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Takealot seeking to avoid repeat of Black Friday ‘cardiac arrest’

‘Every year is a different challenge and there are a lot of moving parts.’

South Africa’s largest online retailer, the Naspers-controlled Takealot, is working hard to ensure its website stays up on the Black Friday sales day, which happens this year on November 23.

The e-retailer suffered serious downtime last year (and the year before last) when its systems couldn’t handle the volumes thrown at them.

But Julie-Anne Walsh, Takealot’s chief marketing officer, said on Thursday that the company has invested significantly in its systems and processes to ensure there are no repeat of the “cardiac arrest” that befell the site in 2017.

Walsh said Takealot has hired “some of the best engineers and developers in the country to ensure we spent this year on scaling projects”. Beyond IT systems, it is also bulking up on its logistics teams in its warehouses and on its delivery routes to ensure customer orders don’t pile up.

But she added: “Every year is a different challenge and there are a lot of moving parts … It’s never the same thing that goes wrong. Every year, we are floored by something new.”

Last Black Friday, the enormous amount of website traffic exposed bugs that weren’t revealed in prior testing. “That hindered us in routing network traffic to the right parts of our system. So, obviously we have spent time making sure that won’t happen again. We are making sure we test as much as we can, every component of the system, but Black Friday comes with its own set of challenges every year. It’s like studying for an exam, and Black Friday is our exam day.”

75% growth

Even Amazon.com and Flipkart have experienced downtime this year on their big sales days, so anything could happen — even with extensive testing, Walsh said. “The metal in our measure will be how quickly we can come up again if we do go down, and how elegant that solution will be.”

Takealot expects website traffic to be 75% higher on Black Friday this year than in 2017. Gross merchandising volume is expected to rise 2.2 times compared to 2017’s figure of R87 million. “We have already ramped our delivery teams for Black Friday.”

Takealot’s Blue Dot Sale will run for five days, from Black Friday until the day after Cyber Monday.

It was previously reported that Takealot is planning to build a customer distribution centre on the bridge over the N1 in Midrand, north of Johannesburg. Walsh said this facility won’t be ready in time for Black Friday and hinted that the company will make a detailed announcement about its plans in this regard early in the new year.

Walsh said the bulk of Takealot orders come from Gauteng, with about 45% of overall volume, followed by the Western Cape at 25% and KwaZulu-Natal at 13%. — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media

This article was originally published on TechCentral here

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“2.2 times compared to 2017’s figure” means 120% growth year-on-year ..for anyone who own listed property shares/REITS watch out for the online world to eat the physical world (old school shopping centres). See Amazon effect in the US.

South Africans have been in love with listed property, prob because it *massively* outperformed the JSE all share (equity index) over the last 30 years. Cumulative since Dec 1999 property/SAPY gave you approx 1011% vs equity/ALSI 437%. But anchoring on this past success is far from wise; there’s no guarantees for a repeat-performance. Property came off a historically low base for a variety of political and economic reasons (the industry ‘unbundled’ with ridiculously attractive valuations from insurance companies into what we know now as the ‘evolved’ listed REIT market).

Not to say property won’t give you good returns going forward – physical stores are still necessary for a component of shopping, and all-sector property development may still grow if SA gets its growth back on track ..but its just important to realise that retail property landscape has changed, and anchoring off historic performance could be dangerous.

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