Celulant, has built an Augmented Reality (AR) Facebook Messenger bot to help customers discover, try out products before they buy in a move expected to provide simple and convenient payment experiences in partnership with Facebook.
The firm has integrated its Mula app with an Augmented Reality bot in Facebook Messenger allowing customers to discover and try products before they purchase. Brands that leverage social media as platforms for e-commerce can now give their customers a world class one-stop shop service from trial, to payment and delivery, all within Facebook and Instagram. This is a departure from the current disjoined social commerce experience.
For Huddah lipsticks, for example, the AR technology switches on the camera on your cellphone and engages the buyer to try different shades before making a choice and concluding the purchase through Mula seamlessly. The service is set to be expanded to Nigeria, Tanzania and Rwanda in the coming months.
According to Cellulant’s Chief Product Officer Faizal Mirza, “This partnership with Facebook allows us to do so for a segment that is often neglected when considering the economies of scale in Africa. This is the beginning of our journey to offering seamless, smart and connected digital payment experience to our customers across Africa. Fundamentally, we will be able to connect one of Africa’s growing base of micro-merchants’ gig economy a.k.a Hustle-preneurs to their ever mobile and digital customers”, says Faizal.
Founded in 2016 by Kenyan model and entrepreneur, Alhuda Njoroge better known as Huddah Monroe, Huddah Cosmetics provides a solution to long lasting day-to-day makeup needs for African women.
“I started my company out of pure passion and vision to offer every woman a product that celebrate the diversity of African beauty. Huddah Cosmetics is for every woman who is strong-willed, outspoken and stands for what they believe regardless of what the society thinks,”says Huddah Monroe. “I am excited to be the first Hustle-preneur to work with Cellulant and Facebook as they launch this new shopping experience using Augmented Reality on Facebook Messenger. This is an opportunity for my company to give a unique online shopping experience of our beauty products to our customers in a way that has never happened before.”
A GeoPoll survey published in February this year found that a significant number of online shoppers utilize Facebook groups. At 32%, Facebook is the second leading online retailer in the main e-commerce regions. More and more, informal entrepreneurs are using this leading social media channel to sell through their groups or similar interest groups. With mobile phones having such huge penetration on the continent, e-commerce is an opportunity for online retailers to reach the youthful African consumer population, the survey reports.
Proud Dzambukira, the Facebook Product Partnership Lead, Middle East & Africa commented: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Cellulant and Huddah Cosmetics in a first for the continent, Augmented Reality (AR) in Messenger, a powerful and innovative tool to aid her customers discover, try and buy her range of cosmetics through Facebook and Instagram. With nearly 1 in 2 SMBs on Facebook building their business on Facebook, our platform can play a powerful role in enabling social commerce. We want to help drive innovation by supporting Africa’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, and this is just one of the many ways.”
Cellulant is investing in advancing Africa’s economic footprint by building payments infrastructure that gives the customer the choice on how they manage and use their money. Ultimately, the payments infrastructure will power the success of millions of businesses by providing a simple and easy way to receive money from their customers.