How to Launch a Business on WhatsApp

February 10, 2024

If you’re building a product or business that might benefit from selling directly on social media, this week’s podcast is for you. We caught up with Danielle Laity and Dean Pienaar at payments startup WigWag to tell us about what it takes to launch, grow and get paid via socials.

The highlights

1. WhatsApp is now a massive marketplace

As Daniele explains here, WhatsApp is extremely popular, with 96% of SA internet users being on WhatsApp, its 21m user base in 2022 is expected to grow to 26m users by 2026.

And the community feature really unlocked the ability for people to create dedicated spaces around a common interest – from secondhand baby clothes or luxury goods sales to job postings.

You might see actual buying and selling going on in these groups, but some of them have grown so huge that even they themselves are starting to charge membership fees and effectively becoming businesses.

2. Solving the payments problem

As mentioned here, handling payments has always been a pain point with these social communities. EFT and cards always have a major trust barrier on socials, and cash is often a big risk for people.

So what WigWag, who is part of payments innovator Stitch, did was to build a super-sleek payments interface, where the seller can push people through to a branded dedicated instance, with their logo and everything to process payments safely.

3. Beyond the solopreneur

What’s interesting is, as Danielle mentions here, that it’s not just small-scale and solos jumping on this tech. Service businesses can easily run their payments through the platform, and even restaurants that want to do their own deliveries and not pay exorbitant app fees and commissions use WigWag to process mobile orders and payments.

They even have an Internet Service Provider who runs all their monthly service billing via the platform. A simple script runs through their customer list and sends each customer a WhatsApp with the payment link. And that’s how they collect their cash every month.