We once called ShopBack the hidden gem of the e-commerce scene.
The team had grown from 10 to 25, were hosting 300 merchants, and seeing a monthly user visit of 120,00o. Back in August 2014, they celebrated when they managed to close 3 transactions in a day.
Today, the startup is over 100 people strong across 6 countries (with Thailand in their future sights), and sees 15,000 transactions every 24 hours. Breaking this down means that they close 1 order every 5 seconds, and enable over S$240million worth of sales each year.
It’s safe to say this hidden gem has successfully polished itself into a sparkling diamond.
Recently, the team opened up their office for a “Bring Your Loved Ones to Work” day, and we were lucky enough to be invited there.
From their old office at Blk71 to a new massive space in Blk77, ShopBack’s new HQ was total #officegoals.
While I was there, I was also fortunate enough to meet their newest Chief Commercial Officer, Candice Ong.
An individual well-versed in e-commerce, I was curious as to her motivations to join ShopBack, so we got to talking.
What Makes ShopBack Such A Draw?
If you didn’t know, many ShopBackers hail from other e-commerce companies. Co-founders Henry and Joel were from Zalora, and so is Candice; but they also have people from RedMart and Lazada.
It was surprising how these professionals all seemed to be converging on this young startup, and it appears that it boils down to the cashback business model.
“It is fundamentally a digital play that enables the e-commerce and digital ecosystem to grow,” Candice explains.
Although the cashback model is not new in Western markets, “it is fairly immature compared to marketplaces or more traditional eCommerce.”
“There is also a certain boldness and strong ambition in that many teams and individuals are challenging the status quo.”
Of course, this also means that everyone is “held to high standards and even interns are expected to hit the ground running.”
They do not disappoint, and Candice gushes on how her team of “very special people” never ceases to amaze her.
Wealth Of Potential
In 2015, co-founder Joel shared that the birth of ShopBack had to do “with the confluence of both opportunity and experience.”
That was back when the e-commerce industry in Southeast Asia was worth S$60billion.
According to a 2016 e-conomy (a play on economy and e-commerce) report, SEA is also the world’s fastest growing Internet region. The total e-commerce market is projected to be worth a whopping US$88 billion by 2025, and each country is expected to have a market value of over US$5 billion.
As global interconnectivity builds, tech-savvy consumers will be able to access more products and make smarter shopping decisions. In this growth of the digital economy, the ShopBack team also sees the potential for their own rapid growth.
For them, the focus is less on consumer price sensitivity, but on the team’s ability to help consumers “cut through the clutter and purchase more efficiently.”
On their plans of regional expansion, Candice notes that the presence of local competitors like Thailand’s DealCha! do not faze them.
“There will always be competition everywhere we go, especially in the digital space as it’s practically borderless. We have always seen ourselves as a regional company with a local mindset.”
We build strong local teams to help us better serve our local customers. Indonesians for Indonesians, Malaysians for Malaysians.”
“Our regional presence enables cross-learning and sharing, which also unlocks access to information advantageous for both regional and local teams.”
Future Advance Of ShopBack
“I was very fortunate to experience conceptualising several functions from scratch and scaling them to challenge industry standards,” Candice states, as she shares on her previous job appointment at Zalora.
“Hopefully the various lessons can help set ShopBack up for rapid yet sustainable growth.”
Candice touches on the potential of ShopBack’s future as becoming more than just “cashback” but instead, “a brand that resonates with consumers that [they] are the platform that is the smarter way to shop.”
As for Candice herself, she indulges in sharing about her excitement to “groom talent in the company”.
“Businesses are all about the people, and if people are hungry and can appreciate the uniqueness of the opportunity of building a business and leaving a mark, I will go out of my way to try to coach them as the journey is tough and the sacrifice is real.”
Featured Image Credit: todayupfeed