x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Deal websites Cobone and GoNabit expand into Northern Emirates

Cut-price offers go nationwide, giving money off meals, beauty treatments and more.

Bargain-hunters in the Northern Emirates will soon have a wider choice of cut-price deals as the group buying websites step up their operations there.

Dubai-based Cobone, whose Sharjah service offers daily deals both in that emirate and other parts of the country, has recruited extra staff with a view to offering customers more daily deals specific to the emirate. Beyond that, it is considering expanding into Ras Al Khaimah.

Meanwhile local rival GoNabit is consolidating the service offered by its Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah website. Both companies also have sites covering Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The sites use group buying to give steep discounts, with each offer being confirmed only once a certain number of people have clicked on the "buy" button. Purchasers are then sent a voucher to redeem at the restaurant, spa or other supplier.

"We have recruited two Sharjah-based sales staff and they will generate more Sharjah-specific deals," said Warrick Godfrey, a spokesman for Cobone. "Right now we have quite a decent pipeline of Sharjah deals but we're going to spread them out over the next few weeks."

Yesterday (Wed) Cobone was offering customers in Sharjah a meal worth Dh25 at the Rahat al Madina Pakistani restaurant in the Majaz area for just Dh10.

"Probably Ras Al Khaimah will come up next, we're open to opening in RAK within the next six months," added Mr Godfrey. "There have been a lot of companies approaching us from RAK."

He said that in terms of the other Northern Emirates, the company was exploring the approach used by the US-based social buying giant Groupon, which offers deals that apply to the whole of the UAE.

This method is also used by GoNabit, whose chief executive, Dan Stuart, said: "We'll continue to run pan-UAE deals where it makes sense."

At the moment GoNabit has no plans to expand its line-up of sites to include the remaining Northern Emirates - but this could change.

"Right now, the deals we run for merchants in Umm Al Quwain or Fujairah tend to be tailored to visitors to these emirates - for example a deal for scuba diving in Fujairah ran on our Dubai site.

"If there is enough traction for local-to-local promotions, then we'll look at breaking these areas out into their own GoNabit sites."