The impending launch of Amazon Australia was widely tipped to happen today. This would have seen it coincide with the Black Friday shopping frenzy to maximise hype and sales.
Despite a brief appearance in the early morning, there's still no sign of Amazon's revamped storefront. At this stage, it seems extremely unlikely that we'll see it reappear this week. Here's what you need to know.
Amazon's soft launch is set for tomorrow afternoon. This means that you will soon be able to buy everything from food to electronics without paying exorbitant international shipping fees. As the launch inches closer, more and more questions are being answered about Amazon’s arrival in the Great Southern Land. We’ve rounded up everything you need to know.
Amazon.com.au: The website's current status
The Amazon.com.au website still shows the same Kindle shopfront that has been online since 2013. While it's possible to get a sneak peak of the items Amazon will be selling, attempting to purchase non-Kindle products just takes you to the front page.
The Amazon launch date that wasn't
You're probably wondering why vast swathes of the Australian media (including Lifehacker) claimed that the site would launch on November 23 or 24. This date wasn't just mindless conjecture - it came straight from the horse's mouth.
In an email sent to Marketplace sellers, Amazon said it would 'soft launch' the site at 2pm AEST yesterday. However, as we noted in our original coverage, this was only a "testing phase" open to "a small number of customers".
The whole point of this soft launch was to ensure third-party sellers were adequately prepared for the site's official opening. Subsequently, the window of operation was kept deliberately small.
So when is the Amazon launch date?
All signs currently point to next week. We've been in constant correspondence with Amazon's Aussie reps, but they've been unable to provide us with a concrete launch date. (And even if they did, we wouldn't be allowed to tell you until the embargo lifts.)
Our money would be on Thursday or Friday (November 30 and December 1, respectively). This gives Amazon a few extra days to iron out any kinks and prepare favoured media for the impending launch.
In addition, online shoppers tend to be more active in the latter half of the week. Amazon will want the launch sales figures to be as large as possible for obvious PR reasons and every cent helps.
Personally, we think it makes sense that Amazon skipped Black Friday. The company obviously wants to make a big splash when it opens. A Black Friday launch would have seen it lumped in with a bunch of unrelated deals. Plus, it would have created false price expectations for shoppers unfamiliar with Black Friday.
In any event, next week still gives Amazon plenty of time to capitalise on the Christmas shopping period. Watch this space!
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