Truly, crisis births new opportunities that can be taken only by smart entrepreneurs given to innovation. A Nigerian business known as ‘E Dey Shop’ has created a ‘What-commerce’ platform that helps consumers search and place orders for products ranging from petty foods to high value items.
With over 1.3 billion users, Whatsapp is one of the largest market place. The ‘What-commerce’, or broadly ‘Whatsapp-commerce’, innovation is coming at a time when social-distancing guidelines and partial lockdown make business transaction highly strenuous.
The platform uses bot to identify search queries and connect users to the location specified in the messages it receives. For instance, shoppers can send “where can I find Fufu in Agege” or “Dry Cleaner in Kano.” The bot will reply with offerings from over 200 registered E Dey Shop merchants. It will provide information obtained from the web. Shoppers can then proceed to chat with the merchant, place an order, or visit the physical store. To use the bot on WhatsApp, send hello by clicking here
For vendors, using E Dey Shop’s social commerce platform generate more leads, manage their products, customers, online store, and sales records via their mobile and web applications.
The Chief Executive Officer of ‘E Dey Shop’, Emeka Mba-Kalu, said, “Nigeria is brimming with entrepreneurial activity, both online and offline. We are making it easier for retailers to reach new customers and manage their businesses, while taking advantage of the networks, platforms, and behaviors they already know and love.”
At a time when close, physical contact is highly frown at, innovations that connect products to users is in high demand. This week popular social media firm, Facebook, launched a snap-and-shop AI feature that helps users buy, sell and search for items seamlessly across all its platforms.
According to report, the social media giant is working to make all photos and videos ‘shoppable’ across Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp. It is also developing an AI and Virtual AR lifestyle Assistant that personalizes users wardrobes by recommending items to buy.
The firm’s AI Research Scientist, Tamara Berg, revealed, “We ‘re building a system that can look at a picture of your outfit, segment each piece of clothing that you ‘re wearing, and organize them into a digital closet, allowing you to shop anything in the context of what you own”.
As internet penetrates deeply further, and smartphones become more affordable in Nigeria, Whatsapp presents another opportunity for businesses to reach a broader market locally and globally. This sounds like the best time for businesses to innovate.
Edited press release.