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Takealot co-CEO Willem van Biljon says the Naspers-owned South African ecommerce platform is not immediately considering expanding to other African countries.
“It is something we think about quite often, but the timing is not right for us right now. We have a lot to do. We are growing very fast here (in South Africa), there is lots we can still improve on and do better here and grow on here. There are lots of other challenges in other countries, from supply-chain logistics, all kinds of things,” he told a crowd of close to 1000, who attended a Startup Grind Cape Town event at Workshop 17 in the city last night.
Van Biljon said a key advantage in being an ecommerce platform is the amount of data that the company collects — about 10 million data points on customers each day.
“So that’s a huge amount of data that you can go figure out what the trends are, how it works, what people are doing, what they like, what they do not like,” he added.
However while Takealot is using artificial intelligence on their platform, he reckons that much of the expected changes have been “overhyped”. “Should the species be quivering in their boots? I don’t think so,” he says.
Takealot co-CEO Willem van Biljon says Takealot doesn’t have any immediate expansion plans for the continent
So does Takealot accept Bitcoin? Van Biljon says the ecommerce platform does indeed — through certain payments partners like Payfast. However, he wasn’t sure if any transactions via Bitcoin had been concluded.
Ultimately the best way to grow an ecommerce business is through an avid focus on serving the customer, he said.
“Don’t care about your shareholders, don’t care about shareholder returns, don’t care about acquisition, don’t care about exit — care about customers, and the rest will look after itself.”
In the end making sure you give customers want is what makes a business grow, he added.
“We try very very hard and we don’t always get it right… we try very hard to ensure that what we promise customers is what we deliver,” he says.
Featured image: Stephen Timm