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My Experience With Kasuwa – Jesse Oguns

We do not have the luxury of an e-commerce website in Nigeria that offers a wide range of products. Yeah! DealDey has offered some exciting deals and I remember recommending the Vantium Power Capsule to someone who has turned out to be a happy user. There’s also Taafoo that sells clothes, shoes and some accessories.

Thus, the reason why I was very excited when I saw the service that Kasuwa was going to offer. I did an interview with the head of marketing, Neils Vugteveen, and even got more excited.

I got excited because I’ve been looking for a place where I can easily check for prices of gadgets and books and order for them online with ease. That kind of service is very rare in Nigeria as many of us do not have pay cards that are accepted globally and some of those stores like eBay and Amazon will not ship to Nigeria.

Kasuwa isn’t the first Nigerian online store, but they caught my attention because they sell gadgets – phones, tablets, cameras, et al, and offer delivery services across Nigeria for free – at least for now. One could easily get gadgets that are not even available in Nigeria yet like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus from Google. Perhaps the most appealing offer was the option to pay on delivery. I felt it was a joke. So, I decided to try it.

There’s been this book that I’ve heard a lot of folks rave about, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. I decided to order for it. I placed my order two days before I interviewed the Head of Marketing at Kasuwa, and I was eagerly looking forward to share my experience with readers. [See the end of the article]

My ordeal

I placed the order on the 25th of June (about a month ago) and got a confirmation by telephone on the second day that they have received my order and were going to call me on the day they are bringing it, not more than 5 working days. Five working days came and went and nothing from them.

While still waiting, I called their customer care number, one MTN number on their website, but kept getting voice mail. I decided to mail customer care. I got an automated response that my message has been received and it will be attended to. Two to three days later, I got an email from Kasuwa asking me to confirm my order number. This is where it gets tough. I did not copy the order number out when I ordered. I went back to my account section on the Kasuwa portal and expected to see my order requests history and order number. The shocking thing is, the system says I have no pending order or I’ve not placed an order.

Remember that they called me on the second day that they have received my order. The question is: how come their system couldn’t keep my record for me? It’s hard and painful if I have to be the one copying and keeping record of my order when they could have easily automated it.

Since I was determined to get the order, I went on to Kasuwa, sign in to my account and placed the order again. This is two weeks after my initial order. I placed the second order on the 9th of July, 2012 and started another wait. This time around, I got a call on the same day, 10 minutes after I placed the order, that they have seen it and will process it and call me when they are set to bring it within 5 to 7 working days.

More waiting

One week passed and nothing. I tweeted at them and they asked for my order number again. This time, I have copied out the order number and sent it as an email to myself. [I believe they should fix this aspect and ensure that my order details can be saved in my account section on their portal. It should be easy to do]. I sent it to them and they promised that they were going to get the order across to me. At this stage, their promises were no longer holding water and I just wanted to prove a case:  Is pay-on-delivery going to work?

My invoice was eventually issued on the 17th of July, which is exactly two weeks after I placed the order.

What happened within the two weeks before the order was processed and the invoice issued? Could it be that they did not have it in stock and couldn’t tell me? Did they get so clumsy that they missed my order?

My Order is Here?

Finally, I got a call from the dispatch on Wednesday this week that he was bringing my order. I was on my way out and told him to bring it on Thursday. Thursday became a day of drama. The dispatch came with my invoice only, but the order was absent. He said a few things that made me assume he took the shift from another dispatch rider and there was a mix up somewhere.

If you read through my experience, you will agree that I’ve been patient with them. I couldn’t wait for him on Friday. So, I left the cash with my neighbour and asked my neighbour to pick my order on my behalf. Finally I got the order when I returned last night.

Questions and Verdict on Kasuwa

There are lots of questions begging for answers here. Why did they treat me like this? Could it be that they do not have structured system to handle the service as they have advertised it? Are demands more than what they have? Am I just being evil saying all these things? Maybe the experience is exclusive. Possibly other people have had a more exciting experience.

