I often find it more convenient to buy some things online and ship to Nigeria, because you have access to a wider variety of items and sellers. The challenge used to be not having an online payment method that a Nigerian can use which is accepted outside, but that barrier is slowing being removed. Now you can shop on Amazon.com and as I recently discovered, also from its UK counterpart Amazon.co.uk.
I write from personal experience and so may make assertions that may not be accurate. I will appreciate your comments. I have bought many things from Amazon.com (based in the US) and they ship to Nigeria, except electronic products. It is very comforting for instance to want to read a particular book and not resort to lamenting the fact of those books not being found anywhere in Nigeria. If the book exists, Amazon has it and being in Nigeria is no obstacle. When I shop books from Amazon I chose the cheapest shipping option which means delivering via the Nigerian postal service (Nipost). It does not matter if I put my house address, it still goes to NIPOST and that is rather annoying. For one, once it leaves the US there is no way of tracking the item and when it gets to NIPOST you may not be informed until much later than you expected, and even then you will have to pay some charges NIPOST calls “customs”. The charges would depend on the declared value of the items. Despite the bad reputation NIPOST has had in the past, I can say I have not had any bad experiences of missing items. As Amazon once assured me that if items delayed beyond expectation eventually arrive. That is true also with NIPOST.
Amazon has one of the best customer services I have encountered. I once ordered a set of books and when it did not arrive long long long beyond the expected date, Amazon sent a replacement set for free and told me that should the first set arrive I could keep it with their compliments and may chose to donate them to a local library. They arrived!
On Amazon.com I used a VISA debit card issued by Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB).
I discovered Amazon.co.uk a few days ago when I wanted to test the Naira MASTERCARD also issued by GTB. It did not work on Amazon.com but the bank assured me it would work on Amazon.co.uk. It did not! The simple reason is that Amazon’s payment process does not give you a chance to enter the CVV code and so the payment fails. In any case, since I had already ordered the books, I added the VISA debit card and the payment went through. The best part was yet to come. I discovered that Amazon.co.uk has now shipped the item through DHL shipping and provided me with a tracking number! If that means avoiding passing through NIPOST, Amazon.co.uk is set to become my default option instead of their US counterpart.
What is left to find out is if Amazon.co.uk will ship electronics to Nigeria.
I’ll keep you posted.
Update: November 17, 2011 – It would seem that this website (owned by Nigerians) allows you to buy on several online sites you would otherwise not be able to use (Ebay, etc…) and pay in Nigeria and have them deliver to you. Amazon is included. I have not tried them, but you’re free to check them out here: http://circuitatlantic.com
Update August 5, 2013 – Amazon.com (the US site) now accepts Naira denominated MasterCard. What is more they now give you the charge in Naira (NGN) as you checkout. This is wonderful and hopefully soon they will start to ship electronics to Nigeria.