Amazon has finally launched its full online retail service in Australia. This means that you can now buy everything from electronics to video games without paying exorbitant international shipping fees. We had questions about Amazon pre-launch and most of them have been answered with the site going live early December 5.
Here's everything you need to know about the behemoth's entry into the Land Down Under.
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 on everything we know about Amazon Australia, along with some expert analysis for the things we don't.
Wait. What Is Amazon?
Amazon is an e-commerce giant that was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos. It 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, I guess.
How Do I Access Amazon Australia?
Amazon’s Australia website is operational at www.amazon.com.au. Currently, you can access the website to purchase a huge range of products you find in international retailers, in a broad range of different categories: Books, Video Games, Consumer Electronics, Sports & Outdoors, Tools, Toys, Home Improvement, Beauty, Clothing & Accessories, Shoes and Amazon Devices, such as our Kindle E-reader and Fire TV Stick devices
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 kept the launch card really close to their chest but it's official.
Amazon went live in the early hours of December 5 at approximately 12am AEST.
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. He was previously director of consumables at Amazon Germany.
How Many Products Will Amazon Sell?
Amazon's original, official launch statement promised "hundreds of thousands of products". Even a cursory glance will show that is right on the money - looking in all departments routinely brings up 250,000-plus products, with more sure to be added over the coming months as the giant sets up shop.
Amazon have also launched 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?
Pre-launch, we were performing a lot of Google searches and most of the products that we found have ended up in the site's full launch. Officially, the site currently has 19 product categories:
- Apps & Games
- Audible Audiobooks
- CDs & Vinyl
- Clothing & Shoes
- Health, Household & Personal Care
- Home Improvement
- Kindle Store
- Movies & TV
- Sports, Fitness & Outdoors
- Stationery & Office Products
- Toys & Games
- Video Games
Further to this, Amazon have launched Amazon Basics – their ‘home brand’ line of products – alongside the site launch and there are plenty of bargains to be found, especially in regards to cables.
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, suggesting that food wouldn't be part of the initial roll out. With the site now live - this has been confirmed.
What Are The Prices Like On Amazon Australia?
We're already seeing a lot of Marketplace products, but they aren't necessarily better priced than anywhere