Have you ever tried to make enquiries about a product on social media? You send the merchant a direct message to ask about that bag you saw on their page. You wait for as long as 3-4 hours, sometimes longer just for the account handler to tell you that the person who will respond to your enquiries uses another account! Even with sellers that have e-commerce websites, the process is clumsy involving many unnecessary steps. Typically, you still negotiate the price with the seller via social media, then upon payment, you have to send proof of payment for confirmation. In the midst of this clumsiness, fatigue sets in. Sellers become tired of answering questions, and buyers become distrustful.
In response to this trend, Collins Iheagwara and his cofounders, Kolawole Balogun and Tioluwani Kolawole set out on a daring mission to build an infrastructure that optimizes conversations on social media so merchants can connect with their customers seamlessly and efficiently. At the first level, they built a communication infrastructure that allows people to send SMS, Whatsapp messages like Twilio. But they realized that people needed more, the African market isn’t as advanced as the US market where a lot of applications use APIs for communication.
“We realised that building the API wasn’t enough. There’s the need to build the use cases, build the tools that allow a business to go about their daily activities without stress,” Collins said.
So they built Simpu, a simple (pun intended) platform for businesses looking to streamline customer interactions and business processes into one app. It allows you to sync all your chat direct messages (WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, Messenger, SMS) as one inbox. It also lets marketing teams find newer audiences at a lower cost of acquisition (CAC) using data they already have. Simpu still offers APIs to businesses that still want to use them to build out their apps on Simpu’s infrastructure.
The journey to building Simpu started a year ago. So far the company has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-seed funding from Debo Martins, Adedayo Of Zedcrest Capital and other angel investors.
Here’s what you can do with Simpu.
Simpu’s core feature is called Inbox. It integrates different messaging channels into one inbox so you can engage with customers and partners from one place. You can also unify the identity of a contact by merging their different social profiles as one. Beyond this, inbox allows you to perform functions such as snooze, send later and analytics on how people respond to messages. You can also assign conversations to team members to solve specific customer problems. These features increase the effectiveness of communication.
Imagine you’re chatting with a customer who wants to buy a red bag costing ₦10,000 ($25). The current sales flow is that upon agreeing, you’ll ask for customer details and bank account information. When the customer pays, the person might need to send proof of payment. It’s a long process filled with avoidable steps. With Simpu, when you set up your account, you get a dedicated bank account. With this bank account, you can request payment using a unique link, once payment happens everyone is informed. This feature accepts payments in over 50 countries because of SImpu’s API integration with existing payment companies such as Stripe, Paystack, Flutterwave.
Soon, users of Simpu would be able to access credit directly from Simpu based on their transaction history.
Consider this feature as deeper and more efficient database management. With Simpu, List connects to other tools to allow for seamless flow of information. It’s flexible to use for different companies and different units. It helps you make more intelligent decisions. For example, you can segment contacts, based on the actions they’ve done: based on how often they’ve opened your messages or based on how much they’ve bought from you.
Simpu’s Long term play
For Simpu, the long term play is to create an identity graph that allows businesses to understand what people are interested in. They can leverage this information to improve sales and enhance decisions. An existing version of this is a feature called enrich. This enhances the quality of the information available to business enabling them to make better decisions or carry out advanced tasks. For example, using intelligent models to verify that phone numbers are active or subscribed for the ‘Do-not-Disturb’ service before sending messages to them. All this is possible by having access to data provided by others with their consent.
Simpu provides a suite of tools and services that meet people at their level of need. If you’re an Instagram seller who doesn’t do much you can decide to use only the inbox feature. If you’re a bigger company, you can take it a notch higher by using smart automation and data analytics tools that let you automatically send a customer birthday message or a notification of loan expiry. The ultimate goal of Simpu is to shorten the distance between customers and sellers.
If Simpu sounds like the tool you’ve been waiting for or you’re simply curious about trying it out, you can get priority access here.