Companies that sign up to the package from EZStore.me, which costs US$650, will receive website creation and hosting from ShopGo, discounted transaction fees with PayPal for the first three months, Dh800 worth of online marketing services from Google, and competitive rates and credits from Aramex.
“Quite simply EZStore is a one-stop e-commerce solution for offline merchants and start-ups looking to build their online business,” said Wassim Kabbara, the head of retail for the Middle East and North Africa at Google.
“Companies sign up and create their own site. It’s not an online mall – rather it’s a way of creating your own website and selling your own products but having everything under one roof and really simplifying the set-up process.”
E-commerce in the region has been slow to take off, but analysts expect it to more than double from 2011 to 2015.
The online commerce market grew 29 per cent to $9 billion last year from $7bn in 2011. It is forecast to grow to $15bn by 2015, according to PayPal Mena. And in many ways the region has a special potential for e-commerce, said Mr Kabbara.
“When we look at users, for example, we have one of the largest and most digitally active online populations and then when we look at the retail market in the region it is also one of the most dynamic retail markets in the world.
“However, despite both those factors, e-commerce has yet to really take off, despite some good signs that things are moving in the right direction.”
Although it is open to any retailer, the service might be ultimately more suitable for small and medium-sized businesses, added Mr Kabbara.
Once the deal is done, retailers can be up and running as quickly as they can upload information on their products and pricing.
Hassan Mikail, the global director of e-commerce for Aramex, said the project “completes the loop for anyone to go online swiftly, whereby the technology, logistics, payments and marketing are part and parcel”.
The partnership has plans to roll it out further in the region but the timing has not been finalised.