Flash sales sites expand in Arab world
NETTED a great deal on Groupon, Cobone or MarkaVIP lately? If not, where have you been? Flash sales sites – already huge business in the US and UK – are expanding into the Arab world, offering users great savings on everything from pizza-for-two to luxury goods.
You’ve got to act fast though. Flash sales websites offer new deals for a limited time only – often 24 hours – with customers being encouraged to invite their friends and family to take part in the deal and earn extra credit in the process.
But which group buying sites cover the Middle East? cashy scoured the web to tell you what’s out there...
On Cobone.com, daily deals are offered, for a limited amount of time, for a limited amount of people. When enough people have bought the deal, you get the discount coupon.
At the time of writing, four inch-loss sessions were up for grabs with 65% off and a bubbly brunch at the Radisson Royal hotel could be secured for 53% less than the usual price.
Last month, telecommunications business Etisalat said it was partnering with Cobone. Etisalat’s ‘More’ Rewards subscribers now earn extra reward points when they buy any daily deal on Cobone. Reward points can then be redeemed for more than 3,000 product and service options from over 400 brands covering travel, shopping, donations, raffles and auctions.
Mathew Willsher, chief marketing officer at Etisalat, said: “We’re committed to constantly reward our customers’ loyalty in exciting ways. The new partnership is an innovative step in that direction and builds on the rapid growth of e-commerce in the UAE. Our partnership with Cobone.com will provide customers with great value for money by offering twice the benefit on purchase of a single deal.”
Groupon is one of the world’s biggest and best-known flash sales sites. The official Groupon regional branch, groupon.ae, offers daily deals for consumers in the UAE, including Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
When cashy checked it out, the site was offering a 72% discount on 24 karat pure plated playing cards in a golden pack from Sona Bazar and a 64% discount on a two-hour photo shoot with five images from Al Mamora Digital.
A twist on mainstream flash sales sites, MarkaVIP offers premium worldwide brands at discounted prices to private members for a limited time.
The exclusive, invitation-only flash sales website focused on the Middle East is home grown, having been established in November last year by Jordanian-American entrepreneur Ahmed Alkhatib.
It initially went live in Jordan and Saudi Arabia and is now available in the GCC, Jordan and Lebanon.
The site boasts seven-figure monthly revenues and is on track to become the fastest growing Middle East e-commerce brand, with close to 140,000 Facebook fans.
Alkhatib said: “Our results to date show there’s a real appetite for an online shopping model that works for this region. That means localising the flash sales model and e-commerce lifecycle so that we don’t compromise our convenience promise to our members.
“It is all designed to give our members access to great brands at great prices with the best possible delivery times and with no hidden charges or custom duties.”
Best of the rest
There are a host of other sites aiming to tap into this market, many of which are in their infancy.
But also check out Gonabit.com, which covers Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Amman, Beirut and Cairo, Fustuq.com, which serves Amman, and Makhsoom.com, which offers deals for Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, Beirut, Jeddah, Kuwait City and Riyadh.
Go on – grab a piece of the action in the latest e-tail phenomenon!
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