Local online retailer Takealot held an event in Midrand earlier today to announce the launch of its new 25-plus pickup points across the country.

The Midrand location, found at the Big Bird Petroport on New Road is the flagship pickup point for Takealot, with the company also adding that they plan to open up a further 25 in the coming year.

There are two entrances, on either side of the dual carriageway, which means that commuters travelling from Pretoria to Johannesburg and vice versa on the N1.

“Currently, about 150 000 to 160 000 cars travel along the highway per day. Our Takealot Pickup Point is easy to access for motorists travelling north or south on the N1. The entire site has been revamped to allow customers to stop for petrol and groceries while collecting their orders from us,” notes CEO Kim Reid of the new flagship location.

Takealot is particularly excited about this pickup point as it utilises a mix of automation and technology in order to help customers collect their orders as quickly as possible. While the company is not making any firm promises, they say the turnaround time from scanning your QR code or entering your PIN number confirming your order’s availability, to signing and collecting, should take around two minutes.

“The Midrand Pickup Point is designed to ultimately support more than 7 000 collections per day, catering for both Takealot and Superbalist customers. It’s an advanced customised warehouse management system that can cope with large volumes of collections quickly,” he says.

We were on hand to try out the process ourselves, and it took less than that, but then again conditions could be far different once the location is fully up and running with customers.

Along with pickups, the new points will also serve as a drop-off area for returns.

The ecommerce platform, which includes Superbalist too, also has big plans for the pickup points, explaining that they expect 10 percent of orders in the greater Johannesburg area to be pickups instead of deliveries. This is also a similar percentage that Takealot has experienced with its Cape Town locations.

“We understand that customers prefer alternatives to delivery and having specified locations for both collection and returns at a time convenient for them is an added benefit,” concludes Reid.

Whether Johannesburg customers find the pickup points as handy as their Cape Town counterparts, remains to be seen, but the first impression is that it’s a very slick-looking setup.