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Black Friday filled with fails

Black Friday the world over – including South Africa – delivered its fair share of fails, despite extensive preparations, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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The deal is unbelievable – 70% off – but you’re lucky if you can take advantage of it. That’s the story for hopeful shoppers visiting one of South Africa’s leading online retailers, Superbalist. Discounts for Black Friday range from 40% to 70%, but by Friday afternoon numerous products were marked sold out.

Payment processors, too, seemed to go down frequently. According to PayFast, FNB experienced some authorisation challenges, which affected all major payment processors, and sometimes rejected transactions – even ones that had nothing to do with Black Friday. Payments to both Vodacom for bills and SABC for TV license fees could not be processed at various times. Later in the day, the problems seemed to have been resolved.

In 2018, Black Friday frustration with Takealot.com – by far the country’s largest online retailer – was largely a result of payment processors unable to cope with demand. Kim Reid, CEO of Takealot, told Gadget that the company had worked closely with providers this year, and made sure it had both technological and human capacity in place.

“During Black Friday 2018, our scaling preparations across all of our platforms ensured that the site remained online and performed well under the extensive load. Unfortunately, our third-party credit card payment provider was not able to withstand the increased volumes, causing payment issues for some customers, which were out of our control. Due to this the credit card payment gateway was intermittently deactivated while our provider restored their service.

“During this time shoppers were encouraged to make use of other payment methods and our team worked through all affected transactions, manually authorising orders where payments were made but did not reflect on our site. 

“To avoid a repeat this year, we have worked closely with payment providers throughout the year. They will be deeply involved over season, and have also worked with us on load testing their systems. Additional providers have also been added.”

Visit the next page to read about the infrastructure that was put in place to cope with the demand of the shopping season.

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