Fintech startup Flutterwave has today launched an e-commerce platform Flutterwave Store that will let African merchants sell online through digital shops. The store will serve businesses to find customers online. Governments have stressed social distancing to help flatten the curve of spreading COVID-19 which has affected businesses globally. Most operations have moved online. By creating online shops, the small businesses will be able to survive through the pandemic.
The platform will allow SMEs to create online stores without any inventory requirements. The service will be available for SMEs in 15 African countries comprising of Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. The service will run throughout the COVID-19 crisis and after the pandemic.
To create a store, merchants will fill a form on the website with necessary information regarding themselves and bank accounts. After which a merchant ID will be assigned to perform transactions with customers.
CEO, Olugbenga Agboola, says the service will still be available post-pandemic. He further emphasized that the new offering is not a pivot from what Flutterwave is known for: a payment infrastructure company.
“It’s not a direction change. We’re still a B2B payment infrastructure company. We are not moving into becoming an online retailer, and no we’re not looking to become Jumia,” he said.
Additionally, the service will be free to merchants as Flutterwave will be making commissions only on payments. Also, the startup will work with logistics operators like Nigeria’s Sandbox and Kenya’s Sendy to help merchants with pickup and delivery.
The continent’s small and medium businesses create around 80% of Africa’s employment, establishing a new middle class and fuelling demand for new products and services. While most of them do not have any online presence besides the physical stores.