I recently started shopping online, and although I was skeptical at first, I have fallen in love with it.
One day last year, a friend put up “Your online grocery store, www.jaramall.com” as her BBM personal message and I was intrigued by the idea. At the time, I had just started the Meet the Boss interview series for connectnigeria.com so I was always on the lookout for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who could use a little extra publicity and whose founders could inspire others with their story. As a home manager, I was also interested in anything that could bring relief.
I went on the site, ordered a few things and voila! At my doorstep! I was so thrilled. I didn’t have to leave my home, go to the market and wade through a sea of humans, sweating and carrying shopping bags around, every time I needed to cook. I interviewed the CEO of Jaramall, and shopped online a couple more times before I started to long for the market again.
For one, I missed haggling. Was I really getting a good bargain? Couldn’t I get my groceries cheaper if I went to the market to “price” very well? And the free delivery period was almost over! I would now have to pay for delivery again on top everything! I went back to my “customers” in the market and that was it.
Then, one day on Twitter, I discovered another online grocery store, www.mhqstore.com and once again my mind was on an interview with the founder. That changed when I visited the site. The arrangement was so different, and they had so many other things that Jaramall didn’t have (hello red snapper fish!) so I decided I just had to try them! Then a funny thing happened.
Just as I was thinking about it, Jaramall sent me a message saying they had an Easter gift for me. They delivered it- a basket of goodies! A huge watermelon, a pineapple, apples, pears, bananas, smoked catfish, lots of yummy things. Of course I was excited! I felt so grateful…and guilty. Like a lover who was planning to cheat on a good, loving partner. But I hardened my heart; told myself I just had to try MHQ Store out before the interview, and then I would return to Jaramall :p
I did just that, and here’s a summary of my experience.
MHQ Store’s variety was what drew me to them in the first place. Apart from the red snapper fish (heheheee) they had other basic things I needed. For instance, they had ponmo N200 whereas Jaramall was selling bulk, N7000. They had okra, which I couldn’t find on the Jaramall site. They offered blended tomatoes, pepper and onions in 3 categories; hot, mild and low. The whole set up was just novel, and seemed designed to really make life easier.
Then, although they were late and kept me waiting, when they delivered the girl who came was nice and courteous. I also liked her uniform (someone is running a serious business here 🙂 ) She didn’t come with their POS machine which was the option I had selected when ordering. I always do cash on delivery when shopping online, but I didn’t have cash at home that day hence my decision to use my card. So they asked me to pay into their account. Unfortunately I had issues with my online banking and I couldn’t transfer until 4 days later. They didn’t bug me even once, so patient! I really appreciated that. Soooo, MHQ Store is fantastic!
But I’m sticking to Jaramall. Why?
Simply because the 80/20 rule which applies in marriage also applies here. You can’t get EVERYTHING you’re looking for in one partner; the best you can get is 80%. The problem usually is that “20% looks pretty good when you don’t have it.”
- First off, Jaramall won my heart with that Easter package. They didn’t have to do that, I hadn’t patronized them in months! And I needed fruits in my life!
- Secondly, delivery. Jaramall is ready to deliver practically anytime – as soon as possible. MHQ Store has a fixed delivery period: 2pm-5pm. Now, that in itself is not bad, just that I personally prefer cooking earlier in the day. Plus, Jaramall delivers to me for N300 (down from the initial N500) while MHQ Store’s delivery fee is N1000. Enough said.
- Then, their customer service is something else. Unlike my first order with MHQ Store which went awry (they were sending me emails which were going to spam and I ended up calling them to cancel the order because time was running out so I had to go to the market), Jaramall always calls to confirm my order. The lady who calls is always sweet. After delivery they call again to make sure everything is okay. The one time they mixed up my order and gave me two bottles of curry instead of one curry and one thyme, they came back with the thyme, apologized profusely, and next order they “dashed” me a free pack of salt. Pampered customer purring…
The most important reason however, is their willingness to become better partners. I sent them a Twitter DM about selling smaller quantities of ponmo and voila, N300 ponmo appeared on the site! Can I have smoked kote fish please? Smoked kote fish appeared on the site. What about okra? Working on it right away. They are so RESPONSIVE! They even called once to ask if there was anything else I would like to have that they weren’t offering yet.
And that, my friends, is what you should look for in a partner. Not someone who is perfect, but someone who is willing to learn, grow and meet your needs better. That’s the kind of partner you should be becoming, too.
PS: My interview with the founder of MHQ Store will be published soon, and I’ll post a link here.
PPS: The MHQ Store interview didn’t work out.