Google last week launched a new social media service called Shoelace on its Area 120 experimental projects platform. Shoelace aims to keep users “in…
They both claim to be the largest ecommerce platform in Nigeria and Africa — even though they won’t make their sales figures publicly available so it could be made easier for those who are interested in comparing their services to do so. This means the only thing that can be legally done is to determine which of them offers the best service delivery.
And since no one else would do it, I decided to order stuff from both platforms and compared the experience. To really get an accurate result, it would make more sense to order from outside Lagos since both Jumia and Konga have lots of logistics in place in the city. As a matter of fact, they have more pick-up points and vehicles (and motorcycles) and other logistical structures in Lagos than anywhere else in the country. So I decided to order from Ibadan, a historic Nigerian city that is about 120 kilometers away from Lagos.
Coincidentally they both delivered after two working days, which was a great improvement considering the fact that about one year ago, orders made outside Lagos often took at least five working days before they were delivered.
Likewise, there used to be restrictions to the Cash on Delivery service — which saw customers paying for the products at the point of delivery — offered by both platforms. The offer started in Lagos, but has gradually extended to other parts of the country.
While speaking last year at an event in Nigeria’s ecommerce nerve centre, Sim Shagaya — the founder of Konga — said the company had to go beyond operating as an ecommerce platform. According to him, Konga had to develop logistic framework to ensure prompt delivery of ordered products nationwide … which explains the creation of Konga Express, making the company less reliant on logistics companies such as DHL.
Minor Things That Truly Matter
On the surface, there is not much difference between the models of both ecommerce platforms and it is not surprising to note they continue to win awards and recognition, including juicy partnerships and investments from internationally acclaimed firms such as MTN and Naspers. However, taking a closer look at the minor issues that are often overlooked reveals there is a very wide margin in terms of customer experience on both platforms.
When the orders were made on both platforms, each of them gave a link that allowed the order to be tracked. While Konga’s link worked – and still works more than a week after the order was delivered, the one from Jumia led nowhere.
To Jumia’s credit however, they have a very prompt customer-care service that responded to my email inquiry about my order within 10 minutes and the agent was able to give useful information I would have gotten if the “track order” link had worked.
I ordered on Konga first and I didn’t get called by anyone to confirm my order, which was why I was shocked when a call center agent from Jumia called to confirm my order. She didn’t just stop with “I just want to confirm you ordered stuff from Jumia”, but went on to list all the stuff I ordered even though I was receiving the call hands-free. She wasn’t discrete and it actually got embarrassing when I could hear voices in the background.
“These people have no idea about discrete marketing whatsoever and thank God I didn’t order sex toys,” was what I said when she yelled out a female product I ordered for my girlfriend. She didn’t stop there as she also attempted to talk me into buying several other things. The company really hired good marketers.
When I saw that my order had arrived in the city via the tracking service on Konga, I knew the delivery guy would be at my doorstep on that day so I had to keep a flexible schedule to ensure I was around the address I gave online. He called to notify me that he would be coming over, when he got to the landmark, he also called and we met. As I was making payment, he called the next person that would be receiving an order.
For Jumia, however, all I got were two text messages with two different order numbers and phone numbers to call to pick my stuff up. No address to visit. I began to wonder why the order numbers were different and why hadn’t anyone from the company called to inform me about the arrival of the order? This call was more important than the one for the confirmation of order.
I had to call the number to ask for directions. When I finally got to the residential-apartment-turned-office, I understood why the address isn’t widely publicised — it appeared to be a makeshift office and the workers are busier and have no time to call customers and notify them of the order’s arrival. The experience was more or less that of visiting a postal service where you go to check whether you have mail or not.
But I also experienced how the company’s return policy works seamlessly, without giving customers headaches; I was also approached by a guy who said he could get me some amazing discounts if I shopped a lot on the platform. Post-delivery, I got an email from Konga thanking me for shopping on the platform, and nothing from Jumia, apart from an email asking me to assess its call-center agent.
Last year when I spoke to Jumia’s Jérémy Doutté at the company’s mega-warehouse in Lagos, he told me the company was managing over 90% of its operations in Nigeria all by itself. This is a Herculean task considering that you’re dealing with a country as huge as Nigeria. But he told me the company would remain committed to enhancing and improving customer satisfaction. This could be much easily achieved by leveraging on already existing infrastructure owned by Nigeria’s largest telecoms company, MTN ,which is a Jumia investor and partner.
It is quite amazing and impressive to note how both companies have taken ecommerce in Nigeria to new heights. My experience with reps of both companies showed business is really good and the fact that several products they are selling are much cheaper than those in stores indicates that online shopping is the real future.
Before I made up my mind, I asked a Lagos-based online shopper about his experience with both platforms. Without telling him about my experience, he said both platforms were doing great but he gets better customer service from Konga.