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]
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.
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.
@JesseOguns electronic gadget, Not in Lagos, will definitely use them again ‘cos items still came in in good order, with profuse apologies
— RdeNiro (@Sundancer64) July 21, 2012
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.