Response Architects, operators of ShopEX, has teamed up with Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intellectual backbone of Alibaba Group, under an exclusive agreement to launch an African Livestream shopping platform, Penda, in major markets including Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya.

Leveraging on the successful launch of ShopEX’s teleshopping model, Penda will provide an end-to-end payment and fulfillment solution for vendors’ live streaming across Africa.

The platform’s architecture will enable merchants, influencers, and Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) to create and host their Livestream events to launch products, feature demos, and interact with customers in real-time. In-app purchasing will allow seamless payment without leaving the Livestream event or app.

Livestream shopping is the buzzword in e-commerce. In China alone, the industry generated over $400 Billion in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) sales with Alibaba’s Taobao Livestream registering 300 million users in 2021 and generating over $323 Billion in GMV sales.

Similarly, social commerce is also gaining momentum in Africa. According to the Q1 2022 Social Commerce Survey, ‘the social commerce industry in Africa & Middle East is expected to grow by 70.3% on an annual basis to reach US$8,903.7 million in 2022.’ In addition, it is also expected that the ‘social commerce GMV will increase from US$8,903.7 million in 2022 to reach US$13,337.2 million by 2028.’

Built on an integrated live streaming and e-commerce platform, Penda will provide merchants with a complete suite of business solutions, from store set-up to payment, fulfillment, inventory management, and analytics, as well as access to finance to source and ship products from manufacturers and suppliers in China. Customers will be treated to live interactions with influencers and store owners, as well as daily discounted coupons for travel, restaurants, hotels, cinemas, and more.

Response Architect’s teleshopping business, ShopEX, has generated over $2.5 million in sales since its launch in 2020, but Chief Executive, Isi Abebe, sees live streaming as an opportunity to pivot the TV shopping model and increase market share among a younger generation of mobile users and entrepreneurs.

‘We tapped into this opportunity because we realized a lot of vendors were seeking new ways of marketing their goods using video content and engaging with their customers. We see Penda as the convergence of social and e-commerce which will radically change the way people shop on the continent,’ Isi Abebe said.

Commenting on the exclusive agreement with Penda, Daniel Jiang, General Manager (the Middle East and Africa) and Head of International Hybrid Cloud Business Development, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, said, “We are delighted to collaborate with Response Architects to enable the digital economy in the region.”

The company is advised by Chris Folayan, former CEO of Mall for Africa and early-stage investors include Echo VC, Expert Media partners, and HAVAIC SA.



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