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Takealot CEO on what shapes e-commerce in SA

May 04 2017 18:10
Carin Smith

Cape Town - More and more South Africans are accepting e-commerce as a valid retail channel, according to Kim Reid, CEO of Takealot.

It is all about choices and e-commerce penetration is different in different retail categories. In SA, just like in the rest of the world, Takealot is seeing the electronics category becoming strong in e-commerce, for instance, he told Fin24 on Thursday.

Apparel is also obtaining a greater e-commerce presence and catching on in SA. Apart from more youngsters taking to e-commerce, Takealot is seeing the home and kitchen category becoming popular, as well as the purchase of baby goods (including nappies) and dog food. Food delivery is another focus for Takealot.

"We have always said this growth in e-commerce will happen in SA. It is not surprising, as it is convenient and one can access good service even via your mobile phone," said Reid.

In March Takealot announced that it received an investment of R960m from Naspers, following on earlier investments from both Tiger Global and Naspers in 2015.

READ: Trust a big factor for e-commerce in Africa

Reid expects the deal to be done in about two months' time. It is currently awaiting approval from the Competition Commission. Takealot filed a large merger notification with the Commission in anticipation of finalising the investment, which would make Naspers the majority shareholder in the company.

"The investment is a sign that Naspers believes in what we do and that we can grow the industry. We carry on as usual and try to improve day-to-day," said Reid.

He emphasised that Takealot has continued its growth since the merger with Kalahari in 2014. Its businesses include Takealot.com, fashion e-tailer Superbalist.com, restaurant food delivery service Mr D Food and point to point courier service Mr D Courier.

"We believe that to grow more we need money to reach scale, which takes time. We have a well-defined plan on how to become profitable in the foreseeable future," said Reid.

Geographically Takealot will be staying within the borders of SA as it still sees a lot of room to grow in the local e-commerce market. Reid explained that increasing mobile access has led to the greater ability to unlock the potential of e-commerce in the country.

"For customers the positive aspects of e-commerce include being able to compare prices online, receiving good service and having items delivered to your door - that is apart from saving time, a scarce commodity these days," said Reid.

"We believe in the Takealot brand and the Naspers investment will also help us to increase brand recognition and marketing."

- Takealot is part of Naspers, the owner of Media24, Fin24's parent company.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

takealot  |  kim reid  |  retail  |  tech  |  ecommerce
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