The murder of a Jumia agent in Port Harcourt last week will, no doubt, change a lot of things about online stores and their delivery operations. As unfortunate as it is, the measures prompted by the incident must not be emotional. Here’s a summary of the incident if you missed it:
Someone placed an order on Jumia for two iPhones to be delivered to their residence on Ada George road, Port Harcourt. When the delivery man, Mr Chukwuma Eleje, got to the location, he was ambushed, beaten up and eventually killed by gun shot. The Rivers State Police command now has three suspects — two men and a woman — in custody. But that’s not the only tragedy in all this.
PUNCH quotes a Jumia official, Naze Paul, saying this will change Jumia’s mode of delivery operation. Mr Paul said “Now, before we deliver goods we will get money first. If we don’t get paid first, we will not deliver”. Apparently this is not just a tragedy for the friends and family of the bereaved. It’s also a huge setback to our innovative system and economic progress.
These online delivery services pride themselves in the option of pay-on-delivery, upon confirmation of products. So they’re bringing the store right to your doorstep, literally. You see the product, touch it, and can even change your mind about it, and they’ll return with it. It’s good for everyone. If that pay-on-delivery option is removed, this will impact negatively on the digital market.
It’s hard enough for people to do business with computers. It’s not myopia. Letting people into your private environment for product delivery is a security concern. If the pay-on-delivery package is an encouragement to customers, taking it away will be bad for business.
The fact is, very few people are willing to make payment before they see their product. Do you blame them? Of course not. Trust issues are serious issues. These courier services, however bought that trust with on their detriment. Be certain they anticipated things like this, but took the risk for the sake of business. The risk has played out negatively in this instance. However, this is not enough to derail the progress in our tech-advancement.
This should be taken as a casualty which doesn’t happen often, and not as a major game changer. Security measures should be improved, protocols tightened, but removing the pay-on-delivery-option is not an option we should seriously consider.