A few weeks ago, Ventureburn focused on how African telecoms operators can have a mutually beneficial innovation-driven relationship with startups specifically by making their APIs startup friendly.
This week, Nigeria’s NetPlusDotCom, announced a partnership with telecoms giant Etisalat Nigeria to deliver the STORM app. Thus further expanding how telecoms companies can get actively involved in the growth of the tech space — this time, fintech.
NetPlusDotCom is a Nigerian early stage financial technology company and payment solution provider that decided to partner with Etisalat to roll out STORM — which is an innovative inventory, store management and self-service ticketing solution via mobile point of sale (mPOS) system.
The company decided to work with Etisalat to offer merchants in the country access to STORM, a certified mobile POS device and data plan to run the app. Needless to say, the data plan will be provided by Etisalat.
This is a typical case of how operators can leverage partnerships with tech developers and companies at various growth stages. It typifies how big operators can access new revenue streams — directly and indirectly — by working with tech companies. It also allows them to be part of innovative ventures in quite a number of spaces.
Wole Faroun, chief executive officer of NetPlusDotCom said: “With STORM, we are redefining how Nigerians look at an e-commerce transaction — anywhere a merchant can trade with their customers using electronic tools. The web, which is the traditional e-commerce channel, remains valid. But in a market like Nigeria, a lot more transactions are happening offline and in-store; STORM provides the perfect tool to enhance each customer’s experience and it helps merchants to keep a good tab of their businesses in real time.”
Take this STORM app as a good example of business management. The inventory application allows for inventory management and sales tracking; it enables the merchant to track both e-commerce and in-store sales via the same channel. Unlike regular POS services that many merchants cannot afford due to their high overall cost (such as software), merchants will not incur additional costs for using the app.
Ordinarily, Etisalat may not be able to launch the service on its own since it would have to come up with the app, get the hardware and facilitate other aspects. But it becomes much easier for the company to play in the mPOS space by joining forces with a local fintech company that has a market-ready product. Now imagine if the operator can do this in health, education, security and several other sectors.
Etisalat’s director of digital business, Adia Sowho, said the network has continued to establish partnerships with companies like NetPlusDotCom to provide Nigerians with the best mobile point of sale (mPOS) solutions.
“The STORM app offers merchants affordable ways to enhance customer experience and improve their businesses. Etisalat is excited to be working with NetPlusDotCom to offer a great solution that allows merchants trade with their customers anywhere online and offline using electronic tools,” the rep said.
Explaining the app, NetPlusDotCom stressed that it works seamlessly with the mPOS device and customers can make payments from the app itself. With the backend inventory management solution, users can manage inventory levels of the store as they are being purchased by the customers. It is integrated with a certified mobile POS device and offers adequate controls to prevent loopholes. In other words, it offers a low-cost solution that puts the user at the cutting edge of technology – it also provides an alternative solution to customers.
It added that STORM eases cash collection, counting and deposit into bank account, its mPoS system can be used for payment and by this it enables merchants to reduce customer’s waiting time by enabling more distribution points – this is in addition to its ability to receive all forms of electronic payment. The merchant is also able to electronically capture information of the customers for future marketing and loyalty drive.
“STORM was built with the peculiarities of the Nigerian environment in view. It comes with capabilities to allow for transactions even when you are completely offline. The app syncs with your online platforms and completely eliminates the need to manually manage inventory information across multiple platforms,” said Mayowa Anibaba, head of technology at NetPlusDotCom.