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Switching to 3-day leadtime fulfillment

By Andrew Lynch · 14 June 2023

Takealot 3 day lead time changes

On the 1st of July, Takealot moves all sellers (with a few exceptions) to a 3-day leadtime. For many sellers, this is not a trivial change. Selling on a 3-day leadtime is no easy feat as it essentially requires sellers to fulfil any leadtime order the next day. However, the sellers who are able to put in place the processes to meet the 3-day leadtime should see increased sales as other sellers are squeezed out and due to conversion rates increasing.

The reduction in leadtime days has been happening over the last few years. The reason is simple, customers don’t buy products that are listed with longer leadtimes. A shorter leadtime results in higher conversion rates as e-commerce customers want products that are delivered to their doors quickly.

At Shopdeploy, we’ve seen a marked decrease in the number of leadtime orders on the Takealot Marketplace. Today leadtime orders comprise 20% of total marketplace sales vs 31% for the same period last year.

Keeping products “In Stock” on Takealot Marketplace is always the best option however, there are times when this is not possible. Leadtime enables sellers to list a much wider range of products on Takealot. We estimate that leadtime sales total R120m per month on the Takealot Marketplace, so increasing your product range and optimising your leadtime fulfilment process could help fuel growth in your business.

How does the 3-day leadtime work?

A better way to think about a 3-day leadtime is “next-day fulfilment”. Once you receive a leadtime order in the Takealot Seller Portal, are you able to have the order added to a PO and handed to the courier the next day? Following this rule of thumb will ensure that you can fulfil orders to the Cape Town or Johannesburg DCs within the 3-day timeframe.

3-day Lead Time Workflow

Day 0

It is the Day that a leadtime order appears in the Seller Portal. As soon as the clock ticks over midnight, Day 1 starts - even if the order is placed 1 minute before midnight.

Day 1

Your focus on Day 1 should be on picking and packing the order, creating a PO and making a booking on the Adaptris Booking Portal.

If handing the order to the courier, this should be done on this day as well

Day 2

This is the day the Shipment should arrive at your local Takealot DC or be in transit via linehaul to a DC.

If no PO or Booking has been created by 3 pm on Day 2, your leadtime will be suspended.

Day 3

Order is fully received by the Takealot DC and is prepared for delivery to the customer

Understanding leadtime suspensions

In the case of deliveries, your leadtime can be suspended as a result of a violation either of the following SLAs:

  1. Leadtime Order Cancellation Threshold is greater than 1%

    This metric is checked once a week by the Takealot Seller Compliance team, and if you cancel more than 1 percent of your Leadtime orders you will violate the SLA.

  2. Late Leadtime Order Threshold is greater than 2%

    This metric is checked once a week by Takealot Seller Compliance team and if more than 2 percent of your leadtime orders arrive late at the DC you will violate that SLA.

Each time your breach the SLA, you’ll fall one rung down the “Leadtime Breach Suspension Waterfall”

  1. Warning
  2. 1-week leadtime suspension
  3. 2-week leadtime suspension
  4. 1-month leadtime suspension

How to ensure you meet a 3-day leadtime.

  • Use a preferred courier

    Takealot has several preferred couriers that they have partnered with. For the launch of the 3-day leadtime they are punting the Courier Guy daily line-haul between Cape Town and Johannesburg.

    The Courier Guy does not have a great reputation amongst sellers. Takealot seems aware of this and has made it clear that they are monitoring the performance of The Courier Guy closely. Though they explicitly mentioned that the onus still falls on the seller to ensure that The Courier Guy delivers on time.

    There are several preferred couriers that offer an overnight service between Cape Town and Johannesburg, so I’d recommend engaging with the other couriers before committing to The Courier Guy.

  • You’re not based in Cape Town or Johannesburg.

    Takealot has made specific exceptions regarding leadtime for sellers who are not based in Cape Town. Sellers living outside these areas will still have a 5-day leadtime enabled.

  • What happens if there is a problem while my parcel is with the courier?

    Seller Compliance will grant due date extensions on a case-by-case basis. If your parcel is going to be late due to issues with the courier, you can reach out to them using the seller support contact form.

  • What if you’re a small seller?

    This change clearly benefits the larger sellers since the 3-day leadtime change will squeeze out the small sellers who aren’t able to meet the fulfilment expectations or can’t stomach the increase in costs that come from having to ship to the DCs more frequently.

    If you’re a smaller seller, narrow down your product range to your best-selling products and ensure that these products are always in stock.

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