Female Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) in Nigeria are significant contributors to the country’s micro-business sector, with many of them relying on the WhatsApp Business App as their primary business platform.
For these women, the private messaging app serves as their website, storefront, and livelihood.
To this end, here Temitope Bukola, founder of Giftbysisi and Oyeleke Oluwalana, the founder of Supertouch Exquisite Design (STED) Accessories are two females who are using the WhatsApp Business App to establish and secure connections with their customers, drive sales, and promote their businesses’ growth.
The founder of Giftbysisi, a gifting company, Temitope Bukola, started using the WhatsApp Business app when it launched in 2018. Her passion for creating inspired her to start a cushion (throw pillow) production. The entire business transitioned into a full-blown gifting company.
As a SMB passionate about her business growth, Temitope sends relevant broadcast messages to customers informing them of upcoming sales. She has leveraged WhatsApp as the top communication channel for business transactions and built her brand as inclusive and resilient.
Using the features of WhatsApp Business like catalogue, quick replies, cart, broadcast, and others, Temitope has leveraged them to track her customers, deliver quality products and maintain customers’ trust. Despite the challenges faced as an SMB, which includes lack of funding, and the difficulties surrounding recruiting staff with integrity, she has been able to carve a niche for herself by building and sustaining a gifting brand.
Like Temitope, the founder of Supertouch Exquisite Design (STED) Accessories, Oyeleke Oluwalana, is a graduate of Chemistry. Her love for accessories made her start the business as an undergraduate in 2017.
To bridge the awareness gap, she started using WhatsApp to showcase her products on her status and gradually attracted customers who loved accessories. Her accessories line includes; fascinators, turbans & Zara caps, tiaras and headbands, flowers, lapels, brooches, and bridal accessories.
Starting the business as a science student was challenging because she had to combine studies and business. However, she was able to leverage WhatsApp to get across to her suppliers and customers.
Oluwalana has used WhatsApp to teach free and paid online training sessions for Nigerians and non-Nigerians, who want to learn about fashion accessories. She has shown them the benefits of starting a business in it, and for every paid training, there is a business class where vital topics such as pricing strategy, among others, are taught.
At the moment, STED Accessories had trained over 80 students via WhatsApp on how to make certain accessories since 2017.
Female SMBs are playing a critical role in the economic development of Nigeria, with many of them relying on innovative solutions like the WhatsApp Business App, among others, to break barriers to business growth.
Despite facing various challenges, such as limited access to finance, education, and technology, female entrepreneurs in Nigeria are demonstrating their resilience and resourcefulness by harnessing the power of digital tools to create and expand their businesses.
As more women enter the SMB space and utilise technology to their advantage, there is no doubt that they will continue to drive economic growth and social change in Nigeria and beyond.