Sometime in march an unfortunate incident happened, a Jumia delivery man was beaten to death by some rogues sent from the depths of hell to dispose the man off what he had been ordered to deliver. After that incident, Jumia temparily placed a ban on all pay-on-deliveries. A few customers of the ecommerce industry cried foul and insisted that Jumia bring back pay-on-delivery. Well… I’m not sure if any of those guys reflected for a minute on the the delivery man who was killed in Port Harcourt.
I’ve really thought it over, and I’ve come to the conclusion that on a general scale, pay-on-delivery is barely working in Nigeria. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking at Konga and Jumia alone, those are big names in a booming industry, I’m also looking at smaller online retailers who are forced to include pay on delivery in their service. These guys face a lot of challenges, take a lot of risks just to get the job done, for gains I consider to be meager. This is a country where traffic agents and law enforcement persons can just seize goods, vehicles and even drivers, hauling them off the streets and only releasing them after they have extorted as much money as they can.
What about security risks involved in charting routes to delivery points located inside villages. Just like the Jumia deliver man who was killed, such news could spark a chain of hoodlum-inspired activities targeted at delivery men. And remember that these delivery men have to run on very bad roads(98% of all cases), face risks of auto accidents and even kidnapping.
And then comes the problem of customer stupidity
Nigerians can be nasty in their attitude some times. And this can be very frustrating. Especially for delivery men. These are the kind of scenarios you’ll find in 7 out of 10 PODs.
I did not place such an order
It can be very annoying when a dude or some nonchalant lady hanging on the arm of her male friend tells you that. For heavens sake you made an order with your phone, you were called before the delivery and you gave a ‘yes’. And now all you can give is a trashy excuse.
Not picking up calls
For some cowards who want to avoid a meeting with the delivery man, once they pick up a call and the voice introduces himself as a delivery man, they drop the call and stop picking up calls from unknown numbers. And just like that. Some go ahead to stop picking up calls from unknown numbers for the whole month. I write from what I’ve seen.
I haven’t received my salary
Oh! So you know your salary would be paid by the end of the month and you made an order that would take four days before delivery, on the first week of the month. I don’t know what to call you… Seriously.
Ordering same items
Some people go ahead to order items of the same type. For example a silly lady may just decide to order two phones of the same model but different colors. And then on delivery the person will open the two boxes and choose one color. A Konga delivery guy who is my friend was recently telling me how a full grown young man did something similar, even insisting on opening the box marked with seals. And then he asked the questions; What will happen after you have rejected the product after opening the seal? “Are we expected to take the product back to the manufacturers for a new seal?”.
Some deliberately order the wrong product, because somewhere in their mind they think the product will suit them. For example, someone may order a particular color of shirt like blue. And then when it is delivered, you will hear stories like ” I though the blue was a lighter shade. I didn’t know it was navy blue”. Or if it is a pair of shoes: “I wear size 45 but I didnt find it, so I ordered size 43, I thought the 43 will be big”. And somewhere, I am so speechless…shaking my head.
Nigerians are impulsive buyers. A Nigerian can go online, see an ongoing promo for a product and out of excitement make an order. Fast forward to the next day, he or she doesn’t want the product or the promo benefits again, and wouldn’t even bother to cancel the order.
All these problems wouldn’t arise if customers were made to pay as they are placing their orders. I’m not saying that pay on delivery is bad, but what works in the US and Europe is not guaranteed to work in Nigeria. Yes, Nigeria is leaping forward(small leaps anyway) in tech and internet innovations, but pay-on-delivery is a premature step. Consider the resources that would be wasted when a POD fails. What it costs to return the product and ship another. What about the headache of fixing up sealed products that have been opened? Many customers don’t even understand that it costs money to move a product. And your delivery fee doesn’t cover the expenses incurred when the product is returned.
Again, I’m not saying that pay on delivery is bad… There are advantages to it, for the customer at least. For example, you’re paying for what you get right after you have certified it as the choice you ordered. But scrapping pay on delivery is the best option. If a customer is dissatisfied with the product, no qualms, a refund will be processed. But the customer will be charged delivery fees atleast.
I speak for the growth of Ecommerce in Nigeria. I’m waiting for your comments!
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