Afrikrea, an Ivorian-based e-commerce tech startup, has launched an all-in-one SaaS (Software as a Service) solution to provide flawless e-commerce, global shipping and online payment service for thousands of African micro retailers and businesses.
Dubbed ANKA, which means ‘Ours’ in Bambara and Djoula, the platform aims to empower micro retailers in Africa to have their products distributed all over the globe, and increase their overall revenue and sales output. This innovative platform will function as an Omni channel for African micro retailers to sell their products and services on a global scale.
Founded in 2016, Afrikrea started as a marketplace for African-based and inspired clothing, arts, crafts and accessories, and it has served more than 7,000 sellers from 47 African countries and buyers from 170 countries over the past five years. According to the company’s data, it records more than 500,000 visits monthly, with the majority of its customers from Europe and North America recording over $15 million in transactions.
However, while Afrikrea presents and enables African merchants to showcase and sell their products to the world, it is just one of the many available channels, including personal websites and social media.
“We noticed that it was getting harder for our sellers to make sales because they were losing time, money and energy switching between channels,” Co-founder and CEO Moulaye Taboure said in an interview. “Every time they want to sell a product, they put it on social media, Afrikrea, and other websites. And when buyers show interest, there is no single place to track and see all the orders. That’s hard for these businesses to offer quality services and grow effectively.”
Then last year, Afrikrea began testing an all-in-one SaaS e-commerce platform for these merchants. The platform called ANKA will allow users to sell from Africa, ship products to anywhere in the world and get paid through local and international African payment methods. E-commerce, payments and global shipping; that’s ANKA’s play for thousands of micro-retailers and businesses on the continent and around the world.
“We see Afrikrea as the bridge between Africa and the world, empowering thousands of micro retailers and their clients globally,” Taboure said. “Those entrepreneurs currently lose time and energy managing multiple channels of sales, and also lose money through the multiple intermediaries needed to ship their orders or get access to their funds. ANKA enables them to sell anywhere as well as get paid – seamlessly, from one place.”
Afrikrea claims that its new platform ANKA is the first of its kind global e-commerce aggregator services for African micro retailers, developed to reduce the friction of the global sales process for the 7,000+ sellers on the Afrikrea platform, as well as open new routes to market for sellers.
The platform lets users sell via an Omnichannel dashboard with a single inventory, orders and messages management. Customers can carry out transactions via a customized online storefront like Shopify, social media platforms, links such as on Gumroad and the Afrikrea marketplace.
Merchants can carry out payments and payouts via a wallet and an Afrikrea VISA card. The platform, which costs $12 per month, allows customers to perform mobile money and mobile banking transactions with MPesa, Orange, MTN and PayPal. Merchants will be able to transfer funds secured from their wallets in various methods such as the physical VISA card.
Shipping completes the entire sales life cycle, from the point of sale to receipt of goods. In 2019, Afrikrea collaborated with global logistics partner DHL to offer shipping services to its customers.
In an official press statement, Afrikrea explained that ANKA is a running success.
“In a bid to power and support the entire sales life cycle, from point of sale to receipt of goods, Afrikrea partnered with leading global logistics partner, DHL in 2019 to ensure world-class delivery service for its vendors. Since then, ANKA has become the largest e-commerce exporter on the continent, with over 10 tons of cargo shipped every month out of Africa. Using the ANKA service, vendors can search for competitive shipping rates; this is not limited to sales on the Afrikrea platform. Drop shippers looking to create jobs will also have the opportunity to manage their flow of business and get paid globally using the platform.”