Ghanaian startup Westcape has launched an e-commerce marketplace that enables merchants to sell their products on credit and empowers consumers to buy and pay in monthly instalments.
The Westcape platform allows users to purchase a variety of goods, from household appliances and electronic gadgets to dresses and homes, and pay later, over a period of between one and 24 months.
Its merchant solutions platform provides sellers with an all-in-one system to sell their products on credit, and is designed to increase sales and improve customer satisfaction, while its link finance solution uses third-party financial institutions to finance purchases for customers.
Founded by Isidore Kpotufe and Alan Akakpo last year, and the recipient of US$100,000 in angel funding around the same time, Westcape launched a private beta this February and garnered 1,000 customers in 28 days as well as 12 pay-later merchants. It launched in public beta mode last month.
“About 60 per cent of online shoppers abandon their shopping cart during checkout. Aside from complex checkout processes, the other reason for this is the lack of sufficient funds to make the purchase,” Kpotufe told Disrupt Africa. “Westcape is the solution to this problem. You either buy and pay in monthly installments or opt to rent the product and return it afterwards.”
Westcape is currently only operating in Ghana, but it is in partnership talks with internal payment service providers and financial institutions to launch in nine additional countries in Africa and South America over the course of the next 18 months.
“We also plan to add three new purchase offerings aside from pay later to the Westcape marketplace in the next 12 months,” Kpotufe said.
The startup, which charges merchants a fixed fee for each purchase request they receive its platform and also provides lead generation advertising services to merchants, suffers from a slow merchant acquisition cycle as a result of Ghanaian merchants deeming this type of service to be high risk. But Kpotufe said this is also an opportunity for Westcape.
“This presents us with an opportunity to build a payment solution that guarantees merchants payment upfront whilst offering installment repayment options to consumers. It is one of the things we are currently working on,” he said.