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Strength in numbers

Strength in numbers is a new way to shop in Dubai, and it has big plans. As the Arabic version launches, we ask founder Dan Stuart about the concept behind the site.

August 12, 2010 5:42 by

Canadian national Dan Stuart, 36, is founder and CEO of Dubai-based social shopping site GoNabit, which has just launched an Arabic version of its ground breaking website. Previously chief possibility officer of recruitment portal, Stuart was also director of Intilaq, Bayt’s corporate venture capital arm.

Stuart holds a Masters Degree in Curriculum, Theory and Learning from the University of Toronto. He formed GoNabit in January and was joined by partner and chief operating officer Sohrab Jahanbani in March. GoNabit is part funded by the directors and, enabling it to leverage Bayt’s regional infrastructure.

Let’s start with the social shopping concept around GoNabit.

Essentially, it’s a group buying concept where a business gives a 50-90 percent promotion on our website, and if a certain number of our GoNabit members commit to the deal, they all get it. If not enough nabbers commit to the deal, no one gets it.
This model works well in the Middle East because the shopping culture is very social, with people going to malls and shops in groups. We let people get great online deals that they still experience in the social, offline world. It provides a way for members and their friends to save and discover local businesses; to try out new business. At the same time, it gives companies an opportunity for repeat business at full price.

So what exactly does it offer brands?

From our business perspective, we like to use the term “assured marketing” in that it’s performance-based marketing where we define the campaign metrics with the businesses we work with and they can be “assured” that we hit these by getting enough people committed to the deal, or it costs them nothing.

Small businesses are already advertising online, but there’s always a gap between building buzz about the brand and translating this into new buyers. This is because an online ad works well if there’s a lead conversion mechanism on the back end. The ad needs to click through to a website that doesn’t just give more information, but has a lead capture or a booking engine that retains the viewer’s interest and shifts them into buyers.

We have the mechanism to build buzz. And because people can transact through our website, we bridge the gap from buzz to buy.

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