Aidah – A chatbot company automating the sales process on Messenger for Nigerian Businesses
Aidahbot is an intelligent sales assistant that enables social commerce merchants to respond instantly and close sales significantly faster. The company provides a simple chatbot building platform, already programmed to automate the sales process on Messenger. The bot acts as a sales assistant providing product information to our clients’ customers and receiving orders as well as delivery details.
Nancy Ewurum, is the co-founder of Aidah. A writer with a Project Management degree from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria. She is also a graduate of software and Entrepreneurship program at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology. In an interview, she tells Alaba Ayinuola of Africans Building Africa about how her tech startup Aidah is supporting social commerce merchants whose main sales channel is social media and want to increase customer engagement and sales with it’s tools without necessarily owning a website. Excerpt.
1. Tell us about yourself and your business.
I am Nancy Ewurum, a writer with a Project Management degree from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria who currently resides in Ghana. I enjoy simplifying processes and that reflects in some of my articles on Jumia Ghana. I recently concluded a one-year software and Entrepreneurship program at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology where I learned how to manage and build a tech startup. I am a co-founder of Aidah and we are building a tool for social commerce merchants whose main sales channel is social media, to increase customer engagement and sales. Aidah is a chatbot building platform for merchants who sell on social media.
Our tool helps to build a chatbot that acts as a sales assistant for the merchant providing product information to users and ultimately automates the sales process for the merchant. When a customer makes a comment on the merchant’s page or leaves a message on Messenger, the bot responds and displays available products with description details and price to the customer. Upon selection of the desired item, the bot requests for contact and delivery details of the customer which the merchant receives an SMS notification.
The customer may decide to check out in Messenger or pay cash on delivery. We are leveraging on businesses which are already online and are looking for means of promptly handling customer inquiries while making sales without being online all the time. Our tool also provides a means of accepting payment on social media platforms.
2. How much did you need to start your business and how were you able to raise that capital?
Raising capital was easy for us because of the MEST program. Upon graduation, each team presents the business idea to Jorn Lysegen, the founder of MEST alongside some potential investors and each idea is judged based on viability, scalability, traction etc. Selected teams are funded and my team was part of those selected for the 2017 funding decision of MEST.
3. What are some of the challenges you face in your business and how do you overcome those challenges?
Our business is too young to outline all the challenges we will face. However, some of our anticipated challenges include: Most people do not know what a chatbot is, so we start from educating them massively on what chatbots and what they can do. We also face issues with the rate of adoption of e-commerce in West Africa.
E-commerce has come a long way in Africa, but we still have a huge task ahead of us, especially when it comes to payments. Most people still prefer to pay cash. We structured payment on delivery into our model to cater for the merchants whose users are still inclined to cash payments.
This Story is sponsored by: Abel Communications
4. Where do you see your business in 5 years from now and what steps are you taking today to reach that objective?
Five years from now, we hope to have made an impact in 20 major cities in Africa, helping those merchants whose means of livelihood depend on social media to make better sales at a little cost.
5. What advice would you give to entrepreneurs wanting to start a business or invest in Africa?
If you are an entrepreneur looking to start a business in Africa, my first advice to you is to be strong. I say this because entrepreneurship can be hard but it will be worth it in the end. You will be rejected so many times, but each rejection should be a take-off point for your next step. Be bold and seek out your passion with grit. I encourage you to keep at it, one step at a time.
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6. How is your business participating to the development of Africa?
Unemployment is an issue that seems to increase with each graduating year in Africa. With that in mind, a lot of people are looking for alternative sources of income. Selling on social media is an affordable way of making e-commerce sales without owning a website.
By using our tools, they can boast of an overwhelming ROI which is an attractive opportunity for more unemployed people to take advantage of social media and make a living for themselves. Africa is our heritage, and it will take the united efforts of African heirs to build Africa. This is why we do what we do.