Pre-shopping Growth with Candice Ong CCO of ShopBack

Candice Ong, the Chief Commercial Officer of ShopBack. ShopBack, the leading rewards and discovery platform in Asia-Pacific, is a pre-shopping portal that enables shoppers to make better purchase decisions. It is a one-stop rewards and discovery platform for users to earn cashback while delivering performance-based marketing to merchants. First launched in Singapore in 2014, ShopBack has since expanded its reach to nine markets across Asia-Pacific.

Prior to joining ShopBack, Candice traded the world of investment banking for e-commerce when she made the move into Zalora in 2012. Candice was also a member of the CFE sub-committee on Future Corporate Capabilities and Innovation in 2016 and chaired the retail panel for the ASEAN Business Club Forum in 2015. She echoes the push for greater innovation in Singapore, and firmly hopes that future generations will go on to surpass the ones before them.

Listen to the full discussion here:

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Connect with the Guest:

Candice Ong: LinkedIn

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • [04:25] Engaging local expansion teams during the pandemic
  • [08:45] Collaborating with merchants and managing cancellations and rejections
  • [11:37] Building a network of 4,000 merchants across APAC
  • [14:24] Strategy behind the ShopFest Campaign
  • [16:59] 9.9 Results – Over 400,000 USD in cashback in a single day
  • [22:29] ShopBack’s KICK-ON company values

Show notes:

  • [01:33] ShopBack is already a very strong brand in the region, and I’m sure we’ll cover all the details but before that, just to set the scene, can you introduce yourself and your role?
  • [02:13] You’ve been with the company for the last four years, I’m just wondering if you look back at the four years and maybe previously, what would you say are some of the big milestones in this professional journey?
  • [02:33] The aspirations then and now are very different. Previously, we aspired to be the top cashback platform in Southeast Asia, but now our ambitions are much more regional, APAC.
  • [04:13] If we look around us, there is quite a bit of suffering and crisis in the business world. How did this strategy of expansion come in? And why did you decide to do it? What was the motivation behind it?
  • [05:40] When we think about the technology that you’re using and the new features that you’re bringing on, how does this work and how is tech driving this growth of yours? How does the marriage between tech and product work for you?
  • [06:15] We are always observing customer behavior and we are always trying to find new ways to serve them. Thus, we note that value is an increasingly important concept for our users.
  • [07:14] I’m sure there’s a lot of different types of features that you would focus on and I’m sure you have a priority list. I’m just wondering what is the process behind it? What makes you decide what’s important and what’s not?
  • [08:31] In this overall situation, how has your collaborations with the merchants, especially in this situation worked and what are some examples of support or maybe projects that you focused on with them?
  • [10:07] You mentioned that canceled or unfulfilled orders incur no costs. And there are a few things that you’re pushing forward in order to eliminate risk when it comes to merchants. Is that correct?
  • [11:32] How many more inches do you have at the moment?
  • [11:45] I wanted to ask you a bit more about the users and coming back to trends because I’m sure in the last few months you’ve seen a few trends when it comes to user behavior online. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
  • [13:17] Users are much more value-focused or value-centric in terms of how they make their purchase decisions. And that is why we focus quite a bit on our price comparison development as well.
  • [13:32] Is there any trend that is different from country to country or you see pretty much the same across the region?
  • [14:16] There is a campaign called ShopFest. Can you tell us more about the strategy behind it and what you’re trying to achieve with this?
  • [15:56] When you say entertaining activities, what examples can you tell us on that?
  • [16:53] How did the 9.9 campaign go? What results did you see there?
  • [17:20] ShopBack helped merchants drive about 3.5 X in terms of sales and every ShopBack user also spent about 40% more per transaction compared to an average day. And overall we gave out over 400,000 in cashback just in that single day.
  • [17:41] Are there certain tools that you use to make sure that you’re delivering the best service possible? Any tools to measure customer experience?
  • [18:52] We constantly seek feedback from our customers and partners to understand how we can do better for them.
  • [19:12] What are some of the projects that you can share that excites you the most connected to ShopBack? Maybe you can share more about it.
  • [20:58] When you look at the most in-demand skills, and we are looking here at the e-commerce and tech professionals, what can you share? What are the things you’re seeing in this area?
  • [21:36] I think one of the more important skills that sometimes neglected is the ability to deal with ambiguity and apply first principles thinking to solve problems.
  • [22:27] What are some of the elements that you want to drive and see when it comes to your teammates and the other teams? What would you say define the culture?
  • [22:40] We want everybody to be constructive in their feedback. We want to inspire and not require. We want leaders to understand that it’s not about leading mistakes but understanding how can we inspire folks to do better.
  • [23:59] I imagine these values are connected to the way you interview and to the way you promote. When it comes to promoting individuals within the company, what are the main criteria? Is it just the values? I’m sure there’s more to it.
  • [25:12] If you look back at the four years plus with the company, what are some of the things that make you feel most proud? It can be the team or it can be your own personal projects.
  • [26:52] For individuals who would like to do a career change and maybe move towards this space. What would you advise them to do?
  • [27:56] I think being self-aware and being clear on each other’s learning style and the kind of environment is also key to enable better chances of success.

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Heart, Mind, and Backbone with Niklas Hedin CEO of Centiro

Ensuring Brand Consistency with Christopher Hatfield Head of eBusiness Oceania at Nestle

Continuous Delivery Experience with Adam Compain CEO of ClearMetal

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LEX GREENSILL​

Chief Executive Officer, Greensill​

Lex is the co-founder and CEO of Greensill, and a Senior Advisor and Crown Representative to Her Majesty’s Government on Supply Chain Finance. He was awarded the CBE for Services to the British Economy in Queen Elizabeth II’s 2017 Birthday Honours.

Lex previously established the global SCF business at Morgan Stanley, and led the EMEA SCF business at Citi.

Lex holds an MBA from Manchester Business School, and is a Solicitor of the Supreme Courts of England and Wales, and Queensland.