Online retailer Takealot says that its 2017 Black Friday sale will be the biggest its ever had, with almost every product category on the site expected to host sales.
According to CEO, Kim Reid, over 15,000 products will be discounted starting on 24 November, with the majority seeing up 60% off the normal price tag, and some prices going as low as 70% and 80% off.
The retailer has dubbed its Black Friday weekend sale as the Blue Dot Sale, which will run for five days: from Black Friday on 24 November, through the weekend to Cyber Monday on 27 November. The retailer said it will then follow up with Takealot Tuesday on the 28th.
Noting a big rise in the number of mobile users, Reid said that Takealot would start with Black Friday deals earlier – from 20 November – with app-only exclusive deals.
Despite the struggling economy, and the tough year seen in 2017, Reid said that the company has not seen much of a slowdown during the year, and is only expecting volumes to increase over Black Friday and into the festive period.
The group said it expects volumes to increase by 50% compared to 2016, where sales reached R56 million. Black Friday has seen enormous growth in popularity in SA – 2016’s sales were up from R17 million in 2015, and way up from R1 million in sales in 2011 when it held its first Black Friday sale, it said.
According to Reid, technology products, fragrances and toys traditionally perform well on Black Friday, but the retailer is anticipating a spike across all categories.
“While the big ticket items like games consoles and TVs are popular as pre-Christmas buys, our highest volume sales on Black Friday are often driven by everyday consumables, like nappies, dog food and coffee,” he said.
In 2016, Takealot experienced some technical issues with the site being overloaded by eager shoppers, and transactions failing due to payment gateways (especially 3D Secure) buckling under the unprecedented transaction volumes.
South Africa’s banks have already said that they have been upgrading infrastructure, and have technical teams on standby to handle the expected spike. Takealot, meanwhile, says it is preparing for five times the traffic seen on a typical payday.
“Our checkout process ran into problems on last year’s Black Friday because the banks’ payment gateway fell over from the surge of online shoppers across the country. The combination of all the retailers running Black Friday sales meant that they simply couldn’t handle the volume of transactions,” Reid said.
For 2017, he said that the company is continuously making changes to its systems and processes to ensure it doesn’t leave customers disappointed.
“We’ve bolstered resources across the business – from our engineers and developers to customer service shopping assistants, warehouse staff to Takealot Delivery Team drivers, to manage the increase in volume,” he said.