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How to Shop Safely Online in Nigeria: Pro Tips

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Shop Safely Online in Nigeria

How to shop online safely in Nigeria. What you need to know and how to protect yourself. Have you ever been swindled, cheated, or taken advantage of when shopping online in Nigeria? If you have not I am sure you know someone – a family or friend this has happened to directly or indirectly. And I must say it’s a horrifying experience.

This did not happen to me directly because I have never loved shopping online only until now but it happened to my mum many years ago when online malls in Nigeria just began to make a wave and I still remember everything about that day. From the troubles of getting something else in place of the product, we ordered to having to call customer care for a refund to the outburst of anger that consumed me.

I remember it all vividly. This first painful experience made me learn and grow fast when it comes to shopping online in Lagos, Nigeria. Some of these safe tips I learned from my tech friends, some on the internet, and some I learned personally after using e-commerce platforms for a while.

These tips have worked for me which is why I am bold to share them today with you guys to just make sure you also are able to protect yourself online, especially keeping your money safe whilst you are shopping online in Nigeria.

Why Should You Consider Shopping Online?

Well, asides from the advantage of being able to order or buy from the comfort of your home or office, there are other benefits of shopping online in Nigeria which are:

A. Saves Time

Shopping online in Nigeria saves you time. How many hours do you usually spend on the road on a normal day if need to buy something (a product or groceries)? You spend 1 hour moving from your house to the mall, you spend another 30 minutes queuing to pay for what you bought, and spend another hour on your way back home. That is a total of 2 hours and 30 minutes.

This could even be worse depending on the location. Where you stay might even be much farther from the mall. Shopping online saves you all this. It gives you the ability to just shop on an e-commerce store and focus more on other important things and the goods get delivered to your doorstep.

B. Saves Stress

This is another reason why you should shop online in Nigeria. I don’t know how it is in other parts of Nigeria but we Lagosians do not joke with stress at all so we always look for anything or any option that will save us stress – because we spend an average of 2 hours every day in traffic.

So instead of stressing yourself with the Lagos traffic you can rather just order and get it delivered to you.

C. All-in-One Store

Another benefit of shopping online in Nigeria is the ability to order or buy everything you need online and get them to be delivered to you. A good example is when you need to buy clothing and accessories for your friend’s wedding. Instead of going to different malls or shops in Nigeria for suits, shoes, watches, and cuff links and at the end of the day not getting the exact product you want, you can just shop online.

There are so many benefits of shopping online in Nigeria. These are the benefits I know due to personal experience. Your own benefit can be similar to mine of different in some ways.

How to Shop Online Safely in Nigeria

For us to understand this better I will be giving some scenarios to explain the points well.

1. Check the Online Store URL

Checking your online mall URL is very important when it comes to shopping online safely in Nigeria. It is easy to be enticed by what you see in a product ad on Instagram and Facebook and then get easily ignorant about doing the right thing. It happens to us often. In fact, it still happened to me last week.

I saw a product I had been looking for a long time through an ad on Facebook and instantly I clicked the ads and was directed to the website to purchase the product. I was about to look at how I could pay before it dawned on me that I had not checked this particular mall URL. For those of us who don’t know, URL means “Uniform Resource Locator”.

It’s that bunch of letters that form a certain word or phrase with a .com .net or .org So when I checked the URL and detected that the URL looked tricky, not straightforward, I closed the online mall website. For example, if you see a website that has a funny URL like justshop.nopt.ji

You should be wary of it. The truth is; that most websites like that are usually made by scammers to get your debit card details and once you put in your card details, they will burgle your account and take all your money. Another thing you should also watch out for is if the website has a locked padlock sign next to its URL.

If it doesn’t have that sign if a locked padlock, it shows the website is not safe for you to put in your data (like your name, email, phone number, and lastly debit card details). Please be watchful with this when it comes to shopping online safely in Nigeria.

2. Check out Social Media Proof

Another way you can ensure your safety when shopping online in Nigeria is to check for social proof of the online mall you are about to buy from. This is making sure that at least a few people also know this online mall and can tell you a little bit about them – especially if the online mall is a foreign mall.

Ask people (your friends) who usually shop online about this online mall and its reputation. Are they eCommerce store that takes longer days to deliver your goods? Or they are online malls that have the reputation of always delivering the wrong product and just want to push it in your face. You need to really know all these so you can know how to deal with them.

