Dubai-based social commerce startup Zbooni has raised $1.1 million from Chalhoub Gorup, a leading UAE-based luxury retailer and Lebanese VC B&Y Venture Partners, the startup announced today.
Founded in 2017 by Ramy Assaf & Ashraf Atia, Zbooni enables businesses (mostly SMEs) to sell over Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram. The businesses after downloading Zbooni’s mobile app can set up their account, add the products they want to sell with price and description, and then share the link with customers through Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or Instagram DM. The customers then can review the items and price and make the payment or request/discuss amendments to the order, without having to download any app. The payment page opens in their browser.
Once the payment is made, business and customer receive automated invoices.
The businesses also have the option to organize products by collections, variants, price and inventory level.
Ramy Assaf, co-founder and CEO of Zbooni, commenting on ocassion, said, “Business is increasingly done through WhatsApp and social media services such as Instagram and Facebook. These channels are the modern equivalent of shop windows that showcase a merchant’s products and services to the world, but consumers want to engage before they transact. Zbooni connects merchants with customers while providing an easy way to make payments.
“We see strong demand from businesses in the UAE for this service, with the transaction volumes consistently growing at above 30% month-on-month. Transacting millions of dirhams of sales every month was a key milestone for us as the business continues to expand,” he added.
Zbooni, per statement, was one of the only eight companies from the world and the only one from the Middle East to take part in a six-month incubator program at Facebook. It’s not clear when the company took part in this program.
The startup claims to be handling millions of dirhams of sale transaction per month at the moment through its chat commerce app. In addition to traditional businesses, Zbooni also enables those with a side gig or social media following to sell through it. Its services are currently being used by a wide range of merchants including cake shops, artists, basketball clubs, fashion outlets and even medical clinics.
Zbooni predicts that there are over 3.5 million SMEs who could benefit from their technology in the Middle East & North Africa.
According to the statement, Zbooni merchants see higher conversion on their sales funnel when using the app, “Self-service e-commerce sites generally have conversion rates of around 2% – in other words, once an individual clicks on an item, there is a very low chance they will go through and complete purchase on their own. However, with Zbooni, because the merchant and customer are always connected through their preferred messaging apps, once a cart is shared with the customer, there is an 84% chance of closing a transaction.”