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Flutterwave's Newly Launched Store: Could WhatsApp Be Next?

What I would do if I am WhatsApp's Product Manager...

At a time that young enterprising Nigerians have turned WhatsApp; specifically WhatsApp status into a super store - Nigeria's Fintech darling, Flutterwave,  has launched Flutterwave Store, an online portal that lets merchants sell online by creating digital shops. A service similar to Shopify and WooCommerce.

Announcing the new service, the company's blog described the services as follows:

Flutterwave Store is quite simply the best and easiest way to launch and manage an e-commerce business that accepts payments from anywhere in the world without creating a website, knowing how to code etc.

Flutterwave Store allows you to upload products, set prices and (in some markets) have our integrated delivery partners pick up when you have an order and deliver to your customer. “Buy Online, Pickup Curbside” store if you like.

Flutterwave Store

This comes on the heels of the launch of WhatsApp Payment in Brazil. Prior to WhatsApp payment; WhatsApp business was launched. One of Africa's leading financial services consultant; Richard Ketley, describes the Google's product development style as building a Toyota and making a Porsche out of it. This could be WhatsApp's product strategy.

Facebook acquired WhatsApp as a basic messaging service (a Toyota), and they are gradually turning it into a sophisticated product (a Porsche). Over the last six years, they have added  WhatsApp Business and most recently WhatsApp Payment.

If I am WhatsApp's product manager, I will add a feature called WhatsApp Store which will essentially be an add-on to WhatsApp Business, allowing business users sell online on WhatsApp by creating digital shops in their WhatsApp business account. On the side of the general consumer, they can chat a business owner, tap on his/her store, view products, select products and pay with WhatsApp payment; all without leaving WhatsApp.

WhatsApp Payment

In today's digital economy, businesses are transitioning to social media to conduct most of their business activities. Social has become the new-normal and people are bound to search for products and services on social media, originate business and pay for goods and services all on social media. Therefore, this is a market opportunity for Facebook to implement an interconnected store across WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram.

This will be detrimental to Flutterwave's effort to create an online-only store but WhatsApp is likely to use the Flutterwave gateway to enable WhatsApp payment to work in Nigeria and rest of Africa.