Takealot Marketing Strategy

Takealot Marketing Strategy 2023: A Case Study

Takealot. South Africa’s biggest eCommerce store. This eCom giant’s metrics are what marketing dreams are made of. 

How did Takealot go from newly launched to a household name? Join us for a deep dive into Takealot’s Marketing Strategy and how you can achieve the same results. 

Who is Takealot.com?

In June 2011, Takealot.com emerged onto the South African e-commerce scene, following the acquisition of Take2, an existing e-commerce business, by the US-based investment firm Tiger Global Management and Kim Reid in October 2010. Today, Takealot.com reigns as the leading e-commerce retailer in South Africa, standing as a beacon of innovation and growth within the African e-commerce landscape.

Since its inception, the company has rapidly expanded its operations, establishing warehouses in major South African cities and expanding its product offerings to encompass a wide range of categories, including electronics, lifestyle products, media, gaming, and fashion.

A pivotal year for Takealot.com was 2014. The company secured a $100 million investment from Tiger Global, enabling it to acquire Mr Delivery, a leading food delivery service. This acquisition not only strengthened Takealot.com’s logistics capabilities but also introduced its own app-based on-demand food delivery service. Additionally, the company merged with Superbalist.com, a curated design and fashion website, and announced a merger with Naspers-owned Kalahari.com, solidifying its position as Africa’s premier online shopping destination.

Today, Takealot.com stands as South Africa’s largest and most innovative e-commerce retailer, employing over 2,000 people. With customer experience at the heart of everything they do, Takealot.com strives to provide exceptional service from the moment a customer visits their website or app to the moment their order is safely delivered.

The Setting

In 2011, South Africa was in the midst of digital growth. There wasn’t a lot of competition in terms of eCommerce, and if so, the inventory was quite small. Thus, Takealot was borne, and the model was simple:

  • Sell a wide variety of products 
  • Sell these products at competitive prices 
  • Make sure delivery is fast. Happy customer = happy life 
  • Convenient shopping experience

Takealot also offers features that make it a popular choice for South Africans:

  • Secure payment options
  • Customer reviews
  • Returns policy 

You may look at this and say, well, yes! This looks standard for an eCommerce site. Well, in 2011, it was groundbreaking. Takealot had a first-mover advantage in the market. 

How Takealot has evolved 

Looking at Takealot, it is hard to imagine where they have come from and how they have shaped how they look and operate today.

It’s very easy to compare yourself to brands like Takealot and want to be like them, but forget there is a process to grow and change.

Check out how these okes looked 12 years back, it’s almost unrecognisable.

Takealot.com 2011

Anyone for some cringy stock imagery 😛

It’s hard to imagine with a site looking like this they moved any inventory at all!

This is an important reminder that having a quality business model, good service delivery, and products go a long way. 

Performance > Pretty

Takealot.com 2013

Took them two years to switch to the newer, fresher logo. 

You can also start to see the navigational header we know today shine through.

Also, some clever additions like the internal promo banners, trustworthy banners highlighting guarantees, return policies, and of course, the all-so-popular Free delivery.

Takealot.com – 2014

Some small changes that made a massive impact!

The main theme colours were updated to the brand colours, which gave the site a fresh and vibrant look and feel.

Takealot.com – 2023

Fast forward 9 years later, and we have the Takealot.com site we all love and know today.

It’s important to note that small incremental changes go a long way, you’ll notice the site gradually transformed over time and didn’t undergo harsh mega changes overnight. 

Some key points of what Takealot does brilliantly that others could learn from:

  • Above-the-fold content (they make sure that all the important bits are always visible without scrolling an inch)
  • Easy navigation header to find what you are looking for
  • Not too many CTA’s (Flooding your page with too many CTA’s could drop your conversion rates)
  • CTA’s are all different colours and really pop out from the brand colours. Look at “Daily Deals” and “Shop Now”
  • Internal Banner Promos (They don’t run AdSense on their store, and so should no other ecommerce store, run your own internal promos)
  • Seamless checkout process. (All distractions disappear as soon as you enter the checkout process allowing for less opportunity for abandoners.)

App Stack 

So what app stack does a giant like Takealot use?

You would be surprised by some of the familiar tools they use, which many other small e-commerce brands use too.

Website Apps 

For their website build their site is built on React.js, which for a novice user could be challenging to use. It doesn’t come as a surprise that they use this platform for their choice.

WordPress may be more cost-effective for smaller websites with less customization. However, React can offer cost advantages for complex, highly customised projects.

Analytics Apps

They have all the regular apps/tools running to track and manage their analytics.

Their Tiktok, Facebook, and Google Analytics trackers suggest they are running Meta, Tiktok, and Google Ads, which will be no surprise at all. 

It is interesting to note that we can’t pick up a LinkedIn tag which suggests they aren’t actively advertising on Linkedin. LinkedIn CPC (Cost Per Click) is typically a little higher and might not align with their margins and/or goals

They also run Crazy Egg which is crucial for understanding their user behaviour and optimising their website for a better customer experience.

