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It’s easy to see that such days are long gone. With content now being the holy grail of the internet, people can make blossoming careers out of selling their talents and skills at profitable rates. With one part of the puzzle solved – the misconception that Nigerians don’t buy content, many businesses can take advantage of the fact that there are hardly any online Nigeria platforms that facilitate the selling of digital products. One problem many Nigerian creators face when selling their products on global online platforms is the lack of familiarity with the content they offer. This could be due to cultural or language barriers. Many creators have flopped on international platforms such as Youtube, Substack, and Shopify, due to these issues. Selar, a Nigerian e-commerce platform for Nigerian creatives to sell their products and services, has emerged to level the playing field. The platform aims to dismantle the barriers that stifle Nigerian creatives and enable them to thrive on a platform with less competition and a more familiar target market. Selar exists to assist Africans in making money from their skills, knowledge, and material from anywhere on the planet. The founder, Douglas Kendyson, started Selar in 2016 when he realised that digital product makers were seen as people who didn’t contribute much value.
“So many people are creating value on different fronts these days. There are coaching and membership programmes people spend half a million naira on. It’s weird because you’d think Nigerians don’t have money for that, but then you’d be surprised to see the number of people paying for things like that,”he said, speaking in an interview with Techpoint. Selar enables digital content creators to sell ebooks and courses, as well as provide training and coaching. Douglas was inspired to start Selar after working at Paystack. Working with clients on a daily basis, he observed a steady stream of emails from people who wanted to use the platform to market their products. Paystack exclusively worked with corporations at the time, and only very infrequently with people. Douglas launched Selar to meet that need, and after a few setbacks, the company began to generate considerable revenue by Q2 2020.
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A Platform For CreativesLast year, Flutterwave and Paystack, two of Nigeria’s most notable fintech startups and companies Douglas previously worked at, launched their storefronts (Flutterwave Store and Paystack Commerce). For any third-party this would spell trouble for Selar, being relatively newer to the game than both platforms. However, Douglas is certain that Selar is here to stay given its unique selling – more than a checkout page. Paystack and Flutterwave, he argues, both provide a lot of value to physical product vendors. The value proposition is there: it’s expensive to establish a website for these firms, thus Store and Commerce fills that gap. Businesses can then add their products, which are subsequently moved to a checkout page. However, for Selar, features are designed to cater to creators who want to sell their digital products. The startup is committed to creating a conducive eCommerce environment for these creators down to the little details like how video courses are hosted, how files are accessed and issuing coupons to early buyers. Selar is also big on enabling transactions in foreign currencies to enable people to sell their products locally and internationally. It facilitates cross-border payments by leveraging channels on Paystack, Flutterwave, Stripe, and PayPal.
“Someone that signs up on seller has six currencies by default. All they might need to do is set the currency they’d like to be paid in,”Douglas says. The platform streamlines cross-border payments in such a way that a Ghanaian pays in cedis while a Nigerian gets the money in Naira and vice-versa. Selar is completely free to use. Any digital creator can build a profile and begin selling their work. When creators make a sale, Selar charges a transaction fee that varies based on the currency used and ranges from 4% to 10%. In December 2020, the startup embraced a subscription model that allowed sellers to pay between $8 and $30 monthly for more features. Despite the positive feedback, it is currently under evaluation and serves as a secondary source of revenue to Selar’s commission fees.
“Making money via processing is definitely still profitable for us. But we’ll also try to push our subscription model; however, it depends on us giving value that people are happy to pay for,”Douglas explained. As of January 2020, Selar had recorded no less than 17000 users and $270k (₦100m) in revenue, numbers that show the startup has great potential.
“Building credibility with creators is something we’ve had to grow gradually. And I’m pretty glad to say it’s gotten so much better as we grow our number of creators and as they tell their friends,”says Douglas. Source: Techpoint Featured Image Source: Pulse NG
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