The highly anticipated Groupon site Cobone.com that was set to launch before Eid Al-Fitr (today) has just barely made it’s deadline sending out it’s first deals for UAE’s Dubai & Abu Dhabi by email and launching their accompanying website.
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The Group Coupon/Discount model (aka Groupon) basically offers a discount from a local vendor allowing you to sign up for the purchase if you’re interested. If enough people are interested, the offer goes live and consumers can purchase the coupon until the deadline is reached or it sells out providing a platform that leverages the power of what’s known as Social e-Commerce.
Cobone which is the way most Arabs pronounce the word coupon, is owned by Jabbar Internet Group, umbrella group of platforms such as Souq.com, Sukar.com, and CashU. All heavy hitters in the MENA e-commerce scene.
The Dubai based service sent out it’s first offer by email today at 00:05am Dubai time, covering only two of the intended 24 cities Cobone.com aspires to cover on the long run, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Upon speaking to founder and CEO Paul Kenny he mentioned their first target will be to provide for the entire UAE, then begin expanding to eventually cover the entirety of Arabia: From Rabat in Morocco to Baghdad in Iraq.
The website provides deal in both English and Arabic interfaces, which will definitely put the company on a fast track to catch up with GoNabIt.com, the first and only Groupon service in the the UAE and the region, till now that is. You can read more about the Groupon model and GoNabIt here.
We spoke to Paul Kenny by phone and were told to expect some very interesting deals that haven’t been heard of before in the region, which we’ll have to see for ourselves in the time to come.
Paul told us that his long experience in the online retail industry began ever since he was a child when his family launched Kennys Bookshop reportedly the second online bookstore in the world. Which means this guy has come with a lot of experience under his belt and a massive market to cater to.
The hype and build up of the service have appropriately matched it’s budget which has been reported to be “a bit more than the US $5 million” similarly allocated for sister company Sukar.com the region’s first of it’s kind private online shopping club.
With this addition to the MENA e-commerce industry, we’re expecting to see the competition bring forward some very interesting deals, and a possible turf war between GoNabIt.com backed and partially owned by Bayt.com the region’s largest jobs portal, and Jabbar Internet Group the region’s largest and most successful group of companies in the e-commerce domain.
We’ll be closely following Cobone.com and the emergence of this new and popular model in the Middle East and beyond, which from the looks of it won’t be the last startup to bring Social e-Commerce opportunities to MENA online shoppers.
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