It takes a leap of faith to buy something online from a buyer you do not know. On OLX, there is no system yet to rate the sellers or for people to post public feedback about a seller (seller profile with ratings and such).. come to think of it, that is a suggestion for product improvement!
Anyway, if you are browsing for a product, what kind of information will help you determine if the seller is genuine or not, and if the product is genuine or not?
When I bought a laptop earlier this year using OLX, I first browsed through the posts on computers looking for the laptop that fit the specifications I was looking for. Obviously, if a laptop has no specifications listed, there was no point in further giving the ad a second glance. So if you are a seller, put as much information as you can in the description field. If you can’t describe your item in as many words, then many pictures from many different angles will do.
I just did the search above and here are tips for the buyer and seller alike:
- At least one picture is a must if anyone is going to take you seriously! If you are a buyer, don’t give any product without a pic a second glance. If the seller cannot take their time to show you even a single picture of their item, why would you take them seriously?
- Put as much information as you can into the title. At first glance, there are some ads I can just look at and get the specifications for the laptop I need from the title.
- If it is too cheap, think twice! How about that laptop for 7,500? Maybe the owner should have specified that it is 10 years old and runs on Windows 2000 and it would then make sense!
So someone can have all the pictures and a beautiful description, and leave their contact which you can easily reach them. But what else can you use to determine if a seller is to be trusted?
I have just noticed that you can check out a seller’s history once you have opened a specific ad. There is an option to see what else they are selling or have already sold. So you can’t see their rating (yet), but at least you get a glimpse into their history.
Sometimes the people using the site are individuals with no previous sales, others are companies selling products and may have lots of previous ads. This is better because the companies/shops probably have an address which you can visit and check out the products. The laptop I bought on OLX was being sold by some young guys who owned a shop where they refurbished imported (used) laptops. So get as much information as you can about a seller, and if you are a seller, provide as much information as you can about your product(s) and I bet you will sell more and faster.
What ads have stood out for you in your online shopping experiences in Kenya?