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Jasmine Howson-Wright: Nigerian Online Shoppers, Let’s Talk About Packaging

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Jasmine Howson-WrightI believe I have heard and probably said “All na packaging” too many times not to be overly conversant with the slang. I’m also probably too much of an optimist; it’s either that, or I deserve a dirty slap, because I believe that packaging is not bad but rather, a good thing (as long as it is not done for the wrong reasons or, just exaggerated).

Now however, all is not packaging; and much more than what is packaged, all really should be content! So after all the packaging is stripped off, what then? You still gonna want the goods/service? (Pardon my hustle attitude, but you’ll probably excuse it after having known ‘why’).

So like we all know, we are a cyber generation; everything we do now literally starts and ends in space (correction), on the Internet. From dating to marriage, studying and acquiring certificates, planning trips, banking, sharing ideas, blogging, literally everything, but none as heightened as purchasing (buying and selling). Now these are all great, and thank you technology! But (of course there is a ‘but’), when it comes to trusting a service that I have had no prior history with or, at least credible testimonies, I have learnt never to trust a complete stranger (business) because – ALL NA PACKAGING!

With the advent of technology and internet banking all one needs to do now is – see, like and transfer (O tan!) In a second, one individual should be credit happier, while the other, satisfied. In Nigeria though (as I can only speak from where the shoe pinches), the latter is most likely worse off, while the former is smiling sheepishly in their dreams at night. Whose fault? Packaging! Again, what should be a good advantage becomes a scam or just a catalyst for someone else’s headache!

Packaging to me is just not about the direct cover, beautification; like leather would be to the frame of a chair or, like makeup is to the face. For me it is totality; the assumption of finesse, of excellence (when it comes nothing close to it). It is service, customer service, details; everything about the business that one incorporates to make that small product or service rendered, seem bigger, better or more appealing to a complete stranger who, is in need of it. Nigerian’s in Business have not gotten a good grasp of this knowledge and mind you, even the household names are guilty of such crimes.

I saw, liked and decided to transfer funds to a certain business on Instagram because the business seemed legit and professional enough to trust and the item I hoped to purchase as well, ‘on point’. Everything in between the process of seeing and transferring funds (on my part o) was perfectly executed; I had sent a direct message, indicated my interest, was sent an email address were I listed my specifications and clearly too I must admit (this I confirmed after going through the history of my conversations with whoever I chatted with, when the whole thing almost went south). I eventually followed up with whats app messages and I believe I really did the ‘necessary’. However, the level of packaging this business had must be the best I have yet seen!

First of all, communication channel – Zero! I must have spoken with a 100 people (exaggerating of course) on one basic issue, ‘My preference on the order’. I would find myself having to go through the same explanation on different days (and nope, I was not calling Globacom customer service).

Secondly, knowledge of business – Zero! I (the customer), had spelled out what I wanted and I didn’t decide to buy a telephone from a bakery or books from a restaurant either. My inquiry for the item I wanted was specific to the service they ‘obviously’ were rendering. So, it did get me a bit agitated realizing I somehow was doing their job; goggling simple information on something they portrayed to provide, suggesting formats…you name it.

Thirdly, on professionalism – let’s not even dare go there because, this was an Epic Fail! Command tones replaced polite request (when clarifying certain information’s from me), diction – wauwu! Don’t get me wrong, there’s no harm in speaking poorly, it should not in any way define the individual but, do take cognizance of the fact that first of all, it is a projected business (meaning, it is no longer pass your neighbor), added to that, they already had a two count guilty charge, criminal enough for any business venture, why will you not now know how to write or speak properly? Even if that were the situation, whatever happened to employing an individual with good communication skills? It is a business first, not a joke.

Integrity and credibility – Non-existent! Following the mess of a conversation/communication, a transfer was still made (even after not being granted a discount as I solicited for, which was perfectly fine – their business their rules), by this time already approaching frustration, I hoped confirming the payment for their work (to be done) will slap some speed and professionalism in. Let’s just say, I hoped wrong! Worse still, I was given a 42 hour ultimatum for delivery; I received an abrupt and rather rude message 84 hours later. The content – Name of courier service, location of courier service and waybill number, finish! (And this came two days after I had messaged for an update on my item as at when authentically due), a “sorry for the late delivery” would have been in perfect order.  I brushed it off. Then, they just had to break the camels back with this last straw!

