We’ve all been there – baffled by various online reward and loyalty programmes, bewildered by copious details about rebates, and bone-weary from dealing with countless cards and apps. It was too much of a good thing, but also too much of a chore, and we were just waiting for someone to figure a way out of the consumer morass.

Then along came Shopback in 2014. It’s a cashback aggregator unifying different merchants and making our lives a hell of a lot easier. Launched in Singapore by Lai Shanru and Josephine Chow (who is now head of expansion), the website makes it possible for online shoppers to purchase almost anything – airline tickets, groceries, Pokemon toys – and get a cash rebate just as quickly.

With many merchants under one platform, it’s much simpler for customers to keep track of their spending and cashback. Like all the best ideas, it was a no-brainer that took a couple of brainy women to bring to fruition.

The company has expanded into seven countries and now has a portfolio of more than 2,000 merchants in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan and, most recently, Australia. It has also scooped up awards and accolades such as the gold award in the Best Start-up (Growth Stage) category at the seventh Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation Awards.

Josephine and Shanru are no doubt the digitally-savvy millennials responsible for the company’s success, and they made it onto Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in 2018. Their joint recognition is not surprising, given Shopback’s astounding reach within just a few years. It now has more than eight million registered users racking up an average of US$70 million in monthly sales and collectively (and happily) receiving more than US$30 million in cashback for their shopping.

Now, Shopback has set its sights on the offline market with the launch of its new app, Shopback Go. Through a partnership with Visa and Mastercard, the app is tapping into Singaporeans’ two greatest loves: good food and great deals. “Seven in 10 consumers are looking to find offers for their dining experiences,” says Mastercard Singapore’s country manager, Deborah Heng.

The app makes it possible for customers to receive 5-10 per cent cash rebates from more than 400 food and beverage merchants in selected areas (One-north, Buona Vista, Holland Village and Tanjong Pagar). If the test run proves successful, Singaporeans can expect the programme to roll out across the rest of the island.


International Women's Day