Most of us have their own OLX Memoirs, here is mine. So, I was looking for a good camera and a bargain for it, where I could control how much I could pay for it. I needed a Nikon d5200 for my work, I could not get a new one because I was rather strapped for cash and if I were to raid my bank account, the effect would be catastrophic, not to mention earth-shattering, well, at least the earth I walk on, you get my point! And so I scratched my head as to where I would get such equipment at price-friendly levels. A d5200 would cost you north of 50,000KES, I did not have that kind of money lying around and accessed at such short notice.
I started asking my friends where I could make the cheap acquisition; they gave varied opinion which when considered made my situation all the more complicated. Then I had a brain wave, let me surf the shopping avenues of OLX, now, I must emphasize I have never been an enthusiast of online shopping, so you can understand that that would have been the last idea in my head. Besides, who sells d5200, I mused, it’s a wonderful piece of equipment, unless they require money at short notice. AND SO, armed with this new knowledge, I ventured off, clasping my computer, I began clicking, and clicking, it was 30 minutes now, I was getting bored, then suddenly, it appeared in all its glory, I had found someone who was selling a d5200 on OLX, excitedly, I dialed the bloke’s number and we talked on the nitty gritties, concluding the call on an agreement that we would meet for a brew of coffee and discuss details the next day.
It is the next day, it was on Wednesday, the sun was setting, and we were shaking hands. I quickly noticed the bag he was carefully hanging on his shoulder, it must be my d5200, I smiled, he noticed, a glow excited quickly flashing through his face. I still did not agree with the price he was selling at and made it known as I peered into the camera to check its integrity; we negotiated, arm-twisting here, flattery there, you know all those selling points, result- I managed to convince him to shed off a sizeable figure from his original price and I got my camera there and there. I paid him via M-PESA. But, it is not always a smooth ride when using OLX; there have been a lot of complaints on fraudulent postings, website slowing, and several others, these are the most common. Hash-tags have surfed cyber-space noting the inefficiency of OLX ranging from where an individual’s privacy is compromised without proper verification, poor customer care facilities, and no grievance re-address system, all in the aim of protest. There is always the greater risk of buying stolen items. This is the case, especially in India where people use a lot of OLX services. Basically, what the ‘digital banditos’ do is post the stolen items and sell them at throw-away prices, not to mention there is further risk of being swindled again. So, it begs the question, in Kenya, are there legal structures that would protect the user from such practices. Does OLX have in-built security barriers do screen individuals in the portal? Because most of us who use OLX have no time to investigate that issue, rather what we are concerned about is the need to meet our turnover. Well, did you know, also, that the buyer of the stolen items is liable in the crime, so caveat emptor (buyer beware). And yes, the ultimate creeper screeper, the stalker, who obtains your email and starts cyber-staking you; a tale is told of a user who posted something on OLX that belonged to his son, the buyer calls the user asking her to send him the photos as he cannot properly view them on OLX. So, she sends the photos to his email ID from which the buyer replies that his wife already bought it, then he goes on to send her inappropriate emails, which then causes a whole series of awkward events. There is always a danger of using such e-commerce services, especially if there are clear guidelines on bolstering the security of the commercial electronic platform.
OLX Kenya is bullish about the future, of course, that makes sense when you consider it’s in over 90 countries and in 40 languages, but if does not address those grievances carefully and effectively, then it will be such as a sinking ship, cause, a small leak. That been said, the potential is enormous with over 20 million Kenyans using the internet; the possibilities are exciting for folks without entrepreneurial hearts. Posting an Ad on OLX is free, so am sure you have wondered how OLX makes money, well, and am sure you have an inkling or already know how, I’ll mention them anyway-through Google Ad Sense Banner Ads, Sponsored Links, and Featured Listings. Other e-commerce websites in Kenya include pigiame.co.ke, N-soko, but OLX seems to have the majority scoop, but even so, the spate of advertisement on television sometimes upon deeper reflection makes you wonder whether it has majority market share because too much ads usually signify the a negative trend in their business trajectory. The problem with e-commerce sites such as OLX is that their income strands are limited since sellers rarely accept to pay for a listing and this is why the e-commerce sites operating in African and parts of Asia always offer free listing. It begs the question, will the Kenyan society ever fully come to a situation where we would be willing to subscribe to sites online with a commercial intent. Of course, there are pockets of folk who would do so, but the best-case scenario would be a mass-adoption.
After business was concluded, we conversed on various attributes of the camera, how our first time of using OLX was quite successful, and we parted as friends! If by some turn of fate I end selling my camera, well, we all suspect where I’ll be heading, OLX, second-time is the charm!