Thought Leader Interview: Chris Shaw, Chief Executive Officer of mimojo

Please tell us about yourself and your background.

I am the CEO & Co-Founder of mimojo, the brand-new cashback rewards app. I began my career in the UAE over 20 years ago with Motivate Publishing, and later held senior management roles at TMF and the Entertainer. While working in the loyalty and reward space, merchants and consumers were not shy in sharing feedback as to their ‘pain points’ when it came to existing programmes, and I became determined to create a new proposition for the market that addressed those issues.

I’m also a dad of three, and consider myself to be somewhat of an upcoming TikTok sensation, to the dismay of my three teenage children!

Tell us about your latest venture, mimojo.

mimojo is a cashback rewards app that offers members cashback on payments seamlessly and effortlessly. Users earn percentage-based cashback at all participating mimojo merchants, on all purchases, across restaurants, beauty, entertainment, e-commerce and more. Users’ cashback is paid directly back to their payment card, once a month on mimojo payday, on the 15th of the month, every month.

We incorporated mimojo back in October 2022. Since then, we’ve been on an incredible journey, pulling together the country’s top talent to build a world-class product focused on the use of Card Linked Technology.

Our mimojo app soft launched to consumers in September 2023 with our first partner, Visa. At the end of March, we onboarded Mastercard and we’re looking forward to taking our launch campaign to market very soon!

What inspired you to found mimojo?

With my background in rewards and loyalty, I knew I wanted to create a new product that centred on marrying technology with merchant funded offers, creating a seamless, rewarding payment experience for consumers while allowing the merchant universe more autonomy to adapt offers based on business needs.

Did you raise capital for mimojo or is it a self-funded venture?

mimojo started out as a question posed by our investors as to whether there was room in the loyalty/reward space for another player. The answer was yes, as long as the technology evolved. Happily, our investors agreed, they share that vision and have been incredibly supportive on the journey.   

What has been your biggest success since founding mimojo?

As the CEO of the business, nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing the reaction of a user when they transact with mimojo for the first time. We have a principle at mimojo of ‘creating mimojo magic’, so seeing people’s faces when they experience the mimojo technology, never fails to put a smile on my face. The success is that we truly have built a world-class product that delivers on the purpose of creating a seamless, friction-free payment and reward experience for consumers.

And your biggest challenge?

Our biggest challenge is education. Card Linked Services is still a relatively new technology and has not been utilised (or embraced) to the degree we have done at mimojo. From a consumer perspective, assurance around security and data protection is critical. From a merchant perspective, while we are removing so many operational and training headaches, it’s still something new that we are introducing, so there’s a big education piece that needs to come across in all our communication.

What lessons did you learn in your role at The Entertainer that you have brought with you to your latest venture?

At the Entertainer, I experienced first-hand the superpower of a good company culture and it is something our leadership team at mimojo are intentional about. At the heart of it is autonomy – hire great people and give them the space to do great work.

How can mimojo help business owners?

Simply, mimojo offers businesses the opportunity to generate awareness, increase footfall or traffic, and drive revenue. But what sets us apart is firstly the unparalleled loyalty we create for mimojo merchants with our seamless consumer rewards. Secondly, we also provide our merchants unrivalled data insights on consumer spending habits and demographic trends, when it comes to the transactional profile of their own customers.

How does mimojo help build customer loyalty?

We’re still in our infancy as a business, but already, we see from one of our top performing merchants that a mimojo customer transacts x2.7 more per month, compared to the rest of their consumer base. It’s the beauty of the seamless technology that drives consumer loyalty, as customers are automatically rewarded for their loyalty, and immediately acknowledged through our automated communication.

What are your top tips for achieving customer loyalty and why is customer loyalty so important?

As any marketer will know the cost to acquire a new customer is much higher than the cost, not only to retain, but also to grow revenue from an existing customer. Generating a loyalty programme is easy, but establishing a compelling loyalty proposition that generates a true emotional connection between customer and brand is much harder to deliver. We believe that the nature of our seamless technology and reward delivery creates an addictive loyalty, unmatched by other programmes.

Why are loyalty programmes essential for customer retention in the current marketplace?

Merchants are operating in a time of economic uncertainty. We know that last year, 73% of consumers were worried about escalating prices, and 44% of consumers were looking to save more, specifically highlighting the critical role of loyalty programmes in driving their retention*. These consumer sentiments continue into 2024, and as the UAE continues to attract more expats to settle, the marketplace becomes ever more competitive for that essential consumer spend. But, in order to ensure brands are positioned to play for that loyalty, they need to ensure that their product offering is fit-for-purpose. The most recent data shows that 49% of e-commerce transactions, and 29% of POS transactions, were facilitated by digital wallets. These are numbers that loyalty teams cannot ignore and need to ensure that they are working with providers that are presenting solutions that are fit for consumer shopping habits in 2024.

*Euromonitor International Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey, 2023

How do you retain GenZ customers? And is it more of a challenge than other generations?

When we embarked on our mission at mimojo, one of our values was to always be equitable. Gen Z are financially mindful, and when building out our product offering, being equitable was identified as a key factor in limiting our churn rate for consumers. How have we delivered on that? Once our customers have experienced their three month trial and the magic of their  mimojo paydays, we introduce our competitive AED 9.99 monthly subscription fee. Our price point has been set at a level we know is easily rationalised through our cumulative payday cashback value.

What are your goals for mimojo for the next 5 years?

We will continue to grow, expanding our offerings in the local market and also venture to new markets in the Middle East. So you’ll definitely see us around!

How can our readers find out about yourself and mimojo?

You can always connect with me on LinkedIn (or TikTok if you’re there!) – Chris Shaw, and follow us on socials @mimojoapp on Instagram and @mimojosavings TikTok for the latest news, but the best way to find out about us is to download mimojo, sign up, enrol your cards and experience the mimojo magic for yourself.

Editor-In-Chief of Bizpreneur Middle East