If you frequent the popular Balogun market – or any Nigerian market at all – this start-up and the brain behind it will excite you. The start-up kick-started with the aim of de-congesting the market and making the shopping of technological gadgets easier, an initiative that is most commendable.
The Nigerian start-up, Buy Chat, launched its commerce-enabled chat app on October 1, 2016, the app connects traders with customers and allows for purchases to be made digitally.
BuyChat helps users discover, chat and haggle with traders in the various markets in Lagos, pay for goods within the app and have them delivered to their homes.
The app uses the user’s location to match them with traders in their city while viewing inventory.
BuyChat is the result of a product experiment called Balogun Market, an online marketplace that was launched so people could buy goods from the market without having to go through the stress of visiting the market.
The Balogun Market test provided the blueprint for the launch of BuyChat – connecting buyers and sellers on Whatsapp. BuyChat is BalogunMarket.ng’s expanded Whatsapp feature.
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 continue piloting the idea.