In a Twitter thread on the 23rd of June, Paystack launched what it called “Paystack Commerce”, and from the Commerce Roadmap the company made public, there is a whole lot more to come. This makes the social commerce scene in Nigeria more interesting, owing to the fact that they are joining the league of payment platforms to dive into commerce.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have taken a hit, and several owners and creators are jumping online to stay connected to their customers. This is only corroborating of the advent of social commerce in Nigeria in the past few years.
In layman terms, social commerce refers to all those friends we have that sell stuff on their Whatsapp status and Twitter. Are you familiar with, “Kindly RT, my customer may be on your timeline”, and “DM for Price”? Then you know basically everything there is to know about social commerce.
In the past six months, major payment platforms in Nigeria have begun the integration of social commerce in their systems. Such that, it is easier for random sellers and new business starters to start out, without having to own a website. And the most recent of these is Paystack Commerce.
What is Paystack Commerce About?
The first tweet in the announcement thread says Paystack Commerce is a “Toolkit that helps African Creators bring ideas to market, beautifully.” Then the follow-up tweet says “it is a collection of free tools to help African Brands sell more physical and digital products online”
Basically, Paystack commerce is a platform where you get to sell and receive payments products, easily. The Paystack Commerce is somewhat like the broader idea that encapsulates several tools that allow for buying and selling to take place online, easily. One major part of this platform is the product links, which allows you to display items for sale readily, collect fees, and you even get to customize links for the products.
In the thread, one word stood out, “Creators.” We reached out to Paystack to clarify the use of the word, and if it’s to depict a limitation on those who can use the platform. However, we were made to understand that the tools “can be used by SMEs as well as creators”
“We speak specifically to creators in our release because although a number of commerce platforms exist, they were sometimes not optimized for African creators. For example, many of the more established commerce platforms require a recurring USD subscription, which can be costly for someone who is just starting out. And other platforms sometimes lack integration to an African payment processor entirely” said Stephen Amaza.
Basically, Paystack Commerce is for you if you aren’t ready to go through the hassle of setting up Jumia shop, or Shopify store. Truth is, no one starting out a business will want to do that.
Is Paystack Commerce Looking to Compete with Jumia?
With different platforms springing up daily, it’s only right to wonder if Paystack Commerce is meant to compete with Jumia that has over the past 8 years worked hard on cementing itself to the subconscious of ‘every internet user’ in the country, and beyond.
However, “No, we are not,” Stephen, the Paystack Personnel we reached out to said. “Our core is still payments. What we’ve done with Paystack Commerce is provide the tools for small businesses to get up and running quickly. A business can still use Paystack Commerce and still list their items on Jumia, for example, to get more sales.
Our primary goal is to help businesses get paid, and businesses get paid when they sell things. To that end, we’re working to increase access to and adoption of digital selling tools, especially for people who’re new to online commerce.
We continue to build out integrations to platforms like Shopify, which works very well for merchants with more complex needs.
But what we are excited about right now is to lower the cost and technical bar to online retail significantly. Not everyone can afford to or has the time or expertise to build out an ecommerce website or store. For people who have value to offer and things to sell, but aren’t quite at the point where they can go all out and use ecommerce software, Paystack’s Commerce tools can bridge that gap.”
What makes Paystack Commerce different from Jumia?
It’s mainly for creators
According to reports by Techcabal, Paystack has spent about two years studying the commerce experience of Africans, with which the company – Paystack – has been able to factor out its unique selling point. The Platform is simply for creators who are looking to set up a quick shop for their products. For instance, a writer who would like to self-publish and market his book (soft or hardcopy), or a painter who just completed a framed painting.
This doesn’t mean it can’t be the major store for business owners in the SME categories.
Logistics is by the Vendor
According to Techcabal, Jumia doesn’t see the likes of Paystack Commerce as competition just yet. There are several things that different both platforms, one of which is logistics. While ‘storing’ on Jumia comes with logistics option, on Paystack Commerce, “they are handled by the vendor. Paystack provides the tools that will allow a merchant to display their products and services, and allow them to receive payment”
This means that with your product on Paystack Commerce, you’d need to find a third-party logistics company. Unlike Jumia that offers logistics option even when the product was not ordered directly on Jumia’s website.
What’s the Journey going to be like for Paystack Commerce
As seen in the Product Roadmap that was made public, Paystack Commerce is really ambitious, and this is backed by incredible action. As of the time of the initial announcement of Paystack commerce, the integration of Wix – an ecommerce platform – to Paystack Commerce was still an idea in the product roadmap. Two days after, it’s been achieved. Yes, the process from ideation to actualization can be that fast.
In the past few days, the platform has also been able to integrate with Craft Commerce, built by Craft CMS (a content management platform).
Is Paystack Commerce Free?
“At the moment, Paystack Commerce is completely free and we intend to keep it that way for the foreseeable future. How we make money is on a percentage of each transaction when a Paystack merchant is receiving payments. What Paystack Commerce further does in this case, is also provide a free platform to sell your products/services without having to pay for another platform or website, till you’re ready to.”