Bringing low-income consumers and merchants together to provide an easier way to pay for essential services in South East Asia
Finland-based e-commerce network Tapp Commerce Oy has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA), with a commitment to integrate 500,000+ micro-entrepreneurs into its value chain and provide 10 million low-income consumers with access to mobile payments for services such as water, electricity and insurance by 2018. To achieve this, the company has pledged to make its TappMarket application available in nine emerging markets throughout Southeast Asia and beyond.
Although there are more mobile phones than bank accounts in the world, cash is still the only available payment method for most people in emerging markets, and hence a majority of the planet. In Southeast Asia alone, formal banks and credit products are a luxury that many people simple cannot afford nor secure. The majority of those living at the bottom of the economic pyramid (BoP) in the region are unable to open formal bank accounts, obtain credit or buy insurance. Without access to the banking sector, it difficult to pay for basic services such as electricity and mobile phone airtime; many are required to travel hours to urban centers for these payments, which incurs additional expense to the consumer.
Founded in Finland in 2013, Tapp Commerce Oy aims to be the world's leading mobile e-commerce network, connecting the social, mobile and physical spheres across the community. Its inclusive business model allows consumers to purchase previously inaccessible goods and services and make bill payments within their neighborhoods and through trusted shopkeepers. By bringing buyers and merchants together, the new TappMarket app is generating opportunities for people at the BoP to become micro-entrepreneurs and incentive them as mobile points of sales in their community; while allowing consumers to locate these sales agents and buy services easily and securely in cash. Customers can even convert cash to a mobile credit to allow for online buying.
Unlike existing E-commerce solutions, the unique TappMarket app targets consumers whose purchasing power is limited to cash. The system is autonomous of any existing global banking ecosystem: anyone can establish a mobile sales point with just a mobile phone and a small trading balance. Local merchants can use the TappMarket app to sell airtime, insurance, electricity, water, physical goods and other services.
Incorporating micro-entrepreneurs and low-income consumers into its value chain is proving to be a viable model for Tapp Commerce's growth. It's extensive locally based sales network is giving thousands of micro-entrepreneurs the opportunity to offer much-needed services and generate incomes. And its secure payment-processing platform gives low-income consumers a convenient way to pay for these services. While margins are kept low in order to ensure affordability to BoP consumers, TappMarket's revenue is derived from its high sales volume.
Less than a year after its launch in Indonesia, the TappMarket app is already being used by over 28,000 sales agents. During 2016, Tapp Commerce plans to expand into Philippines and introduce a new micro-insurance product. It also aims to enable sales of international products that are not available in local markets. By 2018, the company is expected to create 300 jobs within the company and generate income for 500,000 local sales agents in developing countries.
Learn more about Tapp Commerce's work in Southeast Asia