In October 2021, many Nigerian and global users of the meta platforms, that is, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were on a hold following a major outage affecting all three communication apps. This experience left many Nigerians off social communication for hours. According to Meta, the parent company of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, it stated that the outage was as a result of a configuration change to its routers.

On tuesday the 25th of October, 2022, WhatsApp was down affecting billions of its users. This occurrence was noticed during 9AM WAT, leading to many questions in regards to it being down. Nigerians alongside the global community all reacted to the news of the social media app being down. Although there was no official statement towards the sudden outage of the mobile app, it is suspected to have another configuration change to its routers.

The Effect of This on Nigerian Vendors

WhatsApp has played a huge role in contributing to the growth of SMEs in Nigeria. With the mobile app, users can customize their business profiles, showcase products and auto-reply messages to their customers. Also, the chatbot engages customers in conversation in the absence of the user and they provide an interface between a consumer and a business. The platform provided an easy to use methodology towards building audience reach and a customer directory.

Users of the mobile app enjoyed the built-up trust between them and their customers, as the time progressed. This converted to boosted sales, as conversions rose up to 112% with WhatsApp marketing.

Although the business mechanics to WhatsApp is encouraging, the outage of the mobile app is not so good for small and medium businesses which contribute to the ecosystem as online vendors. In a chat with Xplicit Mode, Tessy Terwase – an online vendor noted that the outage of the app is unfavourable to her business. She added that, despite there being alternatives such as Facebook and Instagram, they are both owned by Meta and are not fully trustworthy.

“I am an online vendor and WhatsApp being down is going to affect my business because most of my customers and sales are made on the app. The only good thing is that I have Facebook and Instagram, but since they’re both linked together, how sure are we that they wouldn’t be down as well”, she told Xplicit Mode.

Just like Tessy, many Nigerian online vendors depend on meta apps for the furtherance of their business reach, leaning towards the goal to succeed optimizing these apps. It is sometimes hard on businesses when a tool fails especially at the moment of dirge need. It leads to a standstill or a missed opportunity as parties on the other end consider the vendor as less serious and unprofessional.

What is The Way Out?

We’re often told that, “Just like humans, all these machines and apps falter”, which is quite true but should Nigerian businesses, online vendors and retailers completely depend solely on meta apps for their businesses? The answer is No.

Many businesses today thrive as a result of social media and it is best to properly seek out tools that fit into their business plan, converting those to more sales. For instance, a website could come in handy in today’s world as many individuals now shop online.

Also, other social media platforms could be properly looked into and studied, honing its potential for a global reach. These platforms would be reported in our subsequent reports, giving you more insights as regards what to work with in the 21st century digital marketplace.

So, instead of thinking outside the box, why not paint the box to a colourful idea that can be designed and used to fit into many purposes.