Why the Kalahari brand was discontinued

The last glimpse of the Kalahari website on April 30 before it was shut down. (Gareth van Zyl)
The last glimpse of the Kalahari website on April 30 before it was shut down. (Gareth van Zyl)

Johannesburg - E-commerce company takealot has shed more light on why a decision was taken to discontinue the Kalahari brand.

The kalahari.com website was shut down on Thursday night, ending the brand’s 17-year history and sealing a merger deal with former rival takealot.

Web traffic on kalahari.com has since also been redirected to takealot.com.

Meanwhile, the business of kalahari.com has been transferred into Takealot Online (Pty) Ltd with media company Naspers and US investment firm Tiger Global Management each owning 42% of the new merged entity. Management owns the rest of the company, according to a statement released by takealot on Monday.

Kalahari has been synonymous with e-commerce in South Africa since 1998.

Takealot has explained to Fin24 that a decision to discontinue the Kalahari brand was not “an easy one to make”.

“When taking this decision we looked at the momentum of the two businesses and brands,” the company told Fin24 in an emailed response to a request for comment.  

“It may surprise many but takealot.com continues to grow at a tremendous rate and passed Kalahari traffic in December/January 2015. The decision to change the brand was therefore one based upon pure momentum,” said the company.

The e-commerce business has further explained that the decision to close the Kalahari website was also “based upon economics and the continued ability to innovate into the future”.

“Takealot’s website is developed internally while Kalahari’s is built using various licensed platforms which are costly and difficult to innovate on,” the company said.

Takealot is no stranger to name changes though.

The business was previously known as ‘Take2’. But takealot.com was officially launched in June 2011 following the acquisition of Take2 by the Tiger Global Management and Kim Reid in October 2010. Kim Reid is currently the co-CEO of takealot.

Subsequently, takealot received a $100m investment injection from Tiger Global Management in 2014.

And after its successful merger with Kalahari, takealot is upbeat about its future prospects.

“Although the takealot brand is not as old as that of Kalahari's it has a very credible growth and customer service track record that we are very proud of,” takealot told Fin24. 

“Takealot has been built upon the simple concept that the customer comes first and we will continue to focus on the customer while we build the brand and business.  We welcome all ex Kalahari customers and hope that they will find a new home with us,” added the company.

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