BuyChat is a child of BalogunMarket.ng, the startup that lets users purchase goods from trader at the legendary Balogun Market in Lagos.
The people at BalogunMarket.ng are working on an app that will make it easier for users to buy goods from merchants through chat. They have named it BuyChat and they will start the private beta tests on October 1, 2016 (public beta starts on October 15).
(Photo Credit: techcabal)
According to Olayinka Oluwakuse, CEO of BalogunMarket.ng, “Nigerians will go online for what they know and are used to with just word-of-mouth advertising,” and that is where the idea of “conversational commerce” found root.
BalogunMarket.ng is an online marketplace which was launched to give users access to buy goods from Balogun Market (the same one you know in Lagos Island) without having to brave the hot Lagos sun and trek many kilometers in the market.
Few months after launch, the BalogunMarket team already figured out a way to link customers with buyers on WhatsApp. Pricing market is a staple of commerce in Nigeria, and this new feature brought the entire experience online – hence the phrase “conversational commerce.”
BuyChat is basically BalogunMarket’s WhatsApp feature with more icing. You will be able to buy goods from merchants in local markets, book flights and hotels, order food from local restaurants (or buka, like you probably call them), and even connect with brands as well.
Like with BalogunMarket.ng, SimplePay and Delivery.ng will be BuyChat’s payment and delivery partners respectively.
The team plans to expand to other cities in Africa and they have already received angel investment from Lagos-based private investment capital, Niche Capital to push the flight off the runway.