By Chinwendu Obienyi

Nigerian businesses can be successful and better managed if there is a cost effective way of handling transactions, reducing purchasing risk through increasing social interaction and personalization of the shopping experience via chat commerce.
This was the view of the Chief Commercial Officer, Clickatell, Hannes Van Rensburg who spoke to newsmen in Lagos recently.
Describing Nigeria as a laboratory of ideas, Van Rensburg noted that Clickatell understands emerging markets and is coming to revolutionise the narrative on chat commerce while adding that the company has the right connections that will enable companies engage in chat transactions.
He added that the company is already doing business with banks, with most of the major banks using their solution.
“The reason why e-commerce companies in Nigeria are struggling is because the population of Nigerians that browse the internet on their laptop and PC is very small. But the number of people that have a cell phone and interact with users is almost everybody and so the market for chat commerce in Nigeria is significantly bigger than the market for e-commerce.
We want Nigerians to embrace Clickatell, so I don’t think e-commerce will fail in Nigeria, but I think chat commerce will be significantly more successful because we are ready to partner and excited to work with Nigeria”, he said.
According to him, the chat application is developed in a way the consumer knows the individual on the other side.
Van Rensburg said, “It is encrypted, just like WhatsApp is encrypted end to end. The way that the authentication is done, if you get a new phone, and you want to instal a new WhatsApp application, then you have to go through authentication process. So there there is inherent security built into chat applications. So it would be more natural, it will be more secure, and people will will understand the safety.
They don’t have to think about password and where to store the password, and how many times they have to change password because it’s built into the system. We were the first company in the world that started loans chat banking on WhatsApp in the world. So Whatsapp is a long term partner for us and we have a long relationship with WhatsApp”.
The CCO thereafter assured that the company will continue to work with Nigerian banks, telecom companies while reiterating its focus on the commerce part of chat commerce.
“Our product is not a consumer product, we don’t want customers to know that, Oh, I’m interacting with Clickatell , we want to work with big brands. We want to work with all the big banks, and all the telecommunications company. Ultimately we think that our technology can be taken to every Nigerian and we will feel very privileged if we can do it with the big brands and not directly with consumers”, Van Rensburg said.