Online shopping and reverse auction site Dubli.com was in Charlotte last week, promoting its retail platform at the Southern Women's Show.
Representatives handed out Dubli swag, and tried to talk prospective new customers into trying out the site. The business is an eclectic mix of price comparison, cash-back shopping, music streaming, and online reverse auctions - which account for the huge majority of Dubli's revenue.
The site has two million registered users, and is popular in Europe and the Middle East, said Dubli spokeswoman Stefanie Kitzes. "The pitch has really been shop online and get paid to shop," she said. "Eastern Europe is huge. They want American."
The site is also an affiliate marketer for major retailers, meaning it negotiates deals under which it directs shoppers to their site and offers shoppers cash back from the retailers. In addition to its free option, Dubli offers subscriptions for $4.95 a month and $28.95 a month, which offer larger cash-back percentages.
Dubli is hoping to expand its US customer base now. It's rolling out a smart phone app which will allow customers to scan bar codes in stores and then compare prices online (retailers hate such apps, which they see as contributing to the "showrooming" phenomena). The site is also hoping to get more people to use its music service, which helps create a "sticky" experience. That's web-speak for a site users spend a lot of time on and come back to often.
The company's most recent quarterly financial statements show Dubli recorded $201,416,736 worth of revenue for the first nine months of the year. Almost all of that, 92.6 percent, was from the company's reverse auction business. The direct cost of those revenues, mainly providing merchandise for the auctions, was $199,897,997.
For the first nine months of the year, Dubli posted an $8.17 million loss. The company hopes to continue growing its revenue to reach profitability.
Dubli also relies on a network of independent "business associates" who buy "credits" from the site for 63 cents and sell them to people they know for 80 cents. The credits allow people to bid for items in the reverse auctions. The company has also invested in millions of dollars worth of land in Dubai, so Dubli appears to be looking at multiple revenue streams. Dubli also admitted in its quarterly statement that it lacks adequate financial controls and procedures, which it said it is working to address (see Item 4).
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Posted by Ely Portillo at 8:00 AM