I reached out on Twitter and a user shared his experience. He lives in Borno State. That is north of Nigeria. He ordered for an Electronic gadget. He paid with a GTBank card and was promised five days. He told me he got his order two weeks after with a lot of apology. He was happy nonetheless considering he’s staying in far away north.

In my own case, will I ever place an order from Kasuwa after being treated this way? Yes. The reason is that it is more convenient to shop online and pay on delivery for me as long as I am not in a hurry. If I am in a hurry, I will go to the market.

They have a list of items that I can easily look around for and confirm the availability, thereby saving myself lots of time and energy. You know how much time and energy you’d expend if you were to go to the market to start looking around and then finding out that what you wanted to buy is not available. I can easily know the price on Kasuwa and be prepared to spend that much or less.

What I will not do is hand them my money in advance. They will have to earn my confidence before I can hand them my money in advance. The system of handling customer requests at Kasuwa is broken and it needs to be fixed. If they fix it and they make it run effectively, delivering on their promises, the good testimony of new customers is enough to bring in more customers to them.

I want them to succeed because I like buying online. Assuming they have the Nexus 7 available and have excellent service, I would have ordered from them instead of going through a friend in the UK and waiting till the end of August before I will take delivery of my Nexus 7.

I will like you to share with me in the comments if you have tried to place an order with Kasuwa and tell me how it went.

  • http://justemmagine.blogspot.com Emmanuel Olalere

    I’ll surely wait to hear more experiences from other people before i order something from them maybe the Nexus 7.

    • Walcolm

      you really don’t need to wait. if they have something you want, go ahead and buy from them. the order might come late but it most likely will come

      if that same item is available at a brick and mortar shop near you sha, it will be better for you to just collect it off the shelf because Jumia will not deliver your item on time

  • http://www.facebook.com/andyameh andy

    What a bad way to start with you. When I first saw them on-line I was very very happy especially with their prices (except for their iPod).
    If only this pay after delivery is applicable to every state (i called them and they said it is only for those in Lagos Abuja and PH), I will wait for them even if it takes them 1 or 2 months. i am looking forward to the day they will start the pay after delivery in the remaining cities and they can count on me as one of their potential customer.
    if I may ask, since it is an on-line store, does it mean if one is in lag he cant go there to pay and pick?
    i will call this a bitter sweet because you were able to write this article because you went through all this wahala with them. Kasuwa pls try to improve your service , I hope they have time to read this article.

  • Abiodun

    @Jesse: Well, in the light of your own ordeal perhaps my experience is a bit unique. I live in Ife and I tried out kasuwa recently, just like you did, although I did not eventually pay for the order because I simply wanted to see how efficient the ordering system was. When I was making my order the pay-on-delivery service was not available to me, most likely because I live outside Lagos. However, I was able to locate my order in my account and it’s there until now. What worries me is the fact that it seems impossible to cancel an order, once you make it you’re stuck with it – and God bless you if you select pay on delivery. Then you will either have to call them to cancel – which, going by your experience might not work well – or you simply have the item turn up at your doorstep someday and have to pay for it! In my case that was not a problem because I was compelled to opt to pay by bank deposit and as long as I don’t pay, I don’t really care what happens to the order in my account. In the end, my opinion is that kasuwa needs to get some of the basics right before they parade themselves as ‘No. 1 online retailer in Nigeria’. No doubt they’re offering Nigerians a massive option but on what basis would they claim to be better than competitors (e.g. buynownow.com, which I have not personally tested out anyway). And, by the way, why did they choose to mirror the Amazon concept of a webpage. Some creativity would help.

  • Raphael

    Hello Jesse, we acknowledge the experience you had and we appreciate your taking the time to write this constructive feedback.

    Let me speak to one of the issues you raised – that of the order versus invoice dates. A bit of context will help. Some of our stock is sourced from local suppliers. Others, like our books, we bring in from international suppliers. We believe Nigerians reading needs far exceed what is available on the market locally so our aim is to gradually grow our portfolio of books to 4million titles. We have already acquired the relevant licenses. Since it is not feasible to physically stock 4million titles in a warehouse, we are building a just-in-time supply chain to enable us bring these books into the country immediately customers request for them.

