Female Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) in Nigeria are tapping the WhatsApp Business App as a means to streamline operations, reach new customers, and increase sales.
SMBs are significant contributors to the country’s micro-business sector, with many of them relying on the WhatsApp Business App as their primary business platform.
However, the female SMBs have disclosed that the private messaging app serves as their website, storefront, and livelihood.
Here are two female SMBs who are using the WhatsApp Business App to establish secure connections with their customers, drive sales and promote their businesses growth.
Temitope Bukola, the founder of Giftbysisi, a gifting company said she started using the WhatsApp Business app when it was launched in 2018.
Bukola said her passion for creating inspired her to start a cushion (throw pillow) production and the entire business transitioned into a full-blown gifting company.
She disclosed that she has leveraged WhatsApp as the top communication channel for business transactions and built her brand as inclusive and resilient. Temitope sends relevant broadcast messages to customers informing them of upcoming sales.
“Using the features of WhatsApp Business like catalogue, quick replies, cart, broadcast, and others, I have leveraged them to track customers, deliver quality products and maintain customers’ trust. Despite the challenges faced as an SMB, which includes lack of funding, and the difficulties surrounding recruiting staff with integrity, I was able to carve a niche for myself by building and sustaining a gifting brand,” Bukola said.
For Oyeleke Oluwalana, CEO of Supertouch Exquisite Design (STED) Accessories, her love for accessories made her start the business as an undergraduate in 2017.
“To bridge the awareness gap, I started using WhatsApp to showcase my products on my status and gradually attracted customers who loved accessories. My accessories line includes fascinators, turbans & Zara caps, tiaras, and headbands, flower/lapel/brooch and bridal accessories,” Oluwalana said.
Starting the business as a science student, according to Oluwalana was challenging because she had to combine studies and business but her WhatsApp made it easy for her to get across to her suppliers and customers.
Oluwalanaalao said she has used WhatsApp to teach free and paid online training sessions for Nigerians and non-Nigerians, who want to learn about fashion accessories.
“I have shown them the benefits of starting a business in it, and for every paid training, there is a business class where vital topics such as pricing strategy, among others, are taught. At the moment, STED Accessories has trained over 80 students via WhatsApp on how to make certain accessories since 2017.”
Female SMBs are playing a critical role in the economic development of Nigeria, with many of them relying on innovative solutions like the WhatsApp Business App to break barriers to business growth. Despite facing various challenges, such as limited access to finance, education, and technology, female entrepreneurs in Nigeria are demonstrating their resilience and resourcefulness by harnessing the power of digital tools to create and expand their businesses.
According to the International Labour Organisation, Nigeria’s SMEs contribute 48 percent of the national GDP, accounting for 96 percent of businesses and 84 percent of employment.