Disregard – This attendant, customer service personnel (s) or, in my opinion, brother to the actual owner of the business (because with everything gone wrong, I don’t want to believe that the individual who started this business, would hate the work of his hands, that much), in his cleverness, decided to disregard my contact (the actual person communicating with him), disregard me, and submit the information of another individual (who happened to unintentionally come into the equation – a third party) to the courier service. Then in the beauty of it all, sent me the waybill information and identification that was not (of course) me. I was that startled, I had no comment.

Fast-forward to pick up day – All mistakes lead to Eight words; “Sorry Ma, we cannot give you this item”. Gbam! A lot of senrenre was involved and embarrassment too but alas, I came out victorious… (It is really true what they say about looking back and laughing sha)

I’l reiterate again my lesson learnt – “when it comes to trusting a service that I have had no prior history with or, at least credible testimonies, I have learnt never to trust a complete stranger (business) because – ALL NA PACKAGING”!

Package if you must, but please, let’s us be sure that the actual service or content is worth everything and the packaging is just a little something extra…PLEASE!

I am sure I am not the only one with stories that touch on this matter. Please share your experiences or advice on how best to handle these situations below. Let us know how we will be going on this ‘packaging something’.

Foluke is unconventional. She is a Lagosian and holds a BS.c in International law and Diplomacy. An actor, writer, blogger, host and entrepreneur with a little more tricks up her sleeve. She is an optimist who loves God, food, love, life and the arts (however it is expressed) but is most passionate about writing and expresses herself best through it. She blogs at www.jasminwryts.com. Email: [email protected] Instagram: @jasminwryts Twitter: @JasmineH_W

12 Comments

  1. Zee

    November 17, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    All na packaging” quickly translates to “All na wash”. The typical Nigerian business wants to get the customer in first–and get their money mind you–and deal with the rest later. Hence a lot is invested in “packaging” rather than content.
    My husband went to a rather well packaged “Designer” in Lekki phase 1 to make a regular Agbada. Long story short—promises were made, a lot of money exchanged hands, 2 weeks later when Agbada was needed, Agbada was not ready and Mr. Designer’s phone was now off. After much threats, an underwhelming Agbada shows up. Another example, a beautiful, well furnished clinic opens up with a lot of fanfare—-Registration is N30,000, consultation, N25,000. They do not own a defibrillator. Even if they did, no one is quite sure how to operate it. If you have a heart attack while in there—it is filed under ” Act of God” , “it was his time”. I could go on and on….
    Your post is apt. Preparation needs to be stressed more in this country. We need to invest in training. I do not speak of the delapidated educational system–which of course needs work, I refer to those who should know better, can and have access to these trainings who still behave like business as usual.
    We the consuming public wield a lot of influence in these matters—spread the word about bad service and call out the culprits. Nothing quite inspires change more than a diminishing bank account………

  2. ojima

    November 17, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    lmao!!!! girl!!! you know thisssssssssssss

  3. Kemi

    November 17, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    I love this article. I once bought a blouse from one of the popular online stores that allows individuals to sell on their platform. I ordered a blouse and size medium. Small was delivered while I was not home. I called and sent a mail to have the item changed to my preference and till date, over 5 months ago, no show!
    I must commend 2 sites if permitted. Their customer service is great and what you see is what you get. http://www.esoraeluxury.com for household items and http://www.ameliorer-magnifique.com for my beauty needs.

  4. Sisi

    November 17, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    I totally agree with you, there are definitely some Joanne the scammers our there when it comes to online and most especially Instagram businesses. In the era of photo editing and anonymity (fake reviews) it is a risk to trust a business that one has no prior business with and cannot physically verify items. However it’s all about calculated risks and the items I tend to buy are low value so I can make do with the loss if needs be. As a fashion hoarder it’s harder as someone who lives in the UK – UK tailor costs are usually extortionate and rarely better quality and Nigerian brands for aso ebi and even anakara styles are all so tempting – however I did come across one lovey business who surprised me not only with content/quality of goods as well as actual packaging (tags and labels and everything) and service – ‘Omogecreations’. I am name dropping simply because it was a pleasant surprise and left an impression on my perception of Instagram businesses. After patiently waiting for someone who I knew and could trust to bring back the items in one piece, the delivery person put quite some effort into ensuring my friend got the package (she wasn’t home). I have since decided to trust others that I won’t name and have been dissapointed, but you know what they say ‘you win some you loose some’.

