South African-based enterprise payments platform provider, Nomanini, has rolled out its second generation product, eLula, designed for informal markets. It provides enterprise prepaid distributors with more sophisticated business insights via an enhanced cloud platform, and merchants with the means to sell different types of services electronically.
Nomanini provides a payments platform that enables transactions in the cash-based informal retail sector in Africa. Its flagship product, the Lula terminal, is a rugged, waterproof, GSM-connected PoS device for printing PIN-only products.
The new eLula platform comes with additional capabilities allowing for the integration and sale of more sophisticated products. Its enhanced dashboard management suites for prepaid distributors offers unparalleled insight into merchant network activities and integration with key service providers. “Our new dashboard drives efficiency for enterprise prepaid distributors, telling them which merchants are selling, where the sales hotspots are, which aren’t selling and why,” said Vahid Monadjem, Nomanini CEO.
“This management platform has been hugely updated with our second generation eLula platform, providing not only analytics but also sales predictions, as well as integration to local products and services. We believe it is a step forward for prepaid distributors in informal markets, allowing them to maximise their sales and plan deliveries as never before.”
Designed to maximise opportunities for merchants
Rugged, waterproof and GSM-connected like its predecessor, Nomanini’s new eLula PoS terminal allows for increased margins and greater competitiveness. Monadjem said the expansion in usage was due to the realisation that the Nomanini platform and PoS device could play a significant role in increasing access to e-payments amongst low income communities, whilst providing additional revenue streams for merchants.
“When Nomanini started it saw the significance of enabling electronic transactions to those without bank accounts in informal markets,” he said.
“To do this, we focused on electronic vouchers for prepaid airtime to replace scratch cards, which received a great reception. But airtime is the tip of the iceberg. Our clients want a variety of services, and our devices can be used to deliver a number of fast moving virtual goods, such as prepaid electricity and water. eLula takes that foundation and provides the appropriate tech for informal markets to deliver these virtual goods, and we plan to expand into other services – such as microfinance – in the future.”
First point of sale to use an electronic paper screen
One concern regarding the second generation platform – which was fully developed in-house over a period of five months – was the need to add a touch screen to allow for the input of account numbers for services such as electricity and water.
“Our initial concept was that the terminal needed to be usable by everyone, and it needed to be rugged. Informal street sellers are often running from car to car, perhaps in the rain, and screens are susceptible to damage if dropped,” said Monadjem.
However, this issue has been overcome with the use of an almost indestructible electronic paper screen for the eLula, with a 1.2m drop resistance and UV resistance. Normally used for e-readers, this is the first example of an electronic paper screen being used for PoS terminals. “It’s the perfect technology to allow vendors to expand their services while remaining robust.”
The eLula is already in use in Mozambique, and is available for purchase elsewhere, but Monadjem said that there is still a need for the original Lula terminal.
“With our different products we can target different segments of the informal vendor market. A part-time seller with small usage may use our Android platform, a seller on the street running between cars may use the Lula terminal, while physical shops and spazas looking to offer more than one type of service may prefer eLula. It’s up to the merchant; the key thing from our point of view is that we are able to provide a number of simple to use, affordable, robust terminals that bring electronic payments into informal markets and increase the margins for merchants and prepaid distributors.”