Since we are talking about market here, we need someone to choose an item and make a purchase. How many would you like to buy? Would you like to pick it yourself or you will rather get it delivered to your location? Before you start thinking too far, we need to ask, how are you going to pay?
Oh how sweet it is if you’re out in the market and can transact face-to-face! I see the item, pay from my wallet and off I go. Easy does it. Really? We sometimes forget that we have to travel to the market or store, wage through the traffic, battle the weather. You spend time and money too just to get there, even when you’re not even certain of getting what you want. The supposed easy ending, with cash or card swipe payment, doesn’t come so easy or without you breaking some sweat. Alright, so how do we pay online? It’s getting easier and more secure by the day. And you have options to choose from.
If you are the I-must-see-my-item-first kind of person, you can pay cash on delivery or pay via a mobile POS machine. If you’re a bit trustier and are fully onboard with online banking, then there are a few more options for you. If you want to get away from all charges, some retailers permit you to interact directly with customers and a simple bank transfer can be arranged. Adding a little insurance to your money, you can also pay via trusted bank partners such as MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, and a host of others. Don’t get me wrong; this is not a watertight solution to payment for online purchases. But the records and transactions are easily traceable and refund is usually guaranteed. I have bought countless items online and I have never lost a Kobo to failed payments. The point is, making payments online has become so commonplace that it need not be dreadful to anyone. In fact, you are more likely to lose your cash or debit card when you leave your house and go to the shopping mall than to do so when you buy things online. The key is to do it right. Keep your card in a secure place, don’t share your PIN and password and ensure that you shop on trusted websites only. Online payment pages must have the green padlock icon next to the website’s URL. Otherwise you can be a victim of identity theft. Most banks will readily give you free guidance to help navigate through the world of online transaction and would even get you a personal manager that you can call anytime you have questions or that you find yourselves in trouble.
Another common fear about online shopping is the fear that the item may not turn out to be what you expect. That is a genuine concern and there is a way out. Before clicking the button to finalize a purchase online, be certain that the website or the retailer has a return policy. Take note of the terms and conditions, which usually include number of days an item can stay with you before returning them and how long you may have to wait before you can get your money back. It’s pretty easy and you can hardly get that in most neighborhood markets in Nigeria. As long as you have paid and have exited the shop, you become a total stranger if you come back, not to buy another item but to return what you have purchased. To keep your mind completely at rest, some online shops even offer warranty that covers certain unexpected problem with the purchased item within a period of time.
Perhaps the most common reason why people hesitate from shopping online is when they consider the cost of delivery. Who would want to pay so much for an item that costs so little? Again, it depends on your perspective. As outlined earlier going to the market yourself also cost money. Just as it makes little sense to travel to the shopping mall just to buy a piece of chocolates, the cost of delivery for online purchases pale into insignificance when we combine our purchases. Also, unless we are making rush orders, you can get your deliveries at little or no cost if you are willing to wait a bit longer. With a little plan to your shopping, you will be amazed at how cheap it is to buy and receive at the comfort of your homes.