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Head of Merchant Development (Singapore)

I’m always intrigued by the music business, so I read up a lot about what artists, labels and promoters are doing to connect with their fanbase and stay ahead in this digital age. I love catching live acts and am a huge fan of homegrown talent. I started out in the civil service as a Teacher-Counsellor after graduating from the National University of Singapore, where I majored in Psychology. As a result of having a taste of the music entertainment business during my days in NUS as part of the founding team of NUS Radio Pulze, I left the civil service for an international record label, where I had the chance to try my hand at many aspects of the music business. This honed my skills in Content Marketing, working closely with artists, artist management teams and the media, event management and business development. I also gained experience pitching to C-level management from across brands and industries. I then joined a bank, where my initial role was to drive the usage of credit cards and I was subsequently given the opportunity to kickstart a completely new category - eCommerce / Online Retail. I worked closely with marketplaces, fast fashion and beauty brands. This allowed me to understand how Retail was evolving and how brands responded to the challenges of omni-channel marketing and sales.

As Head of Merchant Development at ShopBack today, I work closely with the 500+ brands on ShopBack, bringing happiness to our community of over 300,000 users. There are two sides to Merchant Development: merchant acquisition and merchant account management. I strive to be every brand's and customer's best friend. I work closely with brands, strategising ways to optimise traffic and sales, and introduce spankin' new brands, products and tips on how to shop smarter to our users! The best part of my work? I get to witness how the ecommerce space is evolving rapidly in Singapore and Southeast Asia, plus I know when the best deals take place - the beauty of ShopBack’s business model is that we can work with anyone across industries and verticals, allowing us to know first-hand how the ecommerce ecosystem is doing in that market. But my lips are sealed - you'd just have to keep a look out for teasers by our brilliant marketing team.

It’s always a challenge to win over potential new brands. Being in the frontline and merchant-facing, I face rejection all the time – but this does not deter me – instead, it challenges me to understand the Brand’s needs better and devise win-win solutions. The sweet satisfaction of securing a key brand for our ShopBack users after many rounds of negotiations makes it all worth it; that drives and motivates me.

Personal highlights so far:

  • onboarding top local, regional, and global brands like honestbee, FairPrice Online, Resorts World Sentosa, Singtel, MyRepublic, Net-A-Porter, Uber, Apple, to name a few;

  • getting our merchants to shower our users with over 50+ deals and offers on ShopBack’s 2nd birthday on 9.9 (9 September 2016)!

In my career I look for opportunities to specialise and yet also learn more about the end to end processes of starting a business. I wanted to work at ShopBack so that I could work alongside what I personally regard as an eCommerce A-Team – I’m impressed by the talent that ShopBack attracts and how strong teamwork is one of its core values. ShopBack’s strength is how it attracts talent with the right positive attitude and values. There’s strong teamwork and sense of purpose - everyone directly contributes to our direction. People are more than glad to share, and everyone knows that we need each other to progress. We all have our unique strengths and roles to make this work. Also, it feels like an extended family. Whenever I share challenges or good news, people personally cheer me up and cheer me on. You feel valued and appreciated here.

This is the first time in my life that I understand my role better than before--it’s as if all my past experiences fall into place nicely, like jigsaw pieces. I can draw upon my experiences and put all I’ve learnt so far into practice daily. At the same time, I’m learning something new everyday when I work closely with our Tech and Product teams. I’m more driven and humbled than before and motivated by everyone around me.

Tips for those keen to join the Merchant Development team: Join us if you love to be inspired and to inspire others, can handle rejection well and love meeting and connecting with new people! Prior experience in sales, marketing, partnerships and account management is a plus!

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