By Jonah Nwokpoku
Recently, Nigeria’s biggest e-commerce players, Konga.com and Jumia.com announced same day delivery service. Specifically in March, 2016, online marketplace, Konga.com announced same day delivery along with the rebranding of its proprietary logistics service, KongaExpress into Keep On Shipping. It, however, made it clear that the same day delivery service is only available for now in Lagos and exclusive to areas like Agege, Surulere, Eti-osa, Ifako-ijaiye, Kosofe, Mushin,Oshodi-isolo, Somolu, and Lagos mainland.
At the media launch of the service in Lagos, Konga’s CEO, Shola Adekoya said: “Konga is launching two game changers, same day delivery and rebranding our proprietary nationwide logistics service from K-Express to KOS built to improve delivery capabilities. With Same Day Delivery, when you place orders on Konga.com for an item before 11 am, be rest assured that your item will be delivered to you the same day. When you order after 11am, the item(s) will be delivered to you on or before 12 noon the next day.”
This announcement was met with swift response from its major competition, Jumia.com with a statement on its website announcing the same, same-day delivery service. In a post announcing the service, Jumia said: “The exclusive delivery expansion offered as express delivery gives all Jumia customers in Lagos the opportunity to receive their order the same day they place the order, adding that it is same day delivery that is not being offered by any other retailer in Nigeria.
” Jumia Nigeria’s Managing Director, Nicolas Martin, was quoted as saying: “This level of convenience is what we aim to provide for our customers. We always make sure we give our customers the best of online retail experience with our service delivery, express delivery is a game changer for e-commerce operations in Nigeria.”
But industry watchers would recall that this was not the first time Jumia would introduce same day delivery for Lagos. Jumia, actually, first introduced same day delivery in September, 2014, which made it curious that they came out with a statement announcing the service after Konga launched similar service, two years after.
However, about eight weeks after the two companies announced the service; Vanguard’s investigation has revealed that the two companies have yet to come close to offering same day delivery as some customers who spoke to Vanguard say, it takes between one to three days before their orders could be fulfilled.
Narrating his experience shopping on Konga.com, Chukwudi Ozoagu told Vanguard: “Immediately after Konga launched the same day delivery, I placed an order for two brands of wine. And because I stay around Yaba, I thought I was going to receive them that same day as their same day delivery condition said. The two items were ordered around 10 am. Within a few minutes, the seller for the first item made contact and confirmed the order. The seller for the second item made contact two days later and delivered the next day.
The seller for the first item who first made contact did not get back to me again. The first day passed, so did the second and the third day. After the 72 hours wait, I chatted her up on WhatsApp demanding for my item but she apologised for not getting back to me and told me the particular brand of the item I ordered was no longer available. It was very disappointing.”
Another customer who simply identified herself as Theresa said: “I have bought two fashion items from Konga since they launched the same day delivery service but they were never delivered the same day. The orders were confirmed the same day but delivery happened more than 24 hours later. Maybe there are special kinds of products they deliver same day.”
Also speaking, another customer of Jumia, Tare said: “I bought a washing machine from Jumia about two weeks ago but it was not delivered the same day I placed the order. The washing machine was delivered the next day. And I have been shopping on Jumia but never received the orders the same day. In most cases, the orders come the next day. I did not even know that Jumia has such service.”
More so, a check on Jumia’s online store showed that most items listed on its website have delivery timeline of between two to twelve days. With that precondition, it is even difficult to hold them accountable if they fail to deliver same day.
Why same delivery remains elusive
“The marketplace model which most e-commerce players are operating makes it almost impossible to fulfil orders same day. It is difficult to get a seller to deliver an order same day and it is the process of fulfilling the orders that makes it so much so. In my experience, delivering same day happened by chance when we were able to get a seller to deliver item same day,” said a former employee of Africa Internet Group’s pioneer online marketplace, Kaymu.com, who did not want to be mentioned.
An e-business analyst, who also preferred anonymity told Vanguard that, “Same day delivery is possible if the logistics challenge can be explored as an opportunity by players and investors. But for e-commerce players to turn the challenge into a marketing gimmick will not in any way help the industry solve the problem.”
Same day delivery is not impossible. But it remains a challenge even in advanced e-commerce markets like the US. But it is something that could happen gradually through strategic and consistent efforts at improving logistics. Already, some players like Supermart.ng and Gloo.ng are successfully implementing same day delivery and even built their business model around it.
Players like Jumia and Konga should actually focus on researching for strategies that could make same day delivery a reality in the marketplace model instead of capitalising on a one off successful attempt and deploying it as a marketing gimmick.