Why I Left Uber and Ignored All My Konga Orders
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Firstly, I finally downloaded Taxify as a replacement for my UBER Nigeria app (the world is coming to an end).
It was a long time coming, I had resisted the urge to switch, deep down I prayed UBER will ride-out (no pun intended) their drivers revolt, even though I had been stranded several times by an UBER driver who swore he was on his way to pick me only to cancel the trip one entire hour later … I still hoped that UBER would pull through!
But this week, after seeing an artificial 2.1x surge at 9:30 am in the morning on a normal working day, I realized that UBER drivers had unofficially unionized and made UBER unusable, at least for me.
It was time for me to make the switch to Taxify … that was if I wanted to get to work early.
So I installed Taxify, created an account, added my payment details, hailed a driver who arrived faster than any driver on UBER Nigeria in the past 2 months had!
The second significant thing that happened to me was that my Konga seller account got suspended.
I could have seen that cancellation coming from a mile away.
For the past 3 weeks I had ignored all Konga orders placed on my store, like an UBER driver I was doing a sort of silent protest, to be honest I was just frustrated with the platform.
You see, I have been using Konga for over a year now to sell my books and have probably earned closed to half a million naira on the platform. But somewhere down the line Konga started inexplicably returning my products.
This was weird, because I had clearly indicated that my products (which were mainly books) could not be returned. Reason being is that someone could buy your book, finish reading it and then say they want to return it. And then basically get to read your book for free.
Which was why I was confused when I started seeing several of my books returned.
It turns out however, that the main reasons for the returns was because of Konga’s “pay on delivery (herein called PoD)” system, where a user could place an order and then pay for it when it only when it was delivered. The user could also reject the product upon delivery if it did not meet their requirements … at least that’s how it was meant to work.
But what ended up happening was that users abused the system!
Users would place a PoD order and when it was delivered, just decide not to accept it, like …
“o wow, I know I ordered a Colored Television, but I really don’t feel like paying for it now that it is delivered.”
And gbam like that Konga will return the order back to the seller. As you can expect this PoD thingy, was a great system for the user, as they incurred no cost but was a nightmare for we the sellers.
Because, somebody could basically place an order for a N2000.00 book, you as the seller would package the book, use your own fuel money to deliver it to a Konga delivery point … only for Konga to tell you 2-3 days later that your package was rejected and that you need to pick it up from their warehouse.
You would then have to drive down with your own fuel again, navigate through Lagos traffic just to pick up this N2000.00 book! By the time you factor in transport cost, opportunity cost and the low margins on each book sale, you soon realize that the cost of picking up your returned merchandise was way higher than any profit you could possible make on the book. So the best thing was to just let Konga keep your returned product.
But there was a slight catch, according to Konga:
“If item remains unrequested for after 7 days, a demurrage fee of 5% of cost of item will be charged daily for another 7 day within which merchant is expected to pick up item at Konga CDC or requests for delivery at KOS rate”
So not only was the product returned due to no fault of we the sellers, but we were being charged a daily 5% charge on the returns! You can’t make this shit up!
As you can imagine I complained severally about this PoD system. I wrote emails, called people that I know worked at Konga, filled out surveys, but nothing changed. The worst part was that Konga was aware of the customers engaging in this activity but still let them continue ordering with no repercussions. And they did not allow sellers opt out of the PoD system, it was a lose lose situation.
Like UBER, Konga seemed focused on the end user, that was they only customer they identified with. What they failed to realize just like in UBER’s case was that the “driver” was a customer too, just as much as the “seller” was a customer on Konga.
But it’s not just Konga and UBER that do this, most businesses in Nigeria fail to understand this simple principle, that the customer also includes your employees! Which is why many Nigerian businesses spend millions of Naira in adverts to gain users with little regard for “employees.” I mean how else can you explain UBER spending millions of naira to advertise a price cut to users without any regard to the financial impact and difficulty it brought her drivers, even when the drivers were protesting?!
If UBER drivers are not happy, no matter how many facebook adverts you run or price cuts you give, the company cannot succeed. You see drivers make UBER, not we the customers.
I personally fell in love with UBER because of the way the drivers made me feel, the stories they told of how UBER gave them dignity, gave them a job when they had no job, I loved the pride they took in keeping their cars clean, that’s why I loved the UBER brand.
The simple truth is that if the “drivers” love the brand they will advertise your product for free.
In a similar way, If Konga sellers are happy, we would go all out to advertise our products for users to buy on Konga. We would drive traffic to Konga so that more active users will be on the platform. It will be a natural growth for Konga and could lead to more active users, much more than the 184,000 active users as reported last year by Kinnevik that Konga has.
Ebay and Craigslist (both huge businesses) did not succeed because of the people that bought products, but largely because of the people that put products on the platforms.
But sadly, most businesses with lots of money in Nigeria don’t seem to get this. The focus is to grow the user base exponentially because that’s what investors like to see. Stating that the user base increased by 200% sounds much more sexier than saying drivers or sellers are 200% happy.
Talking about percentages, Pareto’s principle states that 20% of our efforts are responsible for 80% of our results. Businesses in Nigeria should study that principle.
Because 20% of a company’s customer base will be responsible for 80% of their success and results. In the case of UBER that 20% were primarily the drivers, but they pissed them off, now nobody knows if they will survive (I pray they do).
For Konga that 20% could be we the sellers, I have seen them start making changes, but there is still not a concerted effort to court the sellers. If they do focus on the sellers, they may not need to spend so much money on adverts and will attract a much more active user base organically.
And for my company okadabooks, we are looking at this and re-enforcing our belief that our key customers are our authors, the ones who write and also read stories on the platform. If our authors are happy, they will tell their fans and their friends about the brand, allowing us survive long enough to disrupt publishing without breaking the bank.
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