Afrimarket is a young and fast-growing startup company, focused on money transfer and "cash to goods" to Africa. Their model is different from the traditional Western Union one. You send money to your family in Africa, that they can only spend to purchase goods in local shops (food, medicines, appliances,.. etc.). In addition to having a say in what people can buy, you pay lower commission than for traditional money transfers.
After only 18 months of existence, Afrimarket aims to become a leader in mobile payments in Africa and has already succeeded in convincing major partners such as Orange, who participated in their last financing round of €2.3 million. Afrimarket in numbers: 3 co-founders, 35 employees, 30,000 customers in Europe, and 50 partners and 300 reselling partners located in 4 countries including Benin, Togo, Ivory Coast and Senegal.
Jeremy Stoss, Afrimarket CEO, has been using BIME for about 12 months now and agreed to share some feedback about his experience with BIME and Cloud BI in general.
Afrimarket collects data from their various transactions and loads it into Salesforce (SFDC) on a daily basis. We are talking about money transfers and actual purchases recorded by a device placed at affiliated local merchants. Then, Afrimarket’s Customer Service enriches the data in Salesforce by adding text information.
When it came to analysing their Salesforce data, Afrimarket started using the “out of the box” reporting in SFDC but it was challenging, especially when combining information from multiple tables. The limited number of concurrent chart capabilities in a single dashboard, the limited interactivity with the data once displayed, and lack of aestheticism, led the Team to use Excel for their reporting instead. Excel also showed its limits very quickly requiring complex andmanual updates following SFDC report extracts. Analyses were unreliable and it was difficult to navigate into the data and charts. The Team was frustrated at not getting reliable information, which started to impact their efficiency.
Afrimarket sought a better and online analytical solution, allowing more customization, and capable of managing their growing volume of data without manual exports and instead connecting directly to their SFDC instance for analysis.
"Even if the tools we use are web based, we do not see ourselves as a “tech company". As a matter of fact, 80% of our customer acquisition come from sponsorship and direct marketing. Our business is to go find our customers in the street where less than 30% of them have an email address", says Jeremy. "However, we have to address our two main challenges: the first one is regulatory, we need to show control over our cash flow and our ability to gather information to be shared with local financial authorities. The second one arose quickly: to produce and deliver simple yet fast and customized reports to track our key performance indicators (KPIs)."
The KPIs are related to metrics from their ecosystem. Some are about their direct customers sending money, others about the network of dealers, the beneficiaries of the transfers and also local merchants. All the data related to the transfers’ frequency and amounts, type of transactions and kind of goods purchased during checkouts is a goldmine of information for Afrimarket’s business development.
"Today, all our employees go much deeper in their analysis. For example, we follow the best promotional codes for our financial products sold by our sales executives by acquisition channel. Also, it is key for them to follow their commissions and their business in real time. Excel does not meet this kind of need", adds Jeremy. For Afrimarket and the local managers, Cloud BI and its ability to deliver a real-time reporting and analytics regardless of geography was paramount.
As a fast-growing company, their ability to render professional and modern reporting was also important for their shareholders and investment funds. Every month, their dashboards are updated in one click and available online. "Our investors really liked it and were pleasantly surprised to see a young startup pushing for a “data-driven” culture".
"Regarding our choice, we looked at all the Cloud-based BI vendors but only Cloud ones. The web dimension was necessary as part of a growing company, with growing needs and because we are often travelling to Africa, we needed a mobile solution yet centralized and the Cloud allowed us to do that”. Jeremy added.
Why BIME? "For its transparency and cost-effective offering, its ease of use and quick implementation, and for the support we received throughout the process. Other vendors were not as open as BIME and it was difficult to test their solutions."
"We created our dashboards in less than a week. Today, we focus on analysis and not on creating reports”.
Jeremy Stoss creates his queries and dashboards by himself. He is using BIME on a daily basis. Interactive dashboards are being used by over 20 collaborators every week, including 4 Directors at their African subsidiaries, and marketing executives. The next step is to give access to dashboards and analytics to the sales executive teams in order to expand the “data-driven” culture across the organization.
"Every month, BIME is helping us to improve parts of our business. We measure our churn much more precisely, we get more information quickly. Recently, we have been able to navigate into our data using the Drill-Down and Drill-Through options as well as the filtering capabilities. As a result, we were able to correct some sponsorship operations that were inflating our churn ratio while it was stable for other customer acquisition channels. We were able to better understand the impact of our sponsorship pricing policy and this enabled us to focus our marketing efforts on a better ROI. We take better and more relevant decisions to address specific issues leveraging BIME. We're going faster. The whole team is faster actually", adds Jeremy.
Jeremy goes on with the following example: "Thanks to BIME’s geolocation features, we started to run very localized analysis and this has prompted us to review our Point of Sales network in Africa - we can measure the intensity of purchases by area and then focus our deployment where our customers are."
Jeremy Stoss estimated he personally gained the equivalent of 10 full-time days a year for analytical activities and sees the same trend across different departments . "BIME has a real impact on our productivity and how we manage our business... in the cloud and wherever we are”.
"The fact that BIME is an “on-demand” and a fully scalable solution is a great fit for a growing company like ours. I am very satisfied with BIME "- Jeremy Stoss.
A big thank you to Jeremy Stoss and his team for this great testimonial. Long live to Afrimarket and Vive LaFrenchTech.