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  • IMPORTANT READ: BEHIND THE SCENES IN THE MARKETPLACE

    General Discussion Created 3 years ago | Updated 3 years ago
  • Bret E Bret E Konga Moderator
    Dear All
    
    It is not the concern of sellers on the marketplace to understand the challenges we face in building this platform. It is a challenge we have undertaken primarily for the benefit of our country.
    
    That said, it is important you understand some fundamentals of this world we entering.
    
    1. Every order shipped via KExpress is subsidised by Konga. Every time your order is delivered, Konga essentially pays a portion of your shipping charge. Konga makes NO money on shipping but presently loses every time you ship. This clearly cannot continue forever. Every system must be sustainable. For now, even with self-fulfill, we continue subsidising when you ship through KExpress. However, if you ship yourself, pls consider the delivery charge your income.
    
    2. By subsidising, Konga has succeeded in creating a critical mass of shippers that can move goods around at cheaper than any other logistics provider in the country. We have caused many logistics service providers to lower their rates and be more efficient for ecommerce and distance selling in Nigeria. We think we have another year before this work is done and logistics rates approach other markets like India and Brazil.
    
    3. Regardless, Konga will continue subsidising until the network is more mature and this costs of delivering parcels drops in Nigeria.
    
    4. Some have complained that we now open up data to buyers including sales history, ratings etc. Openness and transparency is the basic principle of the internet and one that we believe deeply in at Konga. Those that perform well should not fear openness. The greatest problem with physical markets is you don't know who is trustworthy and who isn't. Konga aims to fix this problem through transparency.
    
    5. On Payments. Nigeria has a payment system that is broken and doesn't serve ecommerce companies well. for example, it is impossible to refund a buyer to a card via the most popular payment gateways. We invite all stakeholders to help fix this. Until we do, the "evil" of "Pay on Delivery" will continue to dominate. Konga is working hard to fix this problem. Reconciling billions of naira in cash every month and making sure sellers are paid on time is a challenge NO OTHER ecommerce industry (except India's) has to deal with. It is unsustainable. We will personally fix it soon if no one else takes the challenge up. 
    
    6. Until Pay on Delivery is fixed (hopefully in a few months), we all have to contend with it. If you cannot deliver to a place via Pay on Delivery, and do not trust the efficiency of KExpress, we advise that you turn off deliveries for that region altogether so you can self fulfil and collect your cash yourself.
    
    7. On communication, Konga sends out frequent newsletters to sellers. We will work to make these even more frequent and easier to digest. Please take the time to read them. They are important. Many concerns are addressed in newsletters already.
    
    8. We care deeply for our sellers and community. Every day, we wake and come to work to serve this community. We are not perfect but know that if we focus on serving, everything will be fine in the long term - even if its not apparent to the community in the short term. Also, in communities, not everyone will be happy with every decision. We take this responsibility very seriously at Konga and seek to optimise for the happiness of the majority and sustainability of the system.
    
    9. However, we invite those that are here to sow confusion (perhaps for competitive reasons) to kindly stop. We are on a mission to better society here and while the noise does not deter us, we should tell our sellers that we know that not every contributor to the forum has the best intentions.
    
    10. Again we are here to see you succeed. We want sellers to do well commercially even if that means do so on a competing/alternative platform. Konga only succeeds if you succeed. This is our solemn mission.
    
    Be patient. All of us together - Konga and you, the first group of sellers and buyers, are at the arrowhead of developing ecommerce in Nigeria. Its not easy but together we will get there.
    
    Bret
    

Comments

  • Dumebi O S
    Posted 3 years ago
    (Part 4 of 4 – finally…)
     
    3)	Part of what Self-Fulfil promised was independence. Therefore measures such as a monthly inventory update defeats that purpose in my opinion (apologies in advance if I cross-post). I’m all for standards but enforce such measures only on merchants not meeting the specified standard in whatever area. Some of us run multiple sales outlets, some of us are students, some of us are wives, husbands, mothers – consequently some of us already have our own measures in place to ensure maximum efficiency in all areas of our lives, including our Konga store(s).
    
