On Monday, November 11, Alibaba ran its Singles Day sale, and the numbers were nothing short of astounding.
The Chinese retailer announced total sales of $38,3 billion (around R565 billion) on the day, which included around $13 billion in the first hour alone.
Clearly, Takealot is not going to be able to compete with those sorts of numbers, but the company is still looking forward to a bumper 2019 Black Friday.
That’s next Friday, November 29, although many retailers will start running specials well before then.
In fact, Takealot is so confident that it’s expecting sales on the day to rise by as much as 80% from last year’s figures, with north of R350 million the target.
Takealot was the first retailer (although Shoprite also makes this claim) to launch Black Friday in the country in 2011. Back then online retail was still a fledgling market and the e-retailer was looking for a way to get people to seriously consider buying something online.
Founder and CEO Kim Reid acknowledges however that as much as the group depends on Black Friday, things have not gone to plan for almost every year it has held the sales promotion because for some or other reason, customers have struggled to transact through the site on the day.
The reasons for those struggles have varied, but Reid says this year the company is as prepared as possible for the volume of customers.
All engineering staff will be on hand throughout the day, and the number of call centre operators has also been increased from 380 to 750. Then there’s the warehouse, which needs to be on top form:
As part of its preparations, it has installed an automated sorting system that can distribute up to 14 000 parcels an hour at its 43 000m² warehouse in Kempton Park. This will enable it to service the more than two million deliveries expected this shopping season…
To ensure everything runs like clockwork on its side, Reid says Takealot has broken down all the processes regarding the buying, transporting, storing and selling of its 3.7 million products into as many steps as it can. This way the group can figure out how to constantly improve its performance.
It’s estimated that the company will ship an item every second, which is around 10 000 items an hour.
To have any idea of the scale of the operation, Moneyweb’s video tour may help. Heads up that there is no sound:
Not for the faint-hearted.
For those of you who don’t quite as much money tucked away as you would like, and are hesitant to bust out the credit card, a reminder that you can use a service like PayJustNow.
That means you can pay your purchase off over three months, in three easy, interest-free instalments – lovely.
Oh, and remember that just because you’re being told something is marked down by 50%, doesn’t mean it is.
Shop it like it’s hot.
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