x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Thrifty shoppers take their pick online

The popularity of group-buying sites has grown a lot, but they are not alone as websites that list promotions attract shoppers.

Pizza Express, which launched its UAE website in January, says 30 per cent of its traffic comes from DuBuy.ae. Thomas Engstrom / Bloomberg News
Pizza Express, which launched its UAE website in January, says 30 per cent of its traffic comes from DuBuy.ae. Thomas Engstrom / Bloomberg News

Daily deal websites may be all the rage across the Emirates, but an alternative promotion model is also enjoying major growth.

Websites such as DuBuy.ae and Dubaisavers.com, which aggregate promotions being offered by retailers in stores and online, are drawing more customers searching for the best retail bargains.

DuBuy.ae, which launched in January, attracts 3,400 hits per day, with visitors looking at 12,000 pages on the website.

Shyam Krishnan Kakkarayil, the founder of DuBuy.ae, says its visitor numbers are growing by 50 per cent a month.

"Our primary aim was to provide a website that has all retail promotions on it for consumers to see," he said.

"The popularity of group buying websites has grown a lot, but this [model] is much cheaper for retailers," he said.

As food prices rise and commodity inflation bites, an increasing number of people are searching for discounts and promotions for restaurants, fashion retailers and activities.

This has driven the growth of daily deal websites such as Cobone.com, Groupon and GoNabit, which is being bought by the US internet giant LivingSocial.

Experts say aggregator websites will also benefit, as they offer one-stop shops for customers searching for promotions.

During events such as the current Dubai Summer Surprises and special periods such as Ramadan, promotions aggregators offer a wider picture on available deals.

The websites profit by selling advertising and charging retailers to list their promotions.

Group buying websites take a percentage of the revenue from a promotion, which can be up to 20 per cent.

Pizza Express launched its UAE website in January and says 30 per cent of its traffic comes from DuBuy.ae.

"We thought it would really help us in terms of visitors to our website, and sure enough it did that," said Rhie Meneses-Nino, a marketing coordinator for Jordana Restaurants, the exclusive franchisee for Pizza Express in the Emirates. "Based on our analytics, most of our visitors come through DuBuy.ae."

Rajesh Thomas, the founder of Dubaisavers.com, said traffic to the website had increased by more than 25 per cent over the past six months, compared with same period last year, with an average of 6,000 visitors per day.

"Dubai consumers were always pampered with choices, but rising costs of essentials has deprived them in splurging for aspirational brands and luxuries," Mr Thomas said.

Dubaisavers launched in 2008 with 30 brands on the website and has grown to 400 participating retailers.

rjones@thenational.ae