Amazon is potentially days away from launching its online retail service in Australia. 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.
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 decision to finally bring its online shopping platform to Australia is huge news. The US-based mega corporation has dominated every market it has chosen to enter, leaving CEO Jeff Bezos very rich and its huge customer base very satisfied (its employees haven't always been so lucky). If Amazon Australia can deliver on the holy trinity of product choice, speed and price, there's no reason to think Australia will be any different. Here's a primer of the available information we have so far, along with some expert analysis for the things we don't.
What Is Amazon?
Amazon is an e-commerce giant that was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos and started as a bookstore. Currently, it is the fourth most valuable publicly traded company in the world behind Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft.
Amazon's logo has an arrow pointing from A to Z because they now don't just sell books, but everything from A to Z. The arrow also looks like a smile, so that's cute.
How Do I Access Amazon Australia?
Amazon’s Australia website will be operational at www.amazon.com.au. Currently, you can access the website to purchase books and apps, but not any of the products you find in international retailers, like video games, baby, beauty and tech products.
When Is Amazon Coming To Australia?
All signs pointed towards sometime before, or on, the world's biggest online sales day: Black Friday, November 24. An internal Amazon email sent to Marketplace sellers that Amazon Australia set a soft launch date of 2pm AEST, Thursday November 23.
During this time however, only a limited number of customers were able to access and use the site. The site didn't go fully operational the following day as many suspected. We still haven't heard a thing about an official launch. Amazon is keeping that card so close to their chest it's digging into their rib cage.
If we were going to guess, we'd say late this week or early next week are pretty good bets. Start checking the site from November 30.
At a recent industry event in Melbourne, the official launch date of Amazon Australia was again speculated on and the news isn't good for Christmas shoppers. According to market research firm Kantar Retail, we could be in for an even longer wait than we thought.
Where Will Amazon Operate From?
Amazon have officially opened their 24,000 square metre centre in Melbourne’s Dandenong South. The flagship fulfillment centre will be located in the Pellicano’s M2 Industry Park, providing easy access to the South Gippsland Highway, Monash Highway and Eastlink.
A second location has recently been purchased by Amazon in Sydney's south-west, with the early speculation that it could be transformed into a fulfillment centre to improve Amazon's distribution network.
Amazon's head office will be located in Sydney and will be helmed by Rocco Braeuniger, who takes on the role of Country Manager, who was previously director of consumables at Amazon Germany.
How Many Products Will Amazon Sell?
Amazon's original, official launch statement romised "hundreds of thousands of products". However, it's not entirely clear whether this number relates to individual product types or total available stock across all categories.
Amazon will also launch Amazon Marketplace in Australia as part of their entry into the country. This allows third-party retailers to list their products on the website and set their own pricing – similar to the experience you’d get on eBay. In this case, the amount of products that Amazon sell should skyrocket – more than half of Amazon’s output comes through Marketplace.
What Types Of Products Do Amazon Sell?
From what we’ve been able to gather so far via Google searches and poking around Amazon Australia's website, there are quite a range of products that will be available for purchase come launch. We’ve been able to find underwear, laptops, computer accessories, monitors, cables, toys, speakers and headphones. Further to this, based on these searches, Amazon will be launching Amazon Basics – their ‘home brand’ line of products – when they launch in Australia.
Initially, it seemed that food delivery may be a priority, with Amazon's former global logistics senior manager, Brittain Ladd claiming that a separate "Amazon Fresh" site will be part of the launch. However, a recent survey of food suppliers by investment bank UBS revealed that Amazon has only been talking to packaged food and non-food grocery suppliers, which suggests fresh food won't be part of the initial roll out.
With that said, the inclusion of non-fresh food at the launch does seem likely. Amazon has been talking to around a quarter of Australia's grocery suppliers in this segment. This notion is also backed by the hiring of country manager Rocco Braeuniger, who is currently director of consumables for Amazon Germany. (Rocco’s previous role included Pet Supplies; Health and Personal Care; Baby, Beauty, Grocery and Amazon Pantry.)
