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Kenya's Cellulant partners Facebook for AR-based discovery platform

Kenya's Cellulant partners Facebook for AR-based discovery platform

Kenyan FinTech company Cellulant, through its Mula payments platform, has partnered Facebook to integrate an Augmented Reality (AR) bot in Messenger that allows customers to discover and try products before they buy.

Cellulant has recently extended its product offerings on its Mula payment platform to include Mula Shops, an online shopping experience for the rising number of micro-merchants on social networking sites.

It has now launched an AR product discovery bot. As part of the roll-out programme, Kenyan brand Huddah Cosmetics has been selected as the first social commerce merchant on Mula to launch the platform, which leverages on Facebook to provide a unique product discovery shopping experience for customers.

Augmented Reality presents an opportunity for African brands and companies to build trust with consumers where 'touch and feel' is often a prerequisite before purchase. For Huddah lipsticks, for example, the AR technology switches on the camera on a user's mobile phone and engages the buyer to try different shades, before making a choice and concluding the purchase.

"We're thrilled to be partnering with Cellulant and Huddah Cosmetics in a first for the continent, Augmented Reality in Messenger, a powerful and innovative tool to aid her customers to discover, try and buy her range of cosmetics through Facebook and Instagram," said Proud Dzambukira, Facebook's product partnership lead for the Middle East and Africa.

"With nearly one in two SMBs on Facebook building their business on Facebook, our platform can play a powerful role in enabling social commerce. We want to help drive innovation by supporting Africa's entrepreneurship ecosystem, and this is just one of the many ways."

Cellulant's chief product officer Faizal Mirza said the future of innovation in Africa would be about providing a seamless experience in a space that is currently fragmented.

"This partnership with Facebook allows us to do so for a segment that is often neglected when considering the economies of scale in Africa," said Mirza.

"This is the beginning of our journey to offering seamless, smart and connected digital payment experience to our customers across Africa. Fundamentally, we will be able to connect one of Africa's growing base of micro-merchants to their ever mobile and digital customers."

Huddah Cosmetics founder Huddah Monroe said she was excited to be the first micro-merchant to work with Cellulant and Facebook as they launch the AR tool.

"This is an opportunity for my company to give a unique online shopping experience of our beauty products to our customers in a way that has never happened before," she said.

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