One recent startup that popped up under our radar recently is Shopbust. Founded back in 2011, Singapore Shopbust is a online “mystery shopping” platform that offers real time feedback to merchants.
Saad Kamal is the founder and CTO of Shopbust. Joining him is CEO Henk in ‘t Hof, as well as chief evangelist Richard Canneman and creative director Jeronimo De Vries. Henk was previously the VP of Philips Electronics, while Richard was the managing director of AQ Services for Japan and Korea. Jeronimo has more than a decade of experience in user experience design.
So, what is mystery shopping?
Mystery shopping is a tool that is used by many brands to measure customer service and brand execution. A mystery shopper is a person who visits a store for the purpose of observing and measuring customer service, product quality and the environment of the store in general. After the visit the shopper is usually asked to complete a survey and all data which are collected by the mystery shopping program is gathered and sent over to the client for their analysis. Mystery Shoppers serve as the eyes and ears for those clients as part of their efforts to enhance the quality of the customer experience.
What exactly do they do
Traditional mystery shopping has a lot of manual steps and thus often very slow and expensive. Shopbust has built an online platform to allow brands to measure their customer experience and brand execution in retail and get real-time feedback. Like most platforms, there are two parties involved: merchants (clients) and users. Clients sign up with Shopbust and uploads a list of all their physical outlets that needs attention. They can then set up surveys or scenarios as assignments for Shopbust users to complete, after which they will be rewarded.
So what are some use cases?
Merchants can use Shopbust to run surprise tests on operational aspects of their shops. For example, merchants can sign up with Shopbust and set up a custom survey for Shopbust users to ask some of their employees specific questions pertaining to their products. This way, it serve as a periodical check to see if employees are doing their job. Other than that, merchants can also use Shopbust to find out more about their competitors.
Shopbust sees traction and growth, looking to raise funds
Officially launched three months ago (back in November), Shopbust currently has over 12,000 members in Singapore.
Founder Saad shared with us that within the first three months of launch, Shopbust is already operating in three countries: Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines, and has signed deals with two F&B Chains and has confirmed pilot deals with a FMCG and a major consumer electronics brand.
Other than securing the two pilot test deals, Shopbust is also speaking to a few clients, and is currently generating a revenue of S$100,000 (US$80,664) with another S$50,000 (US$40,332) in the pipeline. On top of that, Shopbust also received several licensing deal requests from Europe and Indonesia, reflecting the huge interest in its business model.
While the company was initially funded by the the team themselves for over a year, they have recently received a seed funding from an angel investor, Michael Groll (Director of F&B W Hotels), which takes their total funding to S$185,000 (US$149,000). The team is currently looking to raise S$750,000 (US$605,000) to grow the team from the current strength of three to 10.
Shopbust to launch their own Debit Card soon, on top of their upcoming iOS and Android app.
For their business model, once members complete their assignment on Shopbust, the company will be paying them via PayPal. Shopbust also has plans to give out their own debit card starting second quarter this year, limited to the top 2,500 members with the highest reputation points. This makes a lot of sense since users incur high transaction fees from PayPal, and the online payment company has recently announced their decision to close down personal payments in Singapore.
Shopbust is also launching their iOS and Android app soon, which will enable businesses to target people on the move for certain assignments where the tasks can be as simple as taking a photo or answer few questions.
The platform is currently by invitation only. You can indicate your interest to join the platform by signing up on their website.