They also use Adjust which could be for various reasons but most likely to assist with attribution and ROI reporting.

Other Apps

Making sure their site is optimised for speed they use Cloudflare as their CDN provider.

Tag Manager to manage and deploy their containers and tracking codes conveniently.

And they use UPS as their shipping app provider.

Traffic Insights 

A recent analysis of this eCommerce giant’s traffic highlights that Direct, Paid Search and Organic search are the top drivers of traffic to the site. 

The average engagement time is between 7 minutes and 12 minutes, where users navigate an average of 6 pages per session. This indicates that users find Takealot’s UI/UX easy and aligns with users who are researching a product and eventually make their purchase. 

It shouldn’t surprise you that the majority of the traffic are millennials and Gen X’s followed by Gen Z taking third. This data highlights the benefits of eCommerce and online purchases and reinforces that Takealot entered the market at a crucial time in internet and marketing. 


Let’s take a deeper look at how Takealot receives its traffic. 

SEO insights 

You would expect that Takealot’s authority score would sit closer to 100. That’s not the case, the authority score is sitting at 69, which puts things into perspective for smaller eCom businesses; scoring a 10 isn’t so bad. 

According to SEMRush, Takealot holds the majority of the traffic share in South Africa, competing against Makro, Amazon, and Price Check. Amazon is ranking for 700,000 keywords with lower volumes of traffic in the region, whereas Takealot is ranking for half those terms but receiving 7 million users to the site. 

Overall organic traffic was consistent with a slight upward trend; however, from December 2022, the traffic volumes decreased with a steady downward trend. 

The traffic decrease can be attributed to the multiple Google Core updates, particularly focused on E-E-A-T, AI content, and recent core updates, with helpful content affecting the site significantly decreasing overall traffic by 50% in the past year. As such, the branded traffic trend is seen to grow in proportion to the decrease, which indicates that the loss in volumes is on non-branded terms. 

SEMrush also shows that 43.7% of traffic comes through from Branded terms and 56.3% from non-branded. 

This is surprising as you would expect a larger split towards non-branded term rankings.  Non-branded terms like “inverters” and “led lights” are notably receiving the highest volumes of traffic, which can be attributed to seasonality and the age of load shedding in South Africa. 

This does pose the question of seasonal non-branded terms and when brands should advertise their products. The evergreen approach is great, but focusing on top sellers per season will likely move the needle. 

Another interesting take-out is that according to SEMRush, the majority of their traffic comes from informational terms, second being transactional, indicating that their traffic comes from users who are not looking to purchase but more likely to find out information about the product.  

Looking at the organic distribution, we can see that even these big giants have terms between 4 and 100 in the SERPS. 

These insights help us understand how to position eCommerce stores in the SERPs and impact your marketing strategy. Branded terms continually take the win even with large brands, as they are the foundation of your business and remain consistent when unexpected core updates happen. Once again, we are reminded that relevance is king, and eCommerce sites get penalised by Google if the content is AI-written and not meeting the standards of E-E-A-T. 

PPC Insights 

Although Takealot has a steady stream of organic traffic, they are still fairly bullish with their PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing.

Based on the tools at our disposal they estimate a monthly spend of approximately R400k on Google Ads per month, but we estimate this to be much much more.

They go through a lot of effort to protect their brand name by bidding on their brand keywords as expected. 

See below a rough sample of some paid keywords they are targeting.

Certain keywords seem like a bit of a waste in ad spend and you would imagine they run their ship a bit more tightly than that. Bidding on terms like “Take” can be quite inefficient. The word “take” gets searched a whopping 9.9k times per month and I can’t help but wonder how much rand this could cost them per month.

They are of course protecting their brand terms, which could be debatable if it is necessary to spend on as this could amount to a suitable amount and there isn’t much competition competing for this traffic.

They are also running ads against competitors like Amazon to creatively steal some of their market share. 

Although it is surprising a trademark policy has not blocked their ad from showing yet. This might be an issue once Amazon enters the SA market where this will then become a blocker for them to show this ad.

Other ads look stock standard, and kudos to them for running ads for the various products and departments for a convenient user experience and laser focussed targeting.

They also cleverly make use of dynamically generated headlines to run ads at scale with minimal effort.

Takealot also has an active remarketing campaign running on Google Ads. 

As soon as you engage with their site/products you can expect those products to follow you around.

Their Facebook Ads look extremely generic and are not truly special.

From generic headlines to generic products. Not much to rave about in this section.

Their main strategy, from what we can pick up is to drive traffic to their site likely (Informational) and to navigate them through the buyer journey via remarketing to eventually lead to a purchase (transactional).

Takealot’s digital growth has taught us that with some time and proper implementation, you too, can see exceptional digital growth in your business. Contact us to see how we can help you achieve success. 

Have any questions? Let us know in the comments below!

If you found this interesting let us know who you would like us to deep dive into next! 


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