So I’m very lazy when it comes to shopping. (The husband would disagree but it’s true. Lol.) I love shopping online. It’s so…precise. I want x, I google whether someone sells it online in Nigeria, I make it happen.
Clothes, I’ll google. Beauty products, I’ll google. Food items, Google! Even if they don’t sell online, simply confirming that they have what I want is enough for me. So if their Facebook page has a contact number, I’ll call first before I make the journey to their shop.
That said, a few weeks ago, I had a bad experience. I needed an outfit urgently for an event happening a week later in Lagos. I wasn’t in Lagos, and my usual tailor is the kind that simply cannot meet a deadline so tight. I needed someone to buy fabric of a particular hue and then sew it based on my measurements. I turned to the internet, specifically to Instagram. I have a few friends who make outfits often so I reached out to a vendor one of them had tagged in one of her posts. The vendor claimed to be able to deliver “express” services.
Our initial contact was friendly. We chatted on Whatsapp and I told her what I wanted, and when I wanted it. She gave me the impression that one week was even too long. She could deliver way before then. I was pleased. We finalized payment terms (70% upfront, 30% on delivery). I did the bank transfer.
The first red light was the fact that this vendor maintained radio silence all of that week. After I did the transfer, I sent her a screenshot. I had to prompt her 8 hours later before she confirmed that she had gotten the money. I was due to arrive in Lagos on Friday; the event was on Saturday. On Wednesday, I nudged her to ask if we were on track for a Friday delivery. She didn’t respond. On Friday morning, she asked for my home address. I gave her. Friday evening, no delivery, no word yet. I called her. She assured me that the delivery person was on 3rd Mainland Bridge and on her way to my house. She said there was traffic. I believed her. Two hours later, I was about to leave home for Afropolitan Vibes. I called her, asking for the delivery person’s number so I could track my clothes. She gave me the number, and then said that she lived close to me so even if I had to leave home, I didn’t need to worry. She would receive my clothes and then send them in a taxi as soon as I was back home, or first thing the following morning.
The number she gave me was switched off. I returned home at about 11. No phone call, no message, no clothes. Most telling, no apology.
Saturday morning, I called. She wouldn’t pick my calls. I sent her a message expressing my disappointment about being treated so shabbily. The delivery person eventually showed up at past 2. I was already dressed for the event and I was literally on my way out. I took it from her without a word and put it in my car. I felt really bad because this vendor boasted regularly on her Instagram page on how she met overnight delivery deadlines for some of her favorite customers. All I’d ordered was an iro and buba, nothing complicated. I felt like I wasn’t important enough, or my order expensive enough to warrant quality service. Or an apology. Or the truth. Obviously, the delivery person hadn’t been on 3rd Mainland Bridge the night before.
“I’m going to return the order,” I told my husband. “I want a refund.”
I sent the vendor a message asking for a refund. Remember, I still owed her 30% that should have been paid on delivery. She didn’t respond. It’s been 2 weeks now, the outfit is still in its package (I haven’t worn it) and she hasn’t said a thing. No refund, no apology. She’s lost a customer and she doesn’t care much obviously. She also doesn’t mind losing her 30% too. It’s a marvel, really. Lol.
Anyhow, thankfully, this particular case is an isolated one. I’ve had some good experiences with internet commerce in the past so I thought I’d share a few of my favorite vendors below. 🙂
My Food Warehouse: I use this site for ordering foodstuff in a pinch, and when I don’t want to have to go to the market. Like, I want to cook for only one week because I’m planning a major trip to Oyingbo market later in the month. They are prompt, their food items are fresh and reasonably-priced (compared to the stress of going to the market for a kilo of tomatoes) and I think their customer care is above par, by Nigerian standards. Once, the deliveryman came to my house and the POS terminal wouldn’t print a receipt even though I’d been debited. He was perfectly okay with me confirming with the bank, and doing a bank transfer to them much later, if necessary. Additionally, they call you after you place your order to confirm the items and quantities you want and you can change your order at any item before they dispatch by calling them.
Natural Nigerian: I’ve only ordered online from this store a few times. Mostly, I buy their products when I’m at one of their natural hair meet-ups. But they go the extra mile to ensure products ordered online are delivered when you want, where you want.
Olori.com.ng: These guys are also stellar for product delivery. Once, I ordered some conditioners but they delivered the wrong size. I brought it to the attention of the delivery man and he took the bottle back and returned with the right one that very day.
Anywork Services: This crew provides housekeeping services that are quite honestly, a lifesaver for me. I don’t like housework much (except cooking). So I do the basics and then get these guys to do the heavy stuff: deep cleaning, scrubbing of bathrooms etc. They have different packages to suit different needs. I think they’re reasonably priced and a preferred alternative to having a live-in maid.
So which Nigerian-based internet vendors have you used? What was your experience like? Does anyone know if Shoprite/Spar will ever start standing orders+home delivery any time in the future?! Do we need to start an online petition before they do something so simple and obvious? Help me! Lol.