Some Instagram vendors have blamed scammers for the skepticism shown by buyers on the platform, for the low patronage of their products.
Vendors of various products and services such as hair, clothes, gift and luxury items, furniture, beauty products and automobiles who spoke with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said making sales on the platform has become `harder’ due to the overwhelming scam pages.
A communication Expert, Mr Chucks Orjih said that Instagram, a contemporary social networking application, has become one of the most popular market places in recent times, mostly due to its visual based content ability.
“It is normal to see pages displaying items for sale with the use of videos and pictures, employing tags and promotions to attract the attention of buyers.
He however, alleged that these scam pages lure most customers with beautiful pictures of goods in stock and proceed to collect payment without delivering the goods, leaving the customers stranded.
The vendors stated that they have resorted to proving their genuineness by showing screenshots of testimonies of previous clients and relying on referrals most of the time.
A vendor, with instagram handle @Gravimaniac, and specialises in sales of phone cases, laptop covers and customised items, told NAN that it is difficult to convince buyers that a business page is genuine.
He added that because a lot of them have fallen into the traps of scammers, they ask for a lot of proof and go as far as refusing to pay until delivery is made.
He said, “The most prevalent issue is some customers insisting to pay on delivery, which is challenging as you need to have an upfront payment for quality jobs most of the time.
“But the customers have trust issues and having to convince customers that you are not a scam takes a lot”, Gravimaniac said.
Another vendor @accessoriesplusng, who deals on female clothing and accessories, said that it is painful how hard scammers have made business on Instagram.
She said that customers request evidence of previous sales and referrals which are now provided.
“Some people are skeptical and find it hard to patronise us, unlike how the platform boomed in past times.
However, some others believe us and patronise.
“We cannot deny the existence of scam vendors and it is because of this awareness that we try our best to present evidence,” @accessoriesplusng said.
Some shoppers told NAN that a lot of personal investigation is done to find out if the page is run by a scammer before purchase is made, which is stressful.
Other respondents said they have stopped buying goods from Instagram since the scam pages became prevalent; they rather buy physically or from certified shopping websites.
Miss Ariyike Biola, a hair stylist, said that she opts for referrals each time she wants to purchase hair products, as she has been scammed twice.
Biola said, “These days, I ask my friends where they get things from and contact the page owners.
“I don’t want a repeat of what happened to me before. I have paid for goods twice and not gotten them till date, the numbers stopped going and the pages disappeared.
“There are good pages but these days, it is extremely difficult to sieve the good onest. They have similar cajoling techniques,” she added.
Mr. Emmanuel Chinedu, a web developer, said he takes time to notice slight details before making an Instagram order, especially when he is not making ‘payment on delivery’.
According to him, although one cannot be too sure, there are certain things to look out for such as the consistency of information and the price.
“The prices on most scam pages are too good to be true sometimes and they harp on greed for ‘discount sales’.
“I pay attention to these details because I don’t want to give my money to scammers. I prefer ‘payment on delivery,” Chinedu said.
However, business motivation page @abujabusiness insists that although scam pages are becoming rampant, business is still thriving for genuine ones who promote their businesses properly.
“People just need better positioning and the scammers have less time for these extra details.
“As at January 2018, there are a total of about 800 million active users per month, over 40 billion photos shared on Instagram.
“So Instagram customer base is huge and provides direct pitching for businesses to relate with customers.
“Now every user is a prospective customer, every business owner is a prospective customer, it goes full circle,” @abujabusiness stated.
It stated further that page handling is important for customer trust and patronage adding that small businesses on Instagram, do not know how to do this properly most times.