Takealot takes flak over Black Friday deals

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 29 Nov 2019
Takealot CEO Kim Reid.
Takealot CEO Kim Reid.

Consumers have taken to social media to slam local online retailer Takealot over its Black Friday discounts.

Most are crying foul that they did not get any significant deals they had expected from the e-commerce company.

The Black Friday frenzy gripped SA starting at midnight as consumers expected to take advantage of the best deals they could get.

However, this wasn’t the case for some.

Takealot announced its Blue Dot Sale from 29 November to 3 December, which it said it offered shoppers up to 60% on technology products, TVs, appliances, toys, and gaming products.

It said during the Blue Dot Sale, new deals will also be added daily and will cover the Black Friday weekend, Cyber Monday, and Takealot Tuesday.

Speaking to ITWeb recently, Takealot CEO, Kim Reid, said last year, the e-commerce site gained an average of between 10 000 and 15 000 new users a day, during the Black Friday, Cyber Monday period, and this year it is hoping for a 40% increase in new users.

Takealot says its Black Friday gross merchandise value grew 125% from 2017 to 2018, with orders up by 127%, generating revenue of R196 million in 2018. This year, SA’s biggest shopping site is eyeing an estimated R350 million in revenue.

Rip off

However, some of its customers were not happy today, venting their frustrations on social media with one going as far as branding the online retailer “crooks”.

“…Takealot is ripping off people with this black Friday nonsense 2 months back I bought a 64gb SD card for R159, now on black Friday it's R169, Takealot says previous price is R466 #Takealot #BlueDotSale [sic],” said one shopper on Twitter.

“#Takealot lol I'm ALWAYS shopping on Takealot and the items I’m seeing that are now apparently marked down for black Fridays their ‘Blue dot sale’ are the very same items that have been marked down for months. I love Takealot but now they are taking us for a ride,” [sic] another one complained.

Another one lamented: “Guys #Takealot robs people EVERY BLACK FRIDAY. They increase prices, they take R1 off their ‘deals’. Don't do it. Check out One Day Deals maybe. Takealot are complete crooks! They pulled this stunt last year as well. Be careful.” [sic]

The other one tweeted: “#Takealot #BlackFriday2019 what a wow. I bought this watch early this year by R205 ....Today is BlackFriday n they selling it ka R350. where is 41% discount mo?” [sic]

Pricing queries

In response, Takealot says: “We encourage shoppers to get in touch with us directly should they have any pricing queries so that we can investigate these on an individual basis. We take this very seriously.”

On some products being queried, the e-commerce company says Helicute Petrel WiFi drone is available on through two different Takealot Marketplace sellers – Helicute (R299) included in the Blue Dot Sale and Simplicity Online (R879) which is not part of the Blue Dot Sale.

The company says marketplace sellers are responsible for deciding and setting prices of their products on the Takealot platform.

It explains that the Helicute Drone is on promotion on the Blue Dot Sale which is why its price is set lower than the non-promotional Simplicity Online Drone.

Takealot adds that the SanDisk 64GB product is not part of the Blue Dot Sale. The first example at R159 price may have been taken during a previous promotion which is why the current price (R169) is higher, it says.

The retailer says the Russell Hobbs Satin jug blender was on promotion (R599) as a part of the Blue Dot Sale.

“Unfortunately, all of the deal stock sold out prior to the shopper completing their order. This resulted in the price reverting to its non-Blue Dot Sale price in check out.

“Blue Dot Sale deals are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and deal stock is only reserved once payment is received. Once a deal sells out, it will, unfortunately, no longer be available at the Blue Dot Sale deal price.”

On the Berlinger Haus cookware set, it says: “This product is sold via a Takealot Marketplace seller. Marketplace sellers are responsible for deciding and setting prices of their products on the Takealot platform.

“We have reached out to the seller and requested that they relook their list price to ensure it is correct.”