Showlove, a digital social platform where people are equipped with tools to interact and show love to one another through giving in a fun and exciting way, is pushing the frontier in the Nigerian technology space by making gifting more impactful and giving personal relationships more meaning.
In Nigeria, the $150 billion per annum retail economy and the domestic gift card market projected to reach $2.1 billion by 2024, suggest a sizable gifting market and opportunities for growth. However, the outbreak of the pandemic took a toll on social interaction, and interpersonal relationships suffered due to social-distancing rules that were put in place to curb the virus. In more western markets, digital platforms for social sharing of gifts already existed, however, in Nigeria there was nothing of such; this is the gap Showlove co-founders sought to bridge.
To improve the quality of human relationships amidst the pandemic, Showlove began its journey of simplifying the process of requesting, sharing, giving, and receiving gifts. Through the Showlove platform, users can create wish lists of the actual gifts or money that they want from their loved ones, preventing instances of unwanted gifts. Showlove provides access to service and product providers across industries including Food & drinks, Spa & Beauty, Fun & Events, Fashion, Home & Living, Kids & Toys, Hotels & travel, Health and Fitness, and Services.
“We have started out on a journey to make Africans happier through gifting,” said Chikodi Ukaiwe, Co-Founder Showlove. “We think there is a whole valuable market around enabling people to request, give and receive the things they want.”
Showlove has an in-built Peer-to-Peer (P2P) payment system to facilitate money transfers between users. As a result, Showlove users can gift and be gifted money securely and fast, without the added costs associated with other types of payment structures and bank transfers. The P2P payment system or digital wallet also eliminates the need for carrying cash around. Given that Showlove is built on technology that enables people to make cash and gift requests from their circles, the wallet provides convenience by ensuring that these requests can be fulfilled within the same platform and with a few clicks of the button.
In addition, Showlove’s wallet feature provides the option for users to store money electronically for future transactions or to simply gift their loved ones conveniently later. Merchant payments are also simplified using the Showlove wallet as businesses can receive payments from and into a Showlove wallet whether the transaction is online or in-store. Furthermore, the wallet utilizes up-to-date data encryption security technology and can be linked to the users’ debit/credit cards, and banking accounts for easy and direct withdrawals.
“Digital platforms have seen a lot of acceptance and people are now adjusted to using digital products as an extension of everyday life”, says Joshua Biyere Co-Founder, Showlove.
For Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Showlove offers a rare opportunity to leverage the accelerating digitization wave in positioning their businesses for growth within the booming gifting industry. With over 101.7 million mobile internet users in Nigeria, there is no gainsaying that digital channels offer SMEs the optimal route to market. For instance, the Global Web Index in 2020 ranked Nigeria as second globally in terms of time spent on social media networks. The implication is that businesses must be online to reach their target market and improve sales.
Also, the developer tools and API on Showlove ensure that merchants seamlessly integrate their stores with the platform to instantly connect with potential customers across borders. Following the successful take-off of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that links 1.2 billion customers, the new face of business has become Afro-centric.
In August 2021, Showlove raised around $300,000 in pre-seed funding just six months after it launched its public beta. The capital raise, according to the start-up, will allow for greater investment in building an indigenous social platform that simplifies gifting for all Africans across various divides. In addition, the company plans to release its mobile app next year.