Qatar is home to people of many different nationalities. Within them is a growing community of home-based entrepreneurs who create intricately and wonderfully designed products ranging from home decor to children’s toys. But the question arises: if you are a talented person with a knack for business, how can you legally sell your products?
Abiding by business laws is crucial for local vendors. In September 2021 alone, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry issued over 127 violations due to illegal business activities. Knowing this, many expats who want to start their ventures but are unsure how to do so legally may avoid trying entirely. And for those who do have an idea, the cost implications and need for a local sponsor, plus the potentially complex legal procedures required to set up a company, might all prove too tricky.
Enter Education City online and their revolutionary idea, the Education City Marketplace. This online shopping platform gives expats and locals the chance to legally sell their products under the Education City Marketplace umbrella, part of Qatar Foundation, Qatar’s largest non-profit.
How Does It Work?
Simply put, Education City Marketplace is an online hub that connects vendors with those who wish to buy their products. This means that customers support Qatar’s growing community of home-based entrepreneurs with just a few clicks.
Designed and developed within Qatar, the marketplace is home to many business people who have started their enterprises locally—from creatives who are here under spousal sponsorships to graduates from local universities who are beginning their careers with their own start-ups.
Selling with Education City Marketplace
To sell under the banner of Education City Marketplace, you first need to register. This is a simple process that is completed through an online web form. Still, if you require more support, the operations team can help via phone or email to walk you through any questions you may have.
In terms of contracts, you will have to sign Qatar Foundation’s Terms & Conditions plus a contract with Snoonu, a local payment gateway and delivery service provider.
Once registered—which usually takes only a few days from filling in the form—a username and password protected sellers page will be created specifically for your business. This page is your gateway to sales. There, you will be able to upload your product photos and add descriptions and pricing. This is your online shopfront where the buyer will view and buy your goods, so it is essential to keep it updated.
Most sellers will then promote their page via their social media pages to their carefully built audiences, showcasing their best designs and products.
The Sales Process
When you’re a customer, it’s easy—all you need to do is decide what you want to buy, add it to your cart, and then checkout. Orders are paid for either via credit or debit card. A delivery charge is then applied to your order (between QR 10 and QR 25) depending on the product you are ordering and the delivery location. If you order from multiple sellers, this charge will be applied to each order. You will be told how long it will take for your order to be processed and delivered to your door at the time of purchase. The time frame will vary between sellers as some products will take longer to make than others.
At the point of sale, the Education City Marketplace operations team will create a purchase order. An email will be sent to the seller confirming the order, alongside any customer comments or customisation. Then, it is over to the seller to prepare the order to your specifications, whether you are buying a custom print, dog collar, chocolate cake, or handmade toy.
Once the order is prepared, the seller confirms it with Education City Marketplace and delivery is arranged via Snoonu. Snoonu will collect the piece from the seller and deliver it to you. This process is ideal for those unable to sell or buy in a face-to-face setting.
Whether you are a seller or buyer, the team at Education City Marketplace is available to help at every step of the way during this process.
The idea behind Education City Marketplace is to support a growing and thriving entrepreneurial community and empower women and young people. So, at the time of writing, sellers are not required to pay a commission fee to Education City or Qatar Foundation.
The only costs applied are for payment and delivery services. This amounts to 3.5% of the sale cost. Snoonu collects this amount, which is deducted before the sellers’ total earnings are paid to them at the end of each month in one lump sum.
From Strength to Strength
Since going live on 20 August 2020, Education City Marketplace is home to 147 sellers as of October 2021. The burgeoning platform is currently estimated to gain an average of three new sellers a day, with an increasing number of people registering their interest.
Education City Marketplace has transformed the local small-business landscape. This platform offers a variety of local products available for home delivery that is unprecedented in Qatar. Needless to say, it is set to revolutionise your selling and shopping experiences.
- Website: market.educationcity.qa/
- Web Form: market.educationcity.qa/en/sellerrequest
- Telephone: 5599-3858/5522-7477
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org