Sunday, 29 November 2015

Black Friday madness hits Uganda

Never have I seen such a well-oiled machine as did this 27th November 2015 as I worked with my colleagues to make sure this event was a success. What was supposed to be a one day event was extended to the full weekend so that we could give Ugandans the best experience we possible.
Now you must be wondering where I am going with this, but I always bring you the lighter side to all the interactions I have with individuals because the world is serious enough we need something to smile about from time to time.

Now originally I was supposed to go out and do street sales to get people hyped about the 1 day event and possibly get some sales but by 10:30am the plan had changed. The customer support and buying ops team was swamped with orders before we had even eaten our morning breakfast and so they needed assistance. I doubled as customer support briefly and at some point this was where I was party to the humour that Ugandans are very well known for.

Encounter 1
Customer: ‘Hello, are you there.’

Customer Support: ‘Good morning, you are speaking to Joyce from Jumia Uganda. How may I assist you?’

Customer: ‘Ehh, so you are real’

Customer Support: ‘Yes, you are speaking to customer support.’

Customer: ‘So what is this Black Friday?’

Customer Support: ‘Black Friday is the last Friday of the month of November where companies hold the biggest sales promotions.’

Customer: ‘Ehh, so why is it black.’

Customer Support: ‘It is black because it means the company will be making sales and moving from the red to black and also providing you with the biggest discounts possible.’
Customer: ‘But why is it Black.’

Customer Support: ‘Black is a good thing in terms of finance madam.’

Customer: Okay.’

Customer Support: ‘So would you like to place an order for anything that we have on discount?’

Customer: ‘No I was wondering whether you are for real and why it was called Black.’

Customer Support: ‘Okay. Thank you for calling customer support, have a nice day.

Encounter 2
Buying Ops Manager: ‘Joyce call the next vendor and get them to release items on the order list.

Me: ‘Good morning Madam, I calling you from Jumia Uganda.’

Vendor: ‘Jumia… anha.’ She said after brief hesitant as though to remind herself of what that was.

Me: ‘I would like to inform you that you have orders, can you check your system?’

Vendor: ‘Yes I saw the order.’

Me: ‘Yes madam, but I would like to inform you that you have 3 and not 1 order. So should we send the rider to pick them up for delivery to the customer?’

Vendor: ‘Let me check and I call you back.’

Me: ‘Okay. Thank you.’

Call back to same vendor – 2 hours later
Me: ‘Hello madam, I am calling back from Jumia Uganda.’

Vendor: ‘Yes, oh sorry I forgot. But I saw them.’

Me: ‘Ok, so should I send a rider to pick up the orders from you.’

Vendor: ‘No I just left the shop, it will be Monday.’

Me: ‘Monday is rather late, can I send him first thing tomorrow morning.’

Vendor: ‘Tomorrow morning! But I was not planning on working tomorrow morning. You do not work over the weekend do you?’

Me: ‘Ordinarily, we do not however your vendor manager must have informed you of the Black Friday promotion this weekend. We will be working all through to Monday.

Vendor: ‘Eh I remember the black thing. It was this weekend… I totally forgot.’

Me: ‘Okay so should I send the rider tomorrow at 9am.’

Vendor: ‘Okay send him very early because I will open for him and give him the orders and then close.’

Me: ‘What about the orders that follow over this weekend?’

Vendor: ‘Eh, also you I need to go somewhere.’

Me: ‘Yes, but I need to schedule pickup and delivery to the customers who ordered your items.’

Vendor: ‘Ok let us do Monday then.’

Me: ‘Alright, thank you.’

So cutting the long story short, we called the owner of the shop and they got her sorted out in terms of what should be a priority, therefore she was ready for the pick up the following morning. 

However, all that crossed my mind was the fact that this is a young industry and many vendors can make money however there is need to be agile and respond quickly to the market needs. 


Now we all know that Ugandans march to the beat of their own drum but I was hopeful every time I picked up the phone to call a vendor and right away they asked me when we were picking up the orders for the customers.

Today’s marketplaces are changing and it is up to us to keep up with the disruptions that technology brings, but for those of us who love the possibilities it brings this is a new beginning. Ugandans fall in line and where you do not understand ask away just like this customer did. After all what did Black Friday mean to you?








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