A new online auction site, Uniqueauction.ae, has launched today, to bring the Middle East daily discounts on big-ticket items.
As daily deals sites are on the rise, thanks to a healthy shopping base in the region and the added traction of offering online customers an offline experience, it makes sense that it would only be a matter of time before an online auction site launched in the UAE.
The model, which is similar to that of DailyDash and Swoopo in the U.S., offers customers a chance to bid on items for small percentage of their actual value. Each bid has a minimum value set at around 1% of the item's value, for example, starting at $10 for an iPhone that could retail for around $1000. Each bid increments the price and keeps the auction live for longer.
Uniqueauction.ae offers a psychological twist on the traditional bidding model, however; it doesn't just sell the item to the highest bid bur rather the highest unique bid. This means that if you bid $15.99 but 5 other bidders set the same price, the phone could go to someone who bid $15.94 if few others bid that amount.
It also, unlike daily deals sites, allows individual sellers, not just retailers, to sell their goods.
The site is set to go live on February 22nd, offering a Porsche, Apple IPhone 4S, Blackberry, getaway and beauty packages, and luxury villas and apartments available for rent and sale, starting at AED 10 (over $3), Zawya reports.
In a region hungry for luxury goods, it may seem a sure bet. But the model is volatile; it depends on a healthy number of customers bidding, or else prices stay rock-bottom. Uniqueauction.ae has safeguarded themselves against this pitfall somewhat by ensuring that an auction doesn't go live until 50 bids are placed, yet it will have to market hard to build its initial critical mass.
The cautionary tales are known; Swoopo died in March of last year, and Souq.com shut down its auction functionality, after seeing that users preferred to buy immediately at fixed prices, and did not even typically search for auctions, The Next Web reported.
Yet perhaps Uniqueauction.ae will attract a different, motivated pool of users; it will, at the very least, take advantage of the uptick in customers throughout the region looking to get in on discounts online.