It is no longer news that the use of social media in Nigeria and Africa as a whole is at its peak. This extensive social media usage has changed the face of e-commerce, with social commerce being the new trend. Social commerce is a subset of e-commerce in which social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhatsApp are used to buy and sell products and services, promoting a clearer and more direct interaction between customer and business.
Although most entrepreneurs embrace this form of trading of goods and services, the platform execution has not provided the best experience for users. This is why Catlog, a WhatsApp-based social commerce startup, aims to change the face of the industry.
The startup, based in Lagos, launched in November 2021 and provides a platform in which vendors and interested customers come together to carry out trades for goods and services. The platform allows vendors to create a flexible online store, add their products and get a direct link shared on WhatsApp. Through the link, potential customers can access various items and browse through them. If these customers are interested in any item, they click on a button that directly alerts the vendor, and the chat and negotiations begin.
Silas Adedoyin and Segun Oladiran, who are co-founders of Catlog, in an interview with TechCabal, stated that they started the company as a side project years back with the struggle of buying a sneaker online being the primary source of inspiration.
“Say I want to buy new sneakers. First, I have to check Twitter with keywords to find sellers.” Adedoyin says to TechCabal. “After this, I reach out to find out the brands and sizes available. This interaction usually involves a lot of back and forth, sharing of images and I might end up ghosting sellers, either because they don’t have what I like or their pricing doesn’t work for me. The whole process is a chore.”
Adedoyin reiterated the importance of social commerce to be distinct from other types of e-commerce, with a much easier and seamless approach to trading than platforms like Jumia and Konga.
“Social commerce is called that for a reason. It has to be social,” Adedoyin says. “If people won’t buy from Jumia, they won’t do that from some random sellers’ website. It’s simply not fun filling out a long-form just to place an order. So from the start, our approach to solving this problem has been different – we’re building around the platforms sellers use already instead of trying to take them out to a totally different world.”
Catlog promises a great customer experience for its users and aims to make social commerce easier and more seamless for the customers and the online vendors.