Set Your Magento Up For Middle East (United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia).

Recently while working on Magento site for a friend in Middle East, I came across an article on Ecommerce Statistics and Trend in Middle East written in 2013. Below are the some of the take away

90 Million Internet Users in Middle East

15% on online business has online presence

B2C ecommerce sales was estimated $15 billion in 2015(which is current year)

47% of consumers in Middle East own a payment card.

70 to 80% of online physical good transaction are paid through COD and 30% online payment

Most commonly used payment method in Middle East

  1. 47% – Prepaid Card
  2. 30% – Credit Card
  3. 28% – COD
  4. 30% – Bank Transfer
  5. 27% – Paypal


So according to above stats, it is equally understandable to say “The Middle East and North Africa is the fastest growing e-commerce market in the world.” With this great potential and while you recognize this massive opportunity, you are fully aware of the challenges of doing business online in the region – logistics, Cash on Delivery, language barriers, segmented market, to name a few.

The article is intended to provide most of the functionality and commonly required features needed to run a Magento store in Middle East. This includes all essential payment and shipping methods configuration as well as small enhancements especially for MENA region.

First the basic information for the store must be configured.

Setting up Countries Options

Go to System – Configuration – General – Countries Option Tab

Default Country – Iran (choose country of your choice)

Allowed Countries – Make sure you select countries which you wanted to allow.

Setting up Local Language

Magento by default supports Arabic and have provided extension also for localization. You can follow below URL for steps and configuring local Arabic language.

Adding Regions/States to be displayed on checkout Page.

Adding country or selecting country is not enough because Magento only supports regions/states dropdown for few countries like USA, Canada. For other countries when selected it will remove dropdown and display free text box for region/stage. Next step here is to add states or regions for different countries.

There are 2 options here

Option 1 – Use free Magento Connect Extension to add states/regions for required countries. This is very useful extension for any Magento store outside of USA, Canada. It supports latest Magento and its free so go ahead and install using Magento Connect.

Option 2 – Manually adding to Database

To manually add the information to the tables in your database. Magento will then pick up on this and populate a drop down list. Follow below link which will give idea on SQL.

Adding City Dropdown.

You can follow a great article from MagePschyo on how to Configure City as dropdown option in checkout page.

Currency Configuration

Next this is to setup currency for our Magento store, we need to enable multiple currency and also set default currency. To display currency selector at frontend, couple of steps needs to be followed.

Go to System – Configuration – Current Setup

Base currency as United Arab Emirates Dirham

Default Currency as United Arab Emirates Dirham

Allowed Currencies – Add all the currencies you wanted to allow for your Magento store.

Next step is to setup currency exchange rates

Go to System – Manage Currency – Rates

Click on Import button at top, this will pull the exchange rates from WebServiceEx. Below is the screen how it should look like

Mangento current rate

Next is to check Currency Symbol

Go to System- Manage Currency – Symbols

Manage currency symbol

Setting up Payment methods

What good is your online store if it does not collects payments.  Next step is to setup up payment methods. I have researched and found some of popular payment gateways in MENA regions. Assuming you have opted for any of below merchant accounts it should be easy to setup.


Paypal – Magento has built in support for Paypal and you should be able to configure paypal with no time. More about Magento and Paypal can also be found on official Magento site.

One Card – If you have opted for One Card payment gateway for your Magento store. Shopgo has provided extension for Magento store for integration. “OneCard Payment Gateway”.

By installing OneCard Payment Extension, you will be able to accept instant and secure payments from your customers; even if they do not have a credit/debit card or bank account. This extension will make use of all OneCard payment features. Additionally, it has a lot of customization settings in the admin area

CashU – There are thousands of merchants using CASHU′s payment gateway, If you are one of them and want to setup for your magento store. There is a free Magento extension which can be used for integrating CashU.

Though it says it compatible till Magento version 1.7 but it can be tried with latest version. Also if you already have merchant account you can connect with CashU support to API integration with Magento, they should be able to help for any technical details.

Faturah –It provides best ecommerce solutions for Saudi Arabia. If you have subscribed for Faturah payment gateway for your Magento store.  Again ShopGo has provided extension for Magento for integrating Faturah payment gateway.

This extension adds (Faturah Payment Gateway) option to your store payment methods. Upon adding this extension to your store, your customers will be able to complete payment through Faturah Gateway. This extension is customizable as you can configure it to meet your needs. Additionally, it allows you to add the requirements settings for your Faturah merchant account.

Gate2Play – Another option is Gate2Play, Gate2Play provides you with all available payment options instantly: PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, OneCard, cashU, Cashna, UKash and many others. Setting up Gate2Play payment gateway with Magento store can be done by a Free Extension “Gate2Play Payment Gateway”

This extension adds (Gate2play Payment Gateway) option to your store payment methods. Upon adding this extension to your store, your customers will be able to complete payment through Gate2play Gateway. This extension is customizable as you can configure it to meet your needs. Additionally, it allows you to add the requirements settings for your Gate2play merchant account.


Innovate Payments – Innovate Payments specialise in providing online payment solutions to merchants in regions where ecommerce is still emerging and finding a reliable and cost effective payments partner is often difficult. Based in Dubai, our key focus is the development of ecommerce in the Middle East where we believe there will be exponential growth over the coming years.

This extension adds Innovate Payments to the supported payment methods.

Local Shipping Solutions

COD – Magento have built in support.

Free Shipping – Magento have built in support.

Aramex Shipping – Aramex Shipping and Tracking Extension allows direct communication between the admin portal of Magento Store and Aramex Shipping and Tracking Systems. This extension requires that you have an Aramex account and complete the account information in the Aramex Global Settings.

For installation step and configuration details visit below url

Speedex Courier Dubai – Unfortunately there is no extension available and you would have to use expertise of your developer to integrate with your Magento Store.

If you are using any other Payment/Shipping solution, leave in comment. I can research and edit the articles for everyone’s information.

After doing all the above changes you’ll have addressed all the essentials for running a Magento store for Middle East. Hope this article is informative and details as it was intended to. Feel free to provide feedback/comment and suggestions.

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