    The invoice you received is from us – Kasuwa.com, not our international supplier. The invoice date is the date we issued you an invoice for the product. The time between the date you placed your order and the invoice date is the time it took for the book to get into Nigeria. It should normally be 3 days. In this case a delay at the airport caused cargos to be held up for about a week leading to the longer delivery time.

    To try to answer each of the pertinent questions you raised will be to write a litany of explanations & excuses. The fact is we have had various challenges and we have put and continue to put measures and structures in place to ensure that our customers get world-class experience with us nonetheless.

    Here are a few of the things we have done (over the last 4 weeks) to ensure an experience like yours is not repeated:

    • Within the 4 weeks that we have had the book category up, we have gained intelligence on what Nigerians are reading so we are now stocking the most popular items upfront to create a buffer to enable us deliver to our promise.

    • We have since grown our organization from the 20 people with 2 customer service agents to 60 people with 10 customer service agents to handle the large demand for our services. We expect to grow even further in the next few weeks.

    • The MTN number has been replaced by a fixed line (012 77 88 99) underpinned by a dedicated fiber optic internet line with E1 technology to enable up to 40 Customer Service agents to answer your call.

    • We are currently actively recruiting more Customer Service agents & Logistics professionals to handle the growth we expect going forward. In case your readers are interested, CVs can be emailed to careers@kasuwa.com

    • We have changed the delivery promise for our internationally supplied inventory, including books to ‘delivery within 7-10 working days’ to reflect the realities on the ground and accommodate for various things that can introduce delays into the fulfillment process.

    • Internally, we have implemented a new order management system to ensure your order goes through in a shorter time and we are able to serve you better.

    We are grateful that you gave us a try and that you are willing to use us again. I assure you that your experience if you try us today will be significantly better than the last.

    Kasuwa.com is a 7 weeks old company and we have room for improvement. We however remain fully focused on building a best-of-breed company to provide Nigerians with an excellent retail experience so every feedback is an opportunity for us to improve. We remain committed to building Nigeria’s #1 online retailer.

    Thank you for choosing Kasuwa.com and keep up the good work.

    Thank you & kind regards,

    Raphael
    Kasuwa.com

  • http://deolaclinic.com Deoladoctor

    When I first saw their adverts on my website via google Adsense I was so excited. I felt Amazon or eBay equivalent has finally arrived our shores. But with the kind of experience had by Jesse, I start having my doubts. Are we cursed with inefficiency in this country? Must good ideas always be killed by poor implementation? Let’s just take Raphael (above) from the company, for his words and believe things are getting better. The fact that Kasuwa is 7 weeks only should not be an excuse for inefficiency. when you advertise online, you better deliver on your promises or you go down just as fast as you came up.

    Kasuwa brings hope of a better thing in Nigeria, so I wish them success and bright future.

  • http://www.ogbongeblog.com Jide Ogunsanya

    As for me, after paying for Hp Deskjet 3050A and waiting for it to be delivered after 1 week, I was surprised when I called them and was told they don’t have it in stock. Just wondering why that was not indicated on the site before I paid.

    Well, my money was refunded after some days. I will still do business with them though. just hoping they improve on their services.

  • Walcolm

    Jesse’s experience is definitely not unique although it is not so unusual especially when a company is starting up.

    i have placed orders (note the plural) with Kasuwa and the first time, the delivery was delayed and not fully delivered at the first attempt even though i paid immediately and got all the email assurances that my order was being processed. i had to make several calls to customer care for them to eventually deliver my order and more calls to fix the quantity mix up. i was compensated for the inconvenience with a related product in fairness to them but the damage was already done.

    the second time, i wanted to try out the pay on delivery method and the order never came. after a week i inquired from customer service and was told my order was cancelled at my request despite not having contacted them at all. after they verified i did not give any such cancellation directives, i was told to place the order again but i was pissed off enough to not even bother with it.

    i have now placed a 3rd order and expecting delivery as at the time of making this post. the delivery is supposed to happen today and i hope Kasuwa now renamed Jumia will not disappoint a 3rd time

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