    As Konga continues to seek and implement change, please think streamline for the sake of those getting it right already. Implement measures only for those not running their stores effectively. 
    
    I shan’t speak too much about the delivery/courier issue because now the picture is a little bit clearer, one understands better. But I will request this, when the Payment challenges have been resolved, it will be nice to know that Konga is willing to consider (just consider, not commit) introducing a non-refundable shipping cost to be borne by the buyer. I think it will increase the chance for merchants to truly attain independence.
    
    I appreciate you Bret and the rest of the Konga team!
    
    Thank you.
    
    ...no more :-)...
  • Dumebi O S
    Posted 3 years ago
    (Part 3d of 4 – hopefully this is the last of this part…fingers crossed) 
    
    This brings me to Point 9; I agree with you, perhaps not everyone is rooting for Konga to succeed. But if you’re referring to the post I think you’re referring to which has since been taken down, or indeed to any of my posts, then I’m afraid you’ve missed the point and why the heat was present in the first place. The over-riding sentiment, which I have not conveyed as well as the post I’m referring to, was, is and always will be a desire to also see Konga succeed. You have no idea just how much this desire is in some of us hence the heat. We share in the same humanitarian ambition you mention and so much more. From our own ‘little’ corners we see the potential reverberating effect that a success story like Konga’s can and will have – the local, national and global impact. It is the only reason why I snapped out of my silent spectating and took time to respond (and believe me it takes serious time drafting and re-drafting these epistles of mine; you have no idea what I’ve put on pause to engage with the Forum this week. I will pay the price later but that’s by the by). I would imagine it is the only reason the removed post was drafted and shared in the first place. (And dare I hope that it wasn’t just taken down and discarded. Perhaps Konga is already aware of the points she raised but there is a heart-cry in that post which will be a shame to disregard and dismiss as an attempt to sow confusion)
     
    
    One interesting feature with arrowheads is that they’re made of metal and can be used to sharpen one another; I believe the Good Book calls it ‘iron sharpening iron’. And when that happens sparks are bound to fly. But we don’t shut down dialogue, we don’t stop talking to one another, we don’t put up a defensive stance and decide some threads of conversation are not worth moderating on. No – that only leads to relationship breakdown. We must keep talking to each other through the calm and heated, rational and irrational, childish and mature. Continually learning to decode what each other is trying to say and learning to communicate clearer and better. And yes, “together we will get there”.
     
    (...to be continued...)
  • Dumebi O S
    Posted 3 years ago
    (Part 3 c of 4 – sorry, this section is proving way too difficult …but I need to finish) 
    
    Permit me to point out that even your choice of words and tone of voice in your post above is interesting. I understand it was in response to all the heat but if you don’t mind me saying, in customer service, it is not good practice for the service provider to return heat for heat. Believe me I have been on the receiving end of major heat but I always had to hold it in and respond nicely but firmly (a major feat considering certain personality traits of mine). You were combative and not nice. If it is not our concern, then why open the Forum in the first place and ask for our views? I appreciate that it is a very stressful period for you guys too; sleep has perhaps been a luxury for some at Konga Head Quarters over the past few weeks, – Information Technology champions working beyond over-time; meetings running late into the night etc – I empathise with you guys. 
    
    (...to be continued...)
  • Dumebi O S
    Posted 3 years ago
    (Part 3b of 4 – sorry, this section is proving way too difficult …but I need to finish) 
    
    In addition, the language and tone of some of the responses sound more akin to responding to children or someone the speaker thinks is slow, lazy or unaware of the intricacies and complexities of operating at a certain level. (I must say though that the new wave of responses read better. Thank you)
     
    In case you’re not aware, it is not beans to get to the point of wanting to sell on Konga and to actually do it. So you’re not talking to the average Joe. The fact I ask a question or make a comment based on what I observe from my point of view doesn’t make me naïve. This is not ignoring the fact that many of us still need educating in the area of ecommerce, we will all need to keep learning as we go.
    
    Take for example your response on the compulsory monthly inventory update. Apologies for cross-posting but your tone and choice of words felt so condescending. You don’t see the other side of every single merchants coin, blanket responses and solutions generally don’t bode well for many especially those who were getting it right in the first place.
    
