Traction Apps is a startup that offers payments solutions, business tools, inventory management and credit facilities to African vendors and merchants, either online and offline.

The ubiquity of smartphones and the internet in Nigeria makes it extremely easy to set up online stores, facilitating a massive surge in small retail businesses online. These online vendors, and brick and mortar retailers, form the bulk of trading activity in Nigeria. They account for nearly a third of all employment in sub Saharan Africa and according to a study by Deloitte, over 95% of businesses in Africa are SMEs.

In fact, according to a recent survey by the National Bureau of Statistics, small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria have contributed about 48% of the national GDP in the last five years. With a total number of about 17.4 million, they account for about 50% of industrial jobs and nearly 90% of the manufacturing sector, in terms of number of enterprises. These are staggering numbers, and they will only get bigger.

Despite these numbers, the opportunities for growth for these businesses are limited. Traditional banking and financial solutions provide segmented services, which are often on different platforms, thereby making payments, inventory management and invoice unnecessarily complex and stressful. Merchants and vendors should be more concerned with growing the business, not how to manage so many apps just to run it.  This is where Traction Apps comes in.

Mayowa Alli, the co-founder and CEO of Traction knows all too well about the difficulties this section of the economy faces, so he set out about building a solution specifically tailored to solve their business needs. According to Mayowa, Traction is the one stop place for everything small business; it provides solutions for every aspect of business administration.

These solutions attend to issues of payments, operations, managements, inventory, customer relations, bookkeeping, analytics and an e-commerce store. The Traction eco-system is specifically built to provide for every tool and service needed to ensure an accelerated go to market process, steady growth, increased revenue and credit facilities when needed.

With its seamless and simplified onboarding process, Traction empowers vendors, merchants and retailers to

  • accept payment solution offerings via POS, USSD and Bank Transfer
  • obtain POS terminals at zero initial cost, to be repaid only through flexible repayment options
  • manage all inventory and stock in-app
  • gain access to a suite of business management tools such as invoices, sales management, analytics and reports, customer management

The most exciting feature, however, appears to be the storefront. Here, vendors can set up a beautiful online storefront to expand reach and make their products available to millions of potential customers online. Even better, there is no technical expertise needed. The onboarding process is seamless and hassle free.

Interestingly, the app works offline without data connection, allowing users sync data once connection is restored. This ensures that there are no stop times for your business and users can always manage it on the go from the comfort of a mobile device. These solutions provided by Traction can exist independently of one another, and a vendor or small business owner does not need to set up the online storefront to be able to use the payment solutions or management offerings.

On Traction, vendors sign up for free to use the app, and all the business solutions are free. Traction only charges a fee for payments, per transaction. Vendors can enjoy all the features, with or without a mobile connection and it is particularly helpful to very small businesses that need access to basic tools at little or no cost.

Vendors and merchants can also request for a POS terminal to handle all their in person payments and transactions, at no delivery costs and they can pay for these terminals overtime if they cannot afford to pay all at once.  Vendors can also get access to low interest loans and other forms of credit to help grow their businesses.

The Traction team notes that all these solutions are available to users once they sign up on the app. The app is available on both Android and IOS devices, and is built with a mobile first philosophy, enabling users to run their business anywhere from their phones.

Although Traction is still relatively young, it has started attracting significant growth. According to Mayowa, in just six months, Traction has deployed its solutions to over 2000 client merchants. The application has also recorded thousands of downloads on the IOS and Android app stores.

The plan is to keep on growing, the team notes. In terms of funding, Traction has raised a pre-seed in the six figure dollar range, and plans to raise a seed round by the end of the year. It also has several ambitious partnerships in the works.

Regarding future plans, Mayowa notes that the vendor and merchant space is only going to get bigger. According to him, a lot of innovation and growth, online and offline, is still needed in this space, and its vast potential still remains untapped. He believes Traction will be “at the forefront of propelling this growth and be the one stop solution for any and every aspect of business for merchants, vendors and retail owners”.