WHAT IT IS: ShopBack is a year-old local start-up that sweetens the online shopping experience by giving back a portion of what shoppers spend at one of over 500 online stores (including Taobao, Zalora, Lazada and Courts) every time they click through to these e-shops from Shopback.sg. Unlike discounts offered by the website themselves or credit cards, the savings on ShopBack are not restricted to a certain time period or items.
The Good: Free money!
Shopback.sg is a local e-commerce start-up that offers cashback — anything from one to 25 per cent of your total purchase — when you shop at over 500 merchants. “Instead of going directly to Zalora to buy something, you go through ShopBack. It’s literally just an extra step,” explains ShopBack country head Josephine Chow. In other words, it’s a fancier type of shopping discount where you can literally see your bank account grow after you’re done adding to cart.
The Bad: You need to wait at least 30 days before you get ‘paid’.
The money is credited back into your ShopBack account within 30 to 45 days. You can opt to cash it out to your bank or PayPal account. Why does it take at least 30 days? “Some merchants like Zalora have a 30-day return policy, so [we enforce a 30-day period] to protect us and the merchants from scammers.”
The Complicated: To get more bang for buck, know exactly what you want.
While gadgets, especially from Taobao, are getting increasingly popular among ShopBack customers, the top products are still groceries. That said, the best value-for-money deals are in the Travel section, according to Josephine. A nine per cent cashback with Expedia gives you $90 back if you spend $1,000 on hotel bookings, for instance. For short stays and cheaper hotels, Josephine recommends Agoda where you get a fixed $15 with a minimum spend of $50.
Know where to look.
In a nutshell: Look on top. “Always look out for the three flash deals on the top naviagation bar of the homepage. These are usually the best deals. A lot of it is also based on the season and sale period, like how brick-and-mortar shops always have mid-season and end-season sales. We aggregate all the online deals in a newsletter that we send out to all our subscribers a few times a week. We have very good relationships with the merchants so they will inform us in advance whenever they’re going to run a very big sale,” says Josephine (pictured above).
Where does the money come from?
“That’s the first question that customers ask us. If I shop at Zalora [via ShopBack], Zalora pays ShopBack for bringing a customer to them. What we do is we share this commission with the customer through cashback. We give majority or even all of the commission back to the customers for most of the merchants ’cos our first priority for now is to ensure our customers enjoy the best deals. We may eventually shift out of that model. We basically earn from commissions. That’s why we give back 100 per cent cashback for only selected merchants, not all!” explains Josephine.
2. Important shopping dates to note.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales at the end of the month.
For more info, go to www.shopback.sg.