Kenya’s Nanasi, is a new retail platform for online brands looking to sell and receive payment for products and services on any social networking platform without investing in an e-commerce website.
Nanasi aims to make their social media feeds shoppable and allow users to receive orders, get paid, track inventory, manage and scale globally all from their social media channels while maintaining an authentic engagement with their customers.
“We wanted to build a unicorn that has roots in Africa and the pineapple embodies our philosophy of standing tall and wearing our crowns,” said Alex Mativo, the founder. “We understand how hectic it is when trying to sell anything on social media especially for any upcoming business. Most online brands are managed by one person who has to handle receiving orders, responding to inquiries, tracking their inventory, managing their finances with little expertise while trying to do their core business which is offer quality products and services.”
The platform works simply. Once a business is signed up to Nanasi’s platform, their social media accounts become shoppable. Nanasi also helps them manage their entire business and give them access to useful metrics on how their business is performing and how they can do things like increase their sales, get more customers and scale globally.
Speaking to TechMoran, Mativo says social media uptake in Kenya and Africa has grown tremendously over the last couple of years in tandem with Internet penetration. Many businesses are now using platforms like Instagram and Facebook as their primary channel for selling their products making social commerce being a billion dollar industry on the continent.
Starting with Kenya, Nanasi is looking forward to having over 100K merchants joining its platform in the first year alone.
Globally, online shopping has moved from traditional e-commerce sites to social media platforms making them the backbone of consumer engagement but trading from these platforms remains a complex retail experience .Moreover setting up an e-commerce infrastructure can be pricey, time consuming and really competitive especially for small businesses in emerging markets.
My goal is to open up trade borders for millions of merchants in emerging markets like Africa and allow them to sell their products beyond their usual areas of distribution.
Mativo says he grew up curious, always questioned the norm and challenged the status quo. With that kind of mindset he has always sought to identify problems in my community and tried to solve them. At 19, he founded E-lab which helped recycle electronic waste that is rampant in Africa by turning it into pieces of Art. It’s now called the Ethnic Brand and it has a bigger goal; addressing waste-streams and development challenges in Africa while re-imagining the way products are made in developing nations.
Though he learnt how to build a company at a young age, Mativo says getting access to VC funding is still a miss for many entrepreneurs . There’s no sure way of tackling this problem. I guess they just have to build a product that people want and get paying customers from the get go.
Regular e-commerce platforms like Jumia and Masoko offer personal online stores to merchants and have a strong social media integration because they’ve become the backbone of consumer engagement. Nanasi’s goal isn’t to compete with them but to focus on the social media market segment and make shopping from these platforms more social and frictionless.
Majority of these merchants have small businesses and are still trapped in poverty because they lack access to markets beyond their borders. Nanasi aims to help them leverage the global nature and scale of social media channels helping them sell beyond their areas of distribution.