South African retailers, it’s time you learned how to do Black Friday properly


When I woke up this morning I was expecting to see a flurry of tweets about new purchases folks had made on Black Friday.

Instead what I saw were complaints that once again online retailers had failed to account for the amount of folks that would be heading to their websites.

The biggest faux pas was caused by Takealot, which has spent the last month conducting interviews with press about how prepared it was for the big day. Aside from the press coverage the retailer has advertised that it would give customers massive savings.

Those of you that believed that promise were likely met with a screen that looked like this morning.

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How does an online store get “full”?

Setting aside the questionable use of “our store is full right now” given that many shoppers can’t access the store our question is: how did this happen again?

Takealot’s website going down on Black Friday has become something of an annual occurrence and one would think that some lessons would have learned by now.

That having been said a number of retailers managed to stay online.

Raru, Loot, Bid or Buy and many others managed to not only stay online but also offer competitive deals.

How did these sites manage to stay up and functional while the likes of Takealot floundered? In a word – planning.

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“We generally plan our infrastructure requirements well in advance and don’t just plan for once off events like today,” chief executive officer at Bid or Buy, Jaco Jonker told htxt.africa.

“We like to take a view on growth and plan our resources accordingly so we don’t get caught out by these anomalies like Black Friday,” added Jonker.

Best made plans

While many of us demand a flawless experience all the time the simple fact of the matter is that sometimes things beyond your control can go wrong.

This is more than likely what happened in the case of Takealot but until we know more that’s a matter of speculation.

“Some things are not always within ones control and we have already had issues with credit card acceptance. It seems Iveri/Nedbank are taking strain and has affected a number of our credit card payments but at least it is intermittent,” Jonker tells us.

In an instance such as payment methods failing Bid or Buy has planned for an event such as this by allowing customers to use alternative payment methods. The retailer also allows customers to pay for items up to seven days after securing them at the price they want them.

The lesson is clear then, retailers need to plan better. As recently reported by Google – 65% of South Africans are now online and with the prospect of saving a bit of dough it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that many South Africans woke up this morning with a desire to spend their pay cheque.

Here’s hoping that next year’s Black Friday goes a bit smoother if it happens at all.

Be sure to check out our  list of retailers running Black Friday specials

[Image – CC 0 Public Domain Pixabay]

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