    (...to be continued...)
  • Dumebi O S
    Posted 3 years ago
    (Part 3a of 4 – sorry, this section is proving a lot more difficult. I know I talk too much, and it's nothing personal but I really need to finish getting it all out in response to this thread)
     
    2)	Moderator responses need to be less ‘scripted’ i.e. avoiding the main point of the query and giving what appears to be the official scripted response. Some responses reveal that Konga doesn’t quite ‘get’ the difficulty merchants face. 
    A week or two ago I was having a conversation with a Konga staff, after talking at cross-purposes for a while, we suddenly realised that what we were seeing and trying to describe to one another from our respective screens varied. So what I was saying wasn’t making sense and vice-versa. She asked me to send her screen-shots so she could better understand, I did and I believe a resolution will not be too far off.
    
    We need to continually work towards bridging the gap between what we’re saying and what you’re hearing; between what we see from our end and what you see from yours; between what you’re saying and what we’re hearing.
    
    (...to be continued...)
  • Dumebi O S
    Posted 3 years ago
    (Part 2 of 4 – sorry, I had to get round the error messages somehow and yes, it is a long read so please bear with me as some things need to be said)
    
    Here are some fundamentals I’d like to share too…
    
    1)	It would be really helpful if going forward fundamental-like updates are shared with merchants in newsletters. Increased frequency, as suggested in Point 7 may not be the answer. Try including some fundamental points in the newsletter you already send and see if the feedback you get won’t get increasingly constructive :-).
    
    For example, Point 4 would’ve calmed a lot of minds if it was explained as well as you’ve put it before now. I agree with you, “Openness and transparency is the basic principle of the internet” but it is not the basic principle of the Nigerian society. And although things are changing, for most of us our first instinct is to cover and shield. I know the newsletters pre-empting Self-Fulfil mentioned these changes and I was like ‘got it’. But my goodness, my Naija sentiments were still assaulted when I first saw it live. It took me a while to switch to my Ebay head. Let’s be fair though, most societies which operate with such openness and transparency as the internet projects all have better security systems both from the government and/or personal. Physical security in Nigeria is one thing, then to now add cyber-security on top of that! And whilst Konga may have excellent systems in place, even the best of the best have been hit.
    
    And rather than hitting us with compulsory Pay on Delivery under an already fraught climate knowing fully well it’s ills, Konga should have issued a statement via newsletter with Points 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 in addition to a ‘request’ that we please endure Pay on Delivery and bear with K-Express since they’re the only courier willing to not charge the merchant for unsuccessful deliveries.
    Better still such a newsletter should have been sent way before Self-Fulfil was even mentioned. This reality would’ve sunk in for a lot of us, our patience levels would’ve been prepared to better handle Self-Fulfil, the continued existence of Pay on Delivery and the need to keep using K-Express. Instead Self-Fulfil was sold to us as the immediate solution to all our angst from delayed delivery and returns. When it came, it was anything but. I personally quite like the possibilities Self-Fulfil presents; and was and still am looking forward to it functioning as well as it can.
    So yeah, try giving us some more ‘meat’ from time to time. The other benefit of this is, merchants who read everything will then be able to also disseminate this kind of information as we interact with one another on the Forum and privately.
    
    (...to be continued...)
  • Dumebi O S
    Posted 3 years ago
    (Part 1 of 4 – sorry, I had to get round the error messages somehow and yes, it is a long read so please bear with me as some things need to be said)
    
    Hi Bret, 
     
    If it took all the heat that poured forth from merchants since Monday to generate this kind of fundamental communication from Konga then it has been worth it! If you guys had stated these fundamentals on Monday or Tuesday, we would’ve averted all this heat. Instead, for almost 48 hours we heard nothing! 
    
    Firstly, let me apologise for the heated tone in some of my Forum posts this week. As a customer, I am guilty of the cardinal sin of complaining when service has gone askew but not paying proper compliment when service is excellent. I also apologise if some of what I’m about to say still appears heated, it’s not intended to offend. It has taken me a good few hours to draft and re-draft this response; I have tried as much as I can to tone down the heat while still trying to communicate my thoughts. So please bear with me.
    
