Who knew a simple app used for chatting could change African entrepreneurial circles. All of you know what WhatsApp is, a lightweight instant messaging platform where media can be shared.The minimalistic design and low internet bandwidth usage have proven to be an asset for African entrepreneurs.
It’s unlike Facebook and other social media platforms that boast aplethora of complex features for businesses and startups. Quantum Global Group founder, Jean Claude Bastos de Morais happened to welcome this transformation through Twitter. WhatsApp can be a great addition to the small startups taking shape at Jean Claude Bastos de Morais’ Fábrica de Sabão, a startup incubator in Angola.
WhatsApp has managed to make communication cheaper for the general population of the African states as it enables calls and text messages on low data costs. As a result, it took over conventional SMSes and voice calls. Zimbabwe recorded WhatsApp to take up almost half of its internet traffic.
WhatsApp’s success in Africa has charmed startups and businesses across the continent. Its ability to reach millions of people instantly has prompted businesses to integrate this messaging app into their workflow. More than 80% of businesses in India and Brazil are reportedly using WhatsApp to take orders, keep customers updated, and receive feedback to make their product better.
Witnessing the change, WhatsApp decided to launch WhatsApp Business App to improve the business experience for both customers and businesses. Businesses have profiles that provide consumers with email, store address, website and a concise description of the services they offer. WhatsApp Business has smart messaging tools that allow quick replies to most frequently asked questions.
Messaging statistics can be reviewed in the app and it can help create business strategies. Most important of all, business accounts will be listed as the same on WhatsApp Business once the registered number matches the business number. It’s a simple process. Customers, on the other hand, won’t have to install the new app as the conventional WhatsApp can receive messages from WhatsApp and exercise full control over them. Business accounts can be blocked and reported as spam if they cause problems.
WhatsApp Business has already garnered more than 500,000 users. The numbers are steadily increasing at its services are now available in Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya.
Chris Alagboso, an Owerri-based Nigerian entrepreneur explains,“It is a nice move that WhatsApp is going all-in for small businesses even though Africa’s big companies would also jump on the WhatsApp Business train as part of their digital business outreach,”
Facebook’s forte is advertising and Twitter boasts prompt feedback. Because both of these strengths are less profitable in the market, WhatsApp’s presence has proliferated in a lot of business models. Yet, it needs to consider introducing swift payment portals and sponsorship of messages/posts that helps businesses find potential customers.
Entrepreneurs like Gina Din, Maavi Norman, and Jean Claude Bastos de Morais have been pushing innovation to transform the business ecosystem in Africa. WhatsApp’s simplicity is helping bring that transformation.
Shruti Gupta is a writer, digital marketer and outreaching expert .She writes about technology, startups & other niches. She has contributed to a number of famous websites like Thenextweb, Deccanchronicle and Crazyegg. Stay tuned with her at:@shruti_gupta01 or via Skype : shrutigupta2811