Dubai-Based Browser App Helwa Wants To Help You Save Money While Online Shopping In The UAE Launched on the 1st of July this year, the platform already has over 1800 users that use the app for finding deals and coupons on items ranging from fashion to groceries. Helwa also supports 60 retailers, and currently works on some of the more widely used regional online shopping websites.

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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The ongoing COVID-19 crisis in the UAE has been tough on the personal finances of many people in the UAE seen an increased shift towards online shopping in the country, with consumers opting to buy everything from their tech gadgets to their groceries from the plethora of e-commerce options now available on the internet. But it's worth remembering that the coronavirus pandemic has been tough on the personal finances of a lot of people in the country as well- and that's how Hitesh Uchil and Abbas Jaffar Ali, two Dubai-based professionals with backgrounds in technology and gaming media, devised a way to help the local community save money while they're shopping online.

Uchil and Ali are the founders of Helwa, a browser-based app that scours the Internet to keep track of all the available, credible coupon codes and other deals for a given brand or product. "Helwa started from a personal need to save money on online shopping," Uchil says. "Coupons are a great way to save money when shopping online, but if you've tried finding coupons online, you know the process in painful. You come across many sites with fake coupons, just clickbaiting you for advertising views, and when you come across legit sites, it's often a pain trying to find one that works. Helwa makes this process stress-free: with a click of a button, we automatically find all the best coupons, tries them out, and applies the one that saves you the most amount of money."

Launched on the 1st of July this year, the platform already has over 1800 users that use the app for finding deals and coupons on items ranging from fashion to groceries. Helwa also supports 60 retailers, and currently works on some of the more widely used regional online shopping websites, including Namshi, GAP, H&M, and Bath & Body Works. "Helwa is free to download, and saves between 5% to 25% on online shopping spends on the sites we support," Uchil notes. "We've also been approached by Noon, one of the biggest online retailers in the region, to offer us an exclusive coupon, because they love our cause and want to support families in the UAE too."

A screenshot of the Helwa app. Source: Helwa

Related: Five Unexpected Findings From UAE E-Commerce User Behavior (And How Your Business Should Address Them)

But while Helwa's core aim is to help consumers better manage their personal finances while shopping online, the founders say that they are also keen on making it a sustainable business in the long term. "As much as we love the cause of saving people money, it would be short lived if we couldn't find a sustainable way to make it a viable business," Uchil says. "Helwa's business model is that we make money when we save people money. We've tied up with retailers and affiliate marketing companies to get discounts for our users, but also a commission for us on the coupons used."

Uchil also notes that Helwa offers retailers a tangible solution to the problem of customers abandoning their shopping carts when online shopping. "We help keep the customers on the site, as they don't have to leave to find a coupon code," Uchil explains. "Also, when they do find a coupon, it's a big added incentive to complete a purchase. Another major USP is that we only charge retailers on a conversion basis, and are able to set prices according to margins available on products. If you have a product where your margin can't cover the average cost per conversion, you end up spending more than your returns. We work with retailers on margins they can afford and help build a long-term, affordable conversion solution for them."

When asked about what the future holds for Helwa, the owners are upbeat and confident, with plans for a mobile app already in the works. "Our goal is to save people money, and we're continually looking at ways in which we can do this," Uchil says. "We're testing a beta for cashbacks at the moment. In addition to savings on coupons, we'll be able to give cashback to our customers for even more savings. This will also allow us to expand to more categories like electronics, flights, hotels, and more."

Related: Increased Shift To E-Commerce Aids Dubai-Based Startup Spotii As It Launches Amid COVID-19

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Writer, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Writer at Entrepreneur Middle East.

She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and was also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program.

Ahmed is keen on pursuing and writing stories on people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.

A bibliophile, chai addict, and photography enthusiast, she can be often found (animatedly) talking about Kdramas, BTS, cricket, novels, and comic book films.

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