“Here’s another name you can call Bumpa: the King of social commerce and in this kingdom every business can enjoy the Bumpa and Meta integration,” Bumpa says in a video posted accross its social media platform. 

This week, Bumpa, a Lagos-based inventory management and mobile store builder, called itself the king of social commerce and rightfully so. Its recent update positions it a mile ahead of the market and sets its competitors up for a long race of catch-up. The company has integrated with Meta to enable social merchants on its platform to manage their direct messages (DMs) from Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp directly on Bumpa, without going to any of the Meta platforms—a simple but powerful update that is expected to shoot the startup’s growth to the moon. 

Get the best African tech newsletters in your inbox

According to the startup co-founder and CEO Kelvin Umechukwu, who spoke to TechCabal over a call, “this integration is starting off with Instagram—since 40% of the sales recorded on the Bumpa app comes from Instagram—while Facebook messenger and WhatsApp will follow in due time.” What this means is that business owners who connect their Instagram business accounts with Bumpa can now receive Instagram DM queries directly on their Bumpa app and so, sell their products faster and more conveniently.

This integration, which took 7 months to create, is the perfect blend for the 2 companies’ visions. On the one hand, It aligns with Meta’s vision to make its family of messaging apps the primary way businesses communicate with their customers. On the other, it delivers Bumpa’s overarching ambition of simplifying operations for small businesses in Africa. It’s a first-of-its-kind feature in Africa and may not only be shifting the way we do social commerce in Africa but also revolutionalising the continent’s e-commerce space.  

Social commerce in Africa

Social commerce is the act of buying and selling predominantly on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and several others. With over 2.4 billion active monthly users on WhatsApp, over 1 billion on Facebook Messenger, and over 2 billion on Instagram, Meta arguably controls about half of the social commerce traffic in the world. 

The high adoption of social media in Africa, influenced by an increasing youth population and internet connectivity, is leading to the rise of social commerce on the continent. And like a domino effect, we have begun to see the rise in the number of social-commerce startups hatching sleek innovations to enhance the growth of the sector. Besides the many fintech startups facilitating social payment, some close examples are Catlog, a startup that helps merchant optimise sales on WhatsApp, and Simpu, a startup helping businesses to consolidate all their communication platforms under one dashboard.

And there are clear signs of market demand and opportunity for growth in social commerce in Nigeria and Africa at large. There are 281 million online shoppers in Africa and over 42 million SMEs in Nigeria, the country where Bumpa currently has most of its users. Out of that, only a little over 9 million businesses sell online. 

Simple but strong enough to drive a market shift  

There are ample reports on the importance of reaching your customers over social media or digital messaging. A recent report shows that 85% of consumers would like to message brands and 75% of people would be more likely to purchase if they could get answers over messaging. The report also shows that there’s over 60% Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) for customers who chat with businesses compared to those who don’t.

Another report from PwC shows that shoppers are prepared to spend up to 16% more when they enjoy a great customer experience and will be more loyal to the brand that delivers that experience. It is this great social experience that Bumpa CEO, Umechukwu referred to when he told TechCabal in a text: “We are helping our merchants create a great experience for their customers.” 

The PWC report also shows the power of conversational commerce—selling and buying through chat, messaging or phone call—and that consumers place the greatest value in three elements of customer experience: convenience; efficiency; and service that is both friendly and knowledgeable. According to Umechukwu, all of these were considered in building this feature: businesses can provide convenience to their customers by starting and closing a complete sale’s circle in the DMs of a particular platform. Their business operations would be 5 times more efficient because the feature allows them to achieve maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort and time since they’d only be needing one platform to sell, receive payment and bookkeep. And it’s friendly, because having a conversation with customers through DMs makes them feel comfortable as though they’re chatting with their friends.

The integration page

Bumpa seems to have just unlocked a customer acquisition machine and other startups who provide one-stop-messaging-shop software as their unique proposition should be worried. Umechukwu might be right when he says that, “[Bumpa has] changed the conversation from why you should join Bumpa to why haven’t you joined Bumpa?”

Bumpa’s growth is somewhat appealing to see real time. While it prioritises product expansion, the company is also making some major market expansion moves into Ghana.

When Bumpa closed its $200,000 pre-seed last September, Umechukwu told TechCabal that the company “wants to build everything small businesses need to thrive online.” Almost 11 months later, the ambition has taken a new direction which is: connecting, rather than just building, everything small businesses need for their day-to-day operations. “Regardless of how much we change our strategy, our overarching mission, which is to become the operating system for social commerce and simplify operations for small businesses, remains intact.“ Umechukwu said.

Get the best African tech newsletters in your inbox