The Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition published new regulations which allow unlimited e-commerce in South Africa. Except for alcohol and tobacco related products, consumers are now free to purchase anything they need, desire, or just want from online vendors. The regulations require online retailers to give preference to locally manufactured goods.
Takealot CEO Kim Reid welcomed the decision to allow unrestricted e-commerce to take place. He said that strict rules must be adhered to but this was nothing new for the industry. Reid said that very strict health protocols have been in place for both the Takealot warehouses since the lockdown started in March.
E-commerce presents a much lower risk of Covid-19 infection than shopping malls, supermarkets or cafes as it allows for minimal person-to-person contact.
With regards to the new rule that local businesses should receive preference, he responded: “We are an enablement platform. This country sorely needs enablement platforms and places for businesses to operate freely, employ people, and make some money.”
Online retailers are however concerned about keeping up with the sudden increase in demand. This could be especially difficult since there is still limited manufacturing and import restrictions in place. Reid suggested that the government should look closely at what they want to achieve, and then act accordingly: “I am sure we are going to see a different frustration in their business in the next few weeks and months on the supply side.”
When it comes to Takealot’s own platform, Reid is confident they will be able to deliver between 95% and 96% of all parcels on time, and possibly even more.
“We gear ourselves every year for peaks like Black Friday and December. This is another great opportunity to build the business out, build the logistics business out, and offer more people more jobs,” he said.
The products which are likely to sell the best
According to Reid there has been pent-up demand for many products because of the lockdown restrictions, and he gave predictions on which products he expects to sell the best.
- TVs will be the most popular item to start with.
- PlayStations will follow closely,
- and toys are going to be in high demand.
- Large appliances like fridges, washing machines, tumble dryers, and stoves are going to be in high demand because of breakdowns during the lockdown.
“Up to now, it has been such a difficult period to try to pick and choose what you are selling and to make sense of the regulations. Now we do not have to make sense of the regulations, we can just sell everything,” Reid said.