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Unsung Heroes Ecommerce Technology

Unsung Heroes – the e-commerce CRM expert: Scott Tan, ShopBack


By Shawn Lim, Reporter, Asia Pacific

November 1, 2018 | 6 min read

The Drum's 'Unsung Heroes' series is a celebration of the people in the industry who slog hard behind the limelight for their companies, brands and clients. As they are seldom in the spotlight for their contribution to the success of campaigns, this is their time to shine.


Scott Tan is head of customer relationship management (CRM) at e-commerce platform ShopBack

As the head of customer relationship management (CRM) at e-commerce platform ShopBack, Scott Tan ensures the platform is able to establish personal relationships with each individual customer, be it five million or five billion of them. He says its a different world compared to traditional mom and pop store where personal relationships tend to be established with relative ease.

Why is your job important?

Today, ShopBack connects over five million users with more than 1,500 merchants across 7 countries. ShopBack was started largely to solve one huge consumer problem - information asymmetry. The role of the CRM team is to ensure that ShopBack is able to show the right information and content, to the right user, at the right time.

What is the hardest and stressful part of your job?

Being in the e-commerce space meant that we had the luxury of working with a trove of anonymised data which our customers and merchant partners entrusted us with. The challenge then lies in being able to make use of the data in an effective and responsible manner. Insights derived from the data needed to be translated into usable data points in our data infrastructure.

We then needed to acquire the tech stack (e.g. Oracle Responsys, Jetlore, UseInsider) that allows us to build meaningful engagement campaigns based on the insights.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Over the past few years, with the help of various platforms, we have been building various campaigns and running AB tests to identify different groups of users and address their respective individual needs. It is a rather rewarding experience to run a successful test because beyond fulfilling a KPI, that means we have managed to help a group of users somewhere find what they want.

First thing that comes to people’s minds when you tell them about your job?

People often think that CRM is about customer service.

How would you correct/explain to them what you do then?

CRM literally about managing (all aspects) of the customer relationship, of which customer service is often a part of. Unlike the traditional mom and pop store where personal relationships tend to be established with relative ease, relationships on an e-commerce platform take on a different dimension and challenge.

The role of CRM in an e-commerce platform such as ShopBack is to ensure we are able to establish personal relationships with each individual customer, be it 5 million or 5 billion of them.

Is there anything you want to change in your job?

The introduction of sophisticated technology platforms such as Oracle Responsys has changed the way we work. I believe that the only way to serve customers at the scale we do and to keep doing it better is with the help of technology. If anything, I would like to see the role of technology increase and am heartened to have been able to be part of the process.

Which was the campaign that you worked on, that you are most proud of?

Today in partnership with a platform called Jetlore, we are able to personalise a significant proportion of content that we are sending to our users. Based on each user’s browsing and transaction history, we are able to create rules around which content is served to each individual customer.

The automated content has been proven to perform better than manually curated content, and we are scaling the automation across various content types.

Who is someone you want to emulate in your industry?

Candice Ong, our chief commercial officer. I have been working with her from back when I was in Zalora. Ong always had the foresight and drive to truly make a dent in the industry.

To that end, not only was she always looking for ways to do things in different ways that pushed the envelope, she was also actively involved in sharing learnings and perspectives with the larger community.

If you weren’t the head of CRM, what would you be?

The payments industry. I have always believed in the value of building connections between consumers and businesses.

Just as ShopBack allows people to make purchase decisions with the information they did not have before, the payments industry allows transactions to occur and businesses to grow and create value in places where they would not have been able to reach otherwise.

If you think of someone who deserves to be part of this series, please get in touch with Shawn Lim and nominate them. You can read the previous feature on the technology solutions specialist, here.

Unsung Heroes Ecommerce Technology

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