    • Moi

      November 17, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      Some times they forget to be consistent, I guess. Because my experience with Omoge Creations wasn’t great at all. Thankfully, I was still inquiring… We need to emphasis the need for consistent customer service sha, that’s all.

  5. Meah

    November 17, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    Lets leave packaging for a minute and talk about outright lies. Last year, i saw a coordinated clothing set on Jumia (yes, Jumia, this is a call out!) which was listed as N7,500. It was a pretty set but as the need was not pressing, i thought to pass. Fast forward to about 2 weeks later, the site decided to do a black friday sale so i quickly headed back to check the item of interest. Alas! it was listed under sale as previously N9,000, now N7,500. I nearly had apoplexy! The item was never N9,000!! I was so upset. It was one day I did regret not being on twitter, cos i would have called them out. Dear brands, no one is forcing you to do a sale but should you choose to join the wagon, DO NOT TELL LIES! I havent bought anything from the site since then.

    Moral of my story? another “black friday” sale is around the corner. Please shine ya eye!

    • Cookie

      November 17, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      The Truth!!!

  6. nene

    November 17, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    it’s a nigerian thing. when i lived in england, i ordered hair from a company, they sent the hair but it smelled so bad, and i called, and i could tell from the accent they were nigerians. They started shouting that they can’t refund my money, but i gave it to them, then they sent a replacement, and it was the same issue, after the third hair they sent, i was tired and i washe d that hair like 12 times before the chemical smell could be less noticeable. Also BEWARE of INSTAGRAM BUSINESSES also. Be careful with nIGERIAN BUSINESSES. I learned the hard way when i just got back to nigeria.

    1
    • Linda

      November 18, 2016 at 12:53 am

      Story.

  7. The generous economist

    November 17, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    So…i rily dnt knw wheda to bliv ppl when dey say d black man is possessed…cz it seems we cnt jst get anitin right…i really am nt pre disposed to online businesses anymore…their professionalism is jst so wack. Friend of mine made a catering deal with tatashe catering for her wedding…paid 4 months in advance…a month to the wedding…tatashe calls her and says the price per plate is now 500 naira more expensive…my friend says…u cnt jst change d terms of d contract so you should do a refund…she said no…meaning my friend must use her service…babe was just too tired and overwhelmed with the whole planning dt she buckled and let it go…bt if u hear tatashe catering….run bcos she’s just an IG robber

  8. I love my husband

    November 18, 2016 at 8:42 am

    I have fallen victim of packaging..i have made up my mind that if I’m buying on Instagram, I must see what I will buy before I pay, it can only be pay on delivery otherwise I will go to market/mall myself to purchase. Nigeria online sellers are mostly scammers, once you send money, they bring a horrible product, so much photoediting of products. a particular designer called “Ramoreby Kay” that I ordered clothes from treated me so badly after I had transferred money in her account, she failed to deliver in time, she made a horrible outfit for me after months, and that was after she had practically insulted me on top my money. Nigeria, we have a long way to go

  9. 3ples

    November 18, 2016 at 11:41 am

    I think it’s a Nigerian thing…. The service provider usually thinks he/she is doing u a huge favor, conveniently forgetting that you are actually paying for the service… My friend had a bad experience on Instagram and she never got her money back…neither did she get the item she paid for… I felt it was a one off thing so I tried to purchase sth from Instagram, after chasing the seller for a whole day to confirm if she had the items in my size, she eventually responded rather rudely that she was at the gym….this was around 7pm…meanwhile the conversation started at 9am on whatsapp… anyway, madam blocked me after I called her out for being rude…. Thank goodness my money never left my hands.. Lol

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