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E-commerce adoption is growing globally as more consumers expect delivery of products and services to be digital, seamless, and timely. Businesses are racing to compete and join the e-commerce trend. In Qatar, the e-commerce market is showing healthy growth over the coming years, especially in the services sector.

The e-commerce market in Qatar is the seventh-largest in MENA, with a market size of nearly QR 4.4 billion ($1.2 billion), expected to grow to QR 8.7 billion ($2.4 billion) by 2020. With this growth, the online buyers in Qatar who spend an average of QAR 960 ($264) per purchase are also expected to grow, in terms of comfort with online transactions, total spend and sophistication.

The drive for increased e-commerce adoption will contribute to economic development, providing a viable new bridge to consumers to improve business efficiency, expand trade and investment opportunities, and foster innovation, diversity and competitiveness.

The provision of e-commerce services from portal development to payment gateways are still in their nascent stage in Qatar, and there is room for the development of the sector with solution providers who can provide world-class e-commerce services that can compete globally.

E-Commerce Guidelines

As with any developing industry, there are challenges in enforcing quality standards while maintaining growth. To address these challenges, the MCIT has established mechanisms and guidelines to guide merchants on the right path to best practice and instill a sense of trust in customers using e-commerce in Qatar.

MCIT has provided guidelines to help e-commerce merchants in Qatar increase, and then maintain, their performance to world-class standards:

Web Design Guidelines:
  • Communication and promotion
  • Pre-sale information
  • Order
  • Payment authentication
  • Data privacy
  • Post-sale information
  • Post-sale assistance
Terms and Conditions Guidelines:
  • Change of mind
  • Return costs in case of change of mind
  • Refund and/or replacement procedures
  • Warranty and claims
  • Limitation of liability/ indemnification requirements
  • Specific requirements
Technology Guidelines:
  • Identity management: sign-in
  • Identity management: payment confirmation
  • Information security
  • Accessibility
  • Design best practices
Security Guidelines:
  • Customer validation check
  • Customer history and proprietary data analysis
  • Aggregated transaction from third parties analysis
  • Purchase device tracking
User Experience Guidelines:
  • Communication
  • E-commerce store
  • Identity management
  • Payment
  • Distribution
  • Customer care
  • Homepage
  • Navigation & links
  • Product pages
  • Media & rich content
  • Checkout, shopping cart, and wish list
  • Support pages

MCIT has also prepared the following guidelines
for consumers to help them shop smart online:

  • Know the merchant
  • Know when to be concerned
  • Understand online auctions
  • Know what information you are giving to the vendor and why
  • Know what you are buying
  • Understand delivery time
  • Know the details of your payment