SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa’s e-Commerce retailer Takealot Group has appointed Mamongae Mahlare as its new Group Chief Executive Officer, effective 1 October 2021.

Mahlare joins the Takealot Group from Illovo Sugar South Africa where she was Managing director.

As a seasoned business leader, Mahlare brings with her a strong balance between operational experience, strategy, innovation, engineering, and brand, having previously worked at organisations such as SABMiller, Unilever and Coca-Cola.

“The opportunity to lead a technology-centric, innovative, South African champion that has created thousands of jobs and enabled so many SMMEs over the past 10 years is both exciting and humbling. I look forward to working with the teams to take this great company to even greater heights,” said Mahlare.

Her appointment follows the announcement that Kim Reid, founder of the company will transition to Chair the Naspers-controlled online retailer, during the course of this year, where he will focus on the group’s longer-term growth ambitions.

“We have searched far and wide to find a leader who has the experience, skills and ambition to write the next chapter for the Takealot Group.

“I’m excited about this next phase and, as Chairman, I am very much looking forward to partnering with Mamongae to continue to grow the business,” said Kim Reid.

Bob van Dijk, Group CEO, Prosus and Naspers reiterated saying, “We’re delighted that Mamongae is joining the group at such a pivotal time for Takealot.

“The business is in great shape and ready for its next phase of growth under a strong leadership team. Takealot is an excellent South African business with much more to come.”

The Takealot Group owns online retailers and, as well as delivery service Mr D Food.

Along with Mahlare’s appointment, the etailer has also appointed Tessa Ackermann as Group Chief Financial Officer.

Other key executive appointments include: Alex Wörz is appointed CEO, Mr D Food, replacing Devin Sinclair; Rayhaan Samsodien has been appointed CFO, Mr D Food; Octavius Vermooten is appointed CFO,; and Jurgen Hanekom is appointed CFO,

Frederik Zietsman was previously appointed CEO, in April 2021.

“Seeing all the new appointments coming from within the group excites me as it points to the fact that the business creates opportunities for people to grow and progress,” said Mahlare.

KFC South Africa launches WhatsApp ordering service

Meanwhile still in the Ecommerce arena, KFC South Africa has launched Chat Commerce, a chat-ordering platform that will allow customers to place an order using WhatsApp.

“As a consumer-led organisation, we understand the limitations that high data costs can pose in transacting online. WhatsApp, with its lower data use, is the perfect channel to mitigate this.”

KFC SA digital and e-commerce director – Nicholas Duminy

The platform which is billed by KFC as a first in SA’s quick-service restaurant market is 100% automated and leverages natural language processing.

Its launch is part of the fast-food restaurant’s commitment to ease food ordering and provide convenience.

“As a consumer-led organisation, we understand the limitations that high data costs can pose in transacting online. WhatsApp, with its lower data use, is the perfect channel to mitigate this.

“Connecting with, and catering to, the youth market has always been a top priority. The KFC chat-ordering channel is a great way to do this innovatively,” KFC SA digital and e-commerce director Nicholas Duminy said.

At this stage the WhatsApp ordering is available for “click and collect” only with no payment options.

However, KFC has indicated that it is working on having a payment option via the platform where customers can input their card details and integrate delivery as part of this channel roll-out

The WhatsApp chat-ordering uses guided prompts, emoji-embedded facilitation, and natural language processing to guide customers through the ordering process.

All users have to do is answer the questions by replying with a number, a word or an emoji.

According to Duminy, the WhatsApp strategy is one of access, ease and retention that will put KFC online ordering in the hands of as many South Africans as possible and ensure the customer experience is seamless.

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