There’s nothing as magical as making a few mouse clicks to order an item online and hours later, someone delivers it at your doorstep. You don’t have to leave your house anymore because what you don’t find in one online store is available in another online store. This must be the best thing after Elliot and Broadways bought a knife so that Kenyan homesteads don’t quarrel about how to slice a block of bread.
Shopping online in Kenya is the trend, but the process is not streamlined yet. Visit Buyer Beware Kenya pages on Facebook and see the number of scams reported daily. In addition to scams, these are some of the most annoying things that make most people shy away from online deals in Kenya.
1. The delay
An online store may promise same day delivery but the item arrives two or three days later. When you track the item, after a day of waiting, the product hasn’t left the warehouse.
2. Sellers who demand payment before delivery
When a seller demands payment before delivery, it sounds scandalous. Why would I pay for what I haven’t seen? The worst scenario is when the item delivered is faulty, you demand a refund, and the seller claims there are no cash refunds.
3. What you see is almost always not what you get
Product descriptions and images are supposed to explain the value for money. However, some sellers brighten images, copy images from other websites, or indicate wrong dimensions.
4. Out of stock alert
Have you ever ordered an item, received feedback about delivery, only to be informed later that the item is out of stock? Some sellers order items overseas and start marketing those products using stock images without indicating the items haven’t arrived in the country. That is wrong.
Over the last two years, more online shopping stores in Kenya have embraced Black Friday. However, some just want to increase traffic to their websites yet they have no deals or they have just a few items to sell. It is annoying to add an item to a shopping cart only and it disappears while in the check-out process. Don’t sell what you don’t have.
5. Snail pace customer service
If you want to start your day angry, call the customer service line of some e-stores. It’s like they are on the payroll to frustrate customers with automatic responses that make robots sound better.
6. Woe unto you if the product is defective
If a product is defective or damaged during delivery, a long arduous process begins as you request for a refund or a new appliance.
7. Sellers who give wrong directions to the pickup point
Unlike e-commerce stores, some marketplaces allow sellers to list products without offering delivery services. Therefore, if a seller says no shipping service, it means you are at the mercy of that seller’s directions. If he/she alleges the location is close to the highway when it is about 2 km away on a dirt road with no boda bodas, hope you have installed Uber or any of its cousins or you will walk all the way because it is the easier option that demanding a refund.
8. Sellers whose delivery team has poor sense of direction
When the delivery guy gets lost in your neighborhood because he/she misunderstood your directions, you walk around the hood or peep from your balcony looking for him/her. The airtime and the time spent in such a treasure hunt is enough for you to visit a local store and forget about shopping online in Kenya.
Online shopping in Kenya is a few years old. It is still in the teething stage, and there are definitely mega developments expected in online payments and logistics. For now, we can only shop and pray!