This is what I did with a particular online mall in Nigeria (I do not want to mention the name). I do not pay immediately when I buy from them. I waited until the goods were delivered to my doorstep and I am sure they really brought what I ordered for. This is my advice to you. Create a league of friends that you know are regular online shoppers and make them your go-to guard anytime you want to shop online in Nigeria.

3. Demand for ‘Pay on Delivery’ Service

Paying on delivery is not an option but a necessity when it comes to shopping online safely in Nigeria. You can opt for this if you are shopping at regular online malls like Jumia and Konga so you should be able to apply this to unfamiliar online malls. I always prefer this option especially if I am buying expensive goods online and I want to be safe by all means.

If the particular eCommerce store does not accept this option I rather go to retail shops around to buy instead. I learned this from a friend of mine who was duped of over #450,000 for a camera he bought from an online mall from God knows where. He claimed this online mall he bought the camera from was an online mall in Nigeria. But no one among us seems to have heard about this mall in question.

After making our serious finding and tracing this online mall in question we discovered it was located in another continent and it was a scammer website. From then till now my friend has not been able to deal with his loss. So I think this is another option you should consider if you really want to shop online safely in Nigeria except you are very sure they will surely deliver or not bring you the wrong goods.

Another story that happened many years ago that I still remember vividly was when my mum bought some products at one of these popular online malls in Nigeria. She ordered an Android tablet and a power bank of a specific brand and they brought her a different product – What I call a substandard product.

However, this online mall in Nigeria later gave us all we wanted after so many complaints. Their bad customer service on the first day I knew them spoilt the relationship I was about to build with them. As we usually say in Nigeria “first impression counts”.

4. Get an Online Shopping Card

This is another tip that will save you a million naira when it comes to shopping online safely in Nigeria. I got this tip from a tech advisor when he shared with me the story of how his friend’s current account worth millions of naira was cleared in one night.

What basically happened was he used his main account master card to shop at a mall online not knowing that the mall was a scammer website and the maniacs cleared his account. My friend told me that if that friend of his had created a separate debit card for shopping probably this would not have happened to him or his loss would not be as much as that.

Creating a shopping debit card saves you from exposing your card details online to the wrong people – scammers. Even if the details fall into the wrong hands you can be sure it’s only the shopping cash inside that account that will be carted away not all your savings. And when the shopping cart is empty, you can always refund money into it before shopping.

5. Avoid Sharing your Bank Info

Finally, when it comes to shopping safely online in Nigeria your BVN is a very delicate number. It is like the master key to your house that can open all the rooms in your house. The moment you let it get into the wrong hands; your account can be emptied in 24 hours if you are lucky with traces and if you are unlucky without traces.

So you have to be careful who you share it with. Not even anyone in your family should have any idea of what the first 4 numbers of your BVN except maybe your wife. Avoid any malls that ask for the BVN in your bank accounts. As far as I am concerned they are all frauds. As regards shopping on social media, do not share your card details with any retailer trying to sell to you.

The best way to keep your money safe is to ensure that the goods are delivered to your doorstep first before you pay. So many online social media retailers have also formed the habit of bringing the wrong product or subsidized products to buyers’ doorstep. And I have witnessed so many call-outs on Twitter because of these – buyers asking for a refund of their money.

You do not want to be in this position – trust me so you just have to be careful and sensitive with your money.

6. Never Make your Shopping Cart Full

This tip might not really save you money when it comes to shopping online safely in Nigeria but it can sure save you many stresses. Even if you have any online shopping to do at once may be due to urgency, never do all that online shopping in one day at the same online shopping mall.

Because all the products might not come in one day – the day you need the products except because it is a black Friday and you want to make good use of the opportunity. I know life can be very tough with us trying to do so many things at once and still getting our needs. But let’s plan to get all we need and buy them when we are least desperate as this will always help to make the right decisions in buying and also help us stay far from the disappointments of these online malls.

Conclusion

The most important tip here as regards shopping online safely in Nigeria is that we should not get too familiar with buying on online platforms. The online platform should only serve as an avenue to be of help once in a while. Get up and experience what it is like shopping in real malls and not within the 4 corners of your computer or phone.

Shopping online safely in Nigeria is an advantage and should not be abused. That is all in this article. As usual, let me know if I missed any part of this article.

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Ralph Bamigboye is an Accountant. He is the owner of TheInfoWorth.com, NetWorthVerse.com and Finance Naija YouTube Channel. He has helped many individuals to start their businesses and make money online. How can he help you?

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