Anthony Quinn began his entrepreneurial career when he was just 6-year-old with a makeshift grocery store in the bedroom at his West London home, setting up items he could find on display and then inviting his sister to come and ‘buy’ some products. Many years on from his first venture he ran some music events during his student days to generate some extra cash and most recently in 2013 he went on to co-found a spa in London.But Anthony's true calling came when he was working in Central London. “I spent the last eight years at my previous company, and whilst I really enjoyed my learning experience there I knew it was time for something different, really different — not just another job in London,” Anthony told e27.
Honing skills at RakutenAfter spending five years at retail chain, GAME Stores, after finishing the Marketing Management programme from the University of Gloucestershire, Quinn went on to join Rakuten Europe in 2007. He worked within the Marketing Services pillar of Rakuten, an affiliate network previously known as LinkShare. When he began his career at LinkShare, the team consisted of just four people. When he left, the team had grown to over 60 people. “This was a massive experience for me, as I was able to experience the startup feel at the beginning, but then went through all the growing pains,” he added. “Before working at Rakuten Affiliate, I was on the retailer-side and touched on the affiliate marketing channel. However, working at Rakuten Affiliate gave me a deep understanding of this channel, and in particular working closely with a variety of evolving publishers, with cashback sites being a key contributor.” Quinn left Rakuten in 2015 after a eight-year long stint, and flew down to Bangkok, one of his favourite destinations. A few months later, he set up DeeDee Cashback, a loyalty platform for Thailand that rewards members every time they shop online. According to Anthony, DeeDee is a win-win scenario for all parties: The customer gets added value from their purchases, the advertiser secures a sale over competitors, and DeeDee gets a small share of commission it receives. DeeDee has already seen some positive growth with its member base, claims Anthony, growing over 50 per cent month-on-month. Members typically use DeeDee service over twice a month and spend an average of 3,800 THB (US$107), and earning approximately 190 THB (US$5) per transaction. “We are also seeing a steady increase in the amount of referrals from existing members as they start using and loving the site, and of course being able to cash out once they reach the 500 THB (US$14) threshold.” [caption id="attachment_160782" align="alignleft" width="300"] DeeDee Co-founder Antony Quinn[/caption] “We are the most competitive cashback site in Thailand, offering the highest cashback across over more than 250 stores,” he smiled .
"Once I decided to get this business off the ground, the first thing was to get an MVP up and running to validate the concept here. With this done, I was able to look at member acquisition and looking at building a core team and support structure. Through the Rakuten link, I met with Pawoot ‘Pom’ Pongvitayapanu. He was already aware of what a great opportunity the cashback model was to start here, having previously met the team at Ebates (who were purchased by Rakuten in 2014 for US $1 billion) and so joined as an advisor. We now also have a CTO in place, Paninee Khantidhara, an experienced full stack developer, who will help build the site into something even more special," he added.[caption id="attachment_160759" align="alignright" width="300"] DeeDee Co-founder and CTO Paninee Khantidhara[/caption] While online shopping is just under one per cent of the total commerce happening in Thailand, the last few years have seen some stupendous growth. But the cashback industry has not seen a corresponding growth. “There seem to be two main reasons: education and awareness. Thai shoppers do love promotions and are actively applying these when they shop. When you look at the offline space, physical coupons, mobile incentives, etc., are all popular. Thai shoppers are well aware of reward programmes as they use them in their day-to-day. They are familiar with the cashback term even, which is heavily promoted in financial products and property,” he added. There are some other hiccups, too. “When you build a site that tells someone he/she essentially gets paid to shop, there is going to be some level of scepticism, especially looking at confidence of shopping online. Many hear of stories of fraud, etc., so it’s really up to us to create the awareness of this great new model for them and educate them on how it works and how it is for real. Once those challenges are overcome and they join, we see members using the site again and again, because they see the value.” Thailand has a huge market potential for e-commerce, but this potential has not been realised yet. If you take markets such as the US or the UK, the amount of e-commerce as a per cent of total commerce is over 10 per cent. In comparison, it is just under one per cent in Thailand.