How Can I Buy Products On Amazon Australia?
To begin buying on Amazon Australia, all you need to do is head to the website and create an account. If you already have an account with Amazon US, you can use that to log in to the Australian website too.
If you have signed up for a new account on the Australian website but have a US account as well, note that there is no way to merge or link accounts.
How Can I Sell Products On Amazon Australia?
Information about the Amazon Marketplace trickled out of the Amazon Australian Sellers Summit, which took place in Sydney on November 13. If you’re looking to sell on the Amazon Marketplace, then take a look at the article below.
The Amazon Marketplace accounts for around half of Amazon’s sales globally and is a powerful tool for sellers who wish to use the platform to grow their business. On Monday morning Amazon hosted the very first Australian Seller Summit for those looking to sell their products on the service and have opened up about what is required if you want to begin selling on Amazon Australia.
Attendees of the Summit will be given priority to get an invitation to sell on the Marketplace, but if you couldn’t be there, you can also head to the Amazon Services website and throw in a few contact details. Once Amazon launches, they will contact potential sellers with further information. It is widely expected that further down the track, online signup will become available.
How Fast Will Products Be Delivered By Amazon?
Speed is expected to be a big deciding factor in Amazon's level of success. If it can beat local retailers on delivery time and price, the battle is basically over.
According to Ladd, Amazon will be launching an Australian version of its premium Prime service, which provides faster shipping to members alongside other perks. Amazon has also promised “fast delivery” as one of its core strategies.
There's still no word on whether Amazon will be bringing in its own courier service or relying on third parties for delivery. Either way, its entry Down Under is sure to put existing supply chains and logistics providers under new pressure.
A report by the Financial Review confirmed that Australia Post would be attempting to partner with Amazon to provide express delivery services. That may make you a little sceptical about delivery times, considering some of the Australia Post horror stories and issues encountered during a particularly recent nationwide survey, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
Once we get more information on shipping times, we'll update this post.
Will Amazon Prime Be Available In Australia?
The short answer: Yes.
The long answer: Yes, but not immediately.
If you’re unaware, Amazon Prime is Amazon's subscription service that gives members access to a range of benefits. Currently, we’re unaware what these benefits will look like in Australia, but based on what we see in the US, we can make a few guesses about it.
In the US, the service costs $99 a year, or $10.99 a month. Prime gives users access to free two-day shipping and free same-day delivery in eligible zip codes in the US. This subscription also includes access to Prime Now, which gives you access to two-hour delivery for certain products. The list of benefits runs deep in the US and you can take a look at the full list here.
If you think you've heard of Amazon Prime before, you may be thinking of their video streaming service which is also inconveniently called 'Amazon Prime' Video and launched in Australia last year. This service is related to Amazon Prime in the US, where you get it for free with your subscription, but in Australia, a subscription only gives you access to Amazon Prime streams.
We will update this post when we have more information about pricing, expected release date and any extra juicy details we can get our hands on.
Is Amazon Going To Kill Local Jobs?
This is Gerry Harvey’s nightmare scenario.
There can be little doubt that Amazon’s presence in Australia will affect local retail: that's what disruptors do. However, it will also be injecting a swag of new, locally sourced jobs into the economy.
The company has already begun a recruiting drive across a range of verticals, including operations managers, pickers, packers, systems technicians and HR specialists. Provided Amazon make a dent in the online retail space in Australia, that job injection should continue in the years to come.
With that said, it's clear that local retailers will need to adapt if they hope to compete. We've already seen JB Hi-Fi unveil their same day delivery and three hour delivery options in a positive move to combat Amazon's presence.
One thing is certain: consumers are likely to benefit from the added competition.
Get your wallet ready.
We're curious to hear what your thoughts are on Amazon's imminent launch down under. What are you most excited about? Tell us below.