BalogunMarket.ng is an online marketplace that was launched so users could buy goods from Balogun Market (that’s an actual market in Lagos) without having to go through the stress of visiting the market. Few months down the line, and Olayinka and his team figured out a way to connect buyers and sellers on Whatsapp. Haggling is a major feature of commerce in Nigeria, and this new feature brought the entire experience online. Hence the term, “conversational commerce.”
First of all, this has impressed me because the idea of going to markets to get goods looks tiring to me. Walking up and down aimlessly doesn’t seem like a very nice thing to do. Anyway, let’s com back home.
BuyChat was inspired by BalogunMarket.ng, a startup founded by Olayinka Oluwakuse after an epiphany at a restaurant. According to him, “Nigerians will go online for what they know and are used to with just word-of-mouth advertising,” and that was where the idea for “conversational commerce” came from.
BuyChat is BalogunMarket.ng’s Whatsapp feature and then some. It’s a “chat-commerce app” where users will be able to buy goods from merchants in local markets, book flights and hotels, order food from local restaurants (or bukas, if you want to call them that), and even connect with brands. Just like with BalogunMarket.ng, BuyChat’s payment and delivery partners are SimplePay and Delivery.ng respectively.
The plan is to expand to other cities in Africa and the BuyChat team has received angel investment from Lagos-based private investment firm, Niche Capital to set the wheels in motion.
Please note that private beta testing will begin on October 1, 2016 (public beta doesn’t start until October 15).
According to Olayinka Oluwakuse, Founder of Balogunmarket.ng, and CEO of Buyoverchat Technologies Limited, a company interested in revolutionising how e-commerce is played out in Africa based on City Market clusters using the ” chat, haggle, pay directly in chat” business model, BUYOVERCHAT TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED was started based on the idea that e-commerce was not being done by the Majors in the segment the right way, putting into consideration the African culture and way of buying and selling.
“We did not want to do the ” copy and paste” Amazon model in our operations.The retailers who already have an amazing inventory in stock wanted to be in the middle of the conversation during transactions. Although brick and mortar shops still do 95% of commerce in Nigeria ,they have awakened to the fact that online shopping is real and have informed us about their reservation for the ” Third Party Marketplace ” model being used by big e-commerce companies in Nigeria.
This is a nice upgrade by BuyOverChat ltd, I am patiently waiting to test the app.