    You’re right, it is none of our business to know the behind the scenes working of the marketplace. But it is our concern to protect our interests especially when, prior to your explanation, it appeared Konga did not care and was enforcing rules on merchants. However, Konga often refers to us merchants as ‘partners’; in a partnership, there is a certain level of transparency needed to prevent a heat build-up and spill over. You cannot keep adults in the dark, feeding them breadcrumbs and not expect some misunderstanding to be fostered. 
    
    Yes we get frequent newsletter, but nothing compared to your post above which sheds a lot more light and makes a lot more sense than what I’ve read since joining the platform. And I am diligent in reading and resourcing myself – I have read each and every email/newsletter since I joined the platform; I do not delete any in case I need to make reference at a later date. When feedback was called for late last year I responded in detail. When request for surveys are sent, I complete the surveys. When the BlackBerry Messenger Channel was launched, I subscribed. When the Forum was launched, I made it a point to pop-in every day; I remained non-committal until Monday ‘cos I know my tendency, all or nothing. When I first started selling, I went through Seller Academy, watched all Teju’s videos, downloaded manuals, read the seller stories etc. I tinker around Seller HQ in order to know what everything is and try to get the best out of each. So when Monday morning rolled in and I logged into Seller HQ I was like – huh? Ok…
    
    I braced myself, adapted; proactive is one of my mantras. All of Monday, apart from the Self-Fulfil has gone live email, we heard nothing. I personally scoured every avenue I knew looking for answers or an update of some sort but there was nothing. I re-read the newsletters about Self-Fulfil just in-case I had missed something and that didn’t help very much. So I went into Seller HQ and tinkered, figured things out and set my store up ready for a week of orders. Tuesday morning ushered in a different story – the slate had been wiped clean, all my settings gone. And still no word from Konga. Features had suddenly gone missing. The Forum was open on a separate tab and regularly refreshed as I worked all day and still nothing. I can’t even remember at which point my patience ran out but it eventually did.
    
    The fundamentals listed in your post are very much appreciated and noted. If only we had been informed of these fundamentals before Monday or on Monday! We merchants are adults, capable of being rational. (And yes, people will be people and you’ll still get some back chat; some won’t read before they leap but that’s life) In the absence of such a communique, everyone is left to draw their own conclusions based on the side of the coin visible to them. When everyone keeps asking the same questions or voicing the same concerns over and over that should tell you something – communication is either absent or where present is ineffective or not well disseminated.
    
    I note that your fundamentals are yet to be put into a newsletter and sent to all merchants (but me thinks it’ll be a good idea to revisit the tone and some of the language before sending it in a newsletter). So some people are still in the dark and will hit the Forum in the not too distant future and start new threads rehashing the same things. Not everyone comes into the Forum and even when they do, not everyone has the time to sit and scroll through pages to find the relevant post which houses the answers they seek. 
    
    (...to be continued...)
  • Ebere O B
    Posted 3 years ago
    Hello Tony, Apologies if we have ignored your suggestions, as always we are open to any constructive feedback. Please feel free to post a feedback you feel we haven't addressed already.
    Regarding the cost of shipping, This is why we launched self fulfillment platform ,You are welcome to use any carrier,As  Kexpress is no longer the only option. 
  • tm
    tony m B
    Posted 3 years ago
    if you ask me this is cocky.........
    
    in business the customer is king
    
    and there are two customers in every business internal customers and external customers.....merchants are the internal customers in this case, and if in plain language we express our feelings but you brush them aside as people trying to sow discord well and good...theres no profitable venture that survives without serving people.
    
    you claim customer feed back is essential yet your merchants give you feed back , but its rejected.
    
    truth is competition is seriously reducing its cost of logistics...but konga seems to be heading the opposite direction.
    
    Time will tell us the full story of the impact of this new shq, it evidently wont be  pretty 
  • DD
    Dolapo D S
    Posted 3 years ago
    Hello Tayo A,
    
    The statement is True.

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