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WhatsApp: The New Marketplace



Tobi Adebayo 

WhatsApp, a cross-platform messaging application owned by Facebook, has been catering to the needs of small businesses, by providing a market to numerous sellers of different products through its status update mechanism.

Speaking to, a fashion accessories vendor, Gold Olatunji said that the platform is easier to carry out transactions quickly and efficiently.

“I make sales by displaying my wares on my status updates, mostly from my contacts and their referrals. There’s more integrity in selling via WhatsApp because the buyer can request a video call to see what they want to purchase.

“People now tend to trust WhatsApp sales transactions more than Instagram and Facebook. Your contacts know who they are buying from and their referrals can easily hold them responsible for any transaction gone wrong,” Gold said.

Another seller simply identified as Mutiat said that she showcases her products across different social media platforms but still end up carrying out final transactions via WhatsApp.

“Facebook and Instagram sometimes mess with users’ algorithms which may not allow much visibility, unless one does a sponsored post. This is why WhatsApp is better for marketing your business because your contact may know someone who is in need of a product you sell and the chain goes on like that.

“People are now even making money from advertising for others on WhatsApp. If you have a large number of active contacts, you can run sponsored posts for sellers. It’s lucrative so long the sellers get value for the adverts they paid for,” she said.

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A buyer identified as Samuel said “although there is the ease that comes with buying on WhatsApp, many sellers advertise something and deliver something else.”

“I once ordered a shirt I saw on my former course mate’s status update. She said it was N6000 minus delivery fee and I agreed. Only for her to deliver something totally different from what I ordered, a very ugly shirt. I thought that nonsense only happens on Facebook and Instagram.

“I was mad and I vowed never to buy from her again. I had to give the shirt out to someone. She still had the guts to pester me for the delivery fee after I complained to her. My experience does not mean that Whatsapp sellers are the same. She’s the one who would be affected because I will not refer anyone to buy from her,” he said.

Another buyer, Gbemi said that WhatsApp sellers are synonymous to “ridiculously high prices.”

“For people who aren’t paying taxes or shop rent, they sure put seriously high price tags on products. It’s usually those ones that complain that their friends do not support their businesses. How can you buy something for N4000 and sell for N8000?

“That’s unfair on buyers because some of us frequent Balogun and Yaba markets. We know how much these products go for but to support small businesses, we buy from them. They need to really calm down with those prices. It will only chase customers away,” Gbemi said.

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