By Ayomide Oriade
E-commerce is still in its infancy in Nigeria and Africa in general. Despite this, many would agree that a lot of progress has been made in the industry. What we have today is a big leap to what obtained twelve years ago. More consumers are onboarding the e-commerce train. The hardest skeptics are beginning to have a taste of what online shopping entails.
Urban centers are gradually becoming a beehive of e-commerce activities, as the majority of small businesses now showcase their wares online. Several logistics brands are springing up to meet the delivery demands of sellers and customers. Hardly would you ply major roads in states like Lagos, Rivers and Abuja, without coming across a delivery van or motorcycle. Their presence is an indication of e-commerce momentum in the country.
More important is the improvement on service delivery by the industry players. The early days of online shopping was fraught with complaints. Late delivery of orders, wrong items and payment itches were prevalent at the time. Though these issues are still being experienced at intervals, it is fair to say that online platforms have put in effort to reduce such occurrences.
And in cases where this happens, measures are in place for a speedy refund process. These efforts are also being appreciated by customers. “I have been using Jumia for like six years now and my experience with Jumia has been nice. Even when I returned my order, I got my refund back less than the time they gave me. Even on their JumiaPay wallet, which you have to pay online before you get your order, I have had a very good experience with them,” said Ogechi Celestine, a Civil Servant resident in Rivers State.
Another interesting way e-commerce brands are improving service delivery and customer experience is pick up stations. With a station close by, a customer can walk in and pick his item. It takes e-commerce closer to rural residents and further eases the deal for urban dwellers. “Today is my first time coming to their pickup station to pick my order. I give kudos to Jumia and the team. They should keep it up,” Celestine added. The initiative is not only taking the service closer to customers, but also having ripple impact on small businesses
Though the e-commerce industry still has a lot to improve on, the work being put in by the major industry players gives hope of a good future for e-commerce services in Nigeria.
*Ayomide Oriade writes from Content & Media Management, PR Redline