News & Analysis

Singapore ecommerce platform Sprooki appoints former Westpac CIO as chairman as it prepares for ASX listing

- September 5, 2016 3 MIN READ

Singapore ecommerce platform Sprooki has today announced it has appointed former Westpac CIO Bob McKinnon as chairman as it prepares to list on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). McKinnon will bring over 40 years of experience in business, governance and finance to help Sprooki expand further across Australia and New Zealand.

The appointment of McKinnon follows Sprooki’s announcement last month that it is looking to raise $7.5 million to help scale aggressively throughout Asia. The startup’s plans to raise capital will help it execute its plans to list on the ASX.

Sprooki’s data-driven software offers retailers the ability to engage and transact with customers through their smartphones and other connected devices. Shop owners use Sprooki to capture customer data to provide their shoppers with a more personalised experience, with content that is relevant to the consumer’s shopping journey.

Sprooki’s mobile features include location-based messaging, personalised content, mobile vouchers, loyalty cards and rewards along with product recommendations to target the right shoppers and increase sales conversion rates. On average Sprooki claims to generate a response and conversion rate five times than other platforms retailers use today.

The retail platform was founded in 2011 by Australian entrepreneurs Claire Mula and Michael Gethen. The startup has gained traction in Southeast Asia where it is used by several major shopping centres including Far East Square in Singapore and Crescent Mall in Vietnam. The startup is also being used by retailers and major brands such as Forever 21, Marks & Spencer, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Pie Face, Gap and GNC.

Sprooki uses a location-based app, gathering data and analytics to help retailers like Forever 21 gain insights into customer purchase decisions. Sprooki has a 20 percent market share of malls in Singapore and has already been adopted by 70 shopping malls and 4,500 stores in Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

McKinnon said he is excited to join the company as it is expanding ‘back home’ to Australia.

“Sprooki’s exciting and innovative shopper engagement platform instantly piqued my interest, and I’m excited to join the board at a time when the company is well positioned for aggressive future growth,” he said.

McKinnon has held roles as CIO and technology group executive for both Commonwealth Bank and the Westpac group. He will join Sprooki’s board along with Jack Hanrahan, former general manager of ASX-listed company Scentre Group Limited.

As the new non-executive director of Sprooki, Hanrahan said he is looking forward to bringing to the startup a deep understanding of retail trends, technologies and strategies, honed over 30 years in the retail industry.

“Sprooki’s product addresses many challenges faced by today’s retail sector and plugs straight into Asia Pacific’s growing mobile-first shopper behaviour. I’m delighted to work with the Sprooki board and management team to influence the company’s growth strategy and opportunities going forward,” Hanrahan said.

Mobile commerce and consumers connecting with the brands through apps is expected to rise 40 percent year-on-year until 2018. Mobile experiences in retail is fuelling ecommerce growth by 16 percent and now plays a major role in driving in-store purchases. More than 28 percent of all in-store purchase decisions are influenced by mobile and 79 percent of those connected shoppers research purchase decisions using their smartphone.

Australia has also been an early adopter of UK fintech startup TruRating, that like Sprooki uses consumer-led data analytics to capture consumer insights. In March this year, TruRating launched in Australia, following its successful trial in the UK. TruRating captures shopper insights through asking experience related questions at the consumers point of payment. Consumer’s are prompted to rate their shopping experience from 0-9 through a payment terminal and quick questions that help cover areas including service, product, value, recommend and experience.

Australia’s startup economy is beginning to attract world class fintech and ecommerce platforms from around the world. In particularly Sydney has become a window of opportunity for startups to test their ideas in Asia Pacific markets.

Sprooki’s recent expansion strategies has seen the startup launch its first deployment in Australia at Sydney’s Manly Wharf precinct. Mula previously told the AFR that the reason Sprooki is going to market is because the startup is “looking to turn on the sales and marketing engine to raise awareness of the shopper engagement and mobile commerce category”.

He said, “We’ve had 50 years of retailing where it’s been a one-way conversation and now they’re wising up that consumers are connected and they want retailers to be a lot more personalised and data-driven.”

Image: Claire Mula and Michael Gethen. Source: Supplied.