standard. Before selecting and integrating a suitable payment gateway, you must appraise and compare the services offered by each – and choose the service provider that best suits the requirements of your online business.
eMerchants must display their terms and conditions clearly and prominently. This will limit your business liability and minimise consumer complaints. You are also advised to apply for the Theqa eCommerce Trustmark, which provides eCommerce businesses and consumers several further protections.
Information and links to the various initiatives and programs designed to support and empower the country’s eMerchants can be found here on the Qatar MOTC eCommerce website.
eMerchants must follow all the recommended guidelines when developing their online business, including implementing adequate data protection and privacy, the use of trusted payment gateways and the display of clear terms and conditions and privacy policies, among others. Moreover, by applying and qualifying for Theqa eCommerce Trustmark you will further boost consumer confidence in your platform.
Qatar’s Theqa eCommerce Trustmark is indicated by a logo displayed on your electronic commerce platform. It is badge of approval on an online retailer and is primarily aimed at the protection of online consumers. The eCommerce trustmark certifies that a website is genuine and the eMerchant has been approved by the relevant authorities following a strict evaluation process. By qualifying for Theqa you can proudly display your compliance to its standards and further gain the trust of eShoppers, leading to more traffic and much improved sales.
To sign up for the Theqa eTrustmark click here.
To sign up for the Theqa eTrustmark click here.
eCommerce offers online consumers a number of advantages, including the convenience of buying goods and services from the comfort of your home. Lack of commuting and easy browsing and fast delivery services mean a significant saving of time spent saved. eShopping also exposes you to a large variety of online retailers, cheaper prices and access to special deals, new products, discount vouchers, product bundles and other exclusive online offers.
Ensure you only purchase from secure, reputable online vendors, preferably those display some sort of trustmark or verification of authenticity. Check the website’s shipping and general terms and conditions pages and ensure they have provided adequate contact details. Do not make online payments or perform Internet banking over public Wifi networks, and avoid websites that ask you for confidential information beyond that necessary for purchase and delivery.
Beware of copycat websites by checking the spelling in the website URL. Also, make sure the website URL begins with https and displays a lock icon, which further signifies the site is secure. A trustmark is another important signifier that an eMerchant is legitimate and has all the necessary safeguards in place to ensure they are legitimate online retailers and that the sensitive information of their customers is secure and you will not be exposed to online fraud.
Both the Qatar MOTC eCommerce and Theqa eCommerce Trustmark website provide a wide selection of information and advice for online consumers in Qatar. For more information, please click here.
Qatar has created the Theqa eCommerce Trustmark to protect its online consumers. eMerchants qualify for Theqa by completing a strict evaluation and approval process. By displaying a badge or logo on their eCommerce website, these eMerchants can then certify to you as the consumer that they are legitimate, providing peace of mind when purchasing their goods or services online. Theqa also provides communication channels through which online consumers can lodge disputes with eMerchants.
Qatar’s eCommerce merchants are governed by strict legislation and processes protecting the country’s online consumers, including a strict business registration process and several laws enforcing severe penalties for dishonest, ineffective or fraudulent online business owners. Through the Theqa eCommerce Trustmark, you can also report poor service or suspected criminal practices such as credit card fraud or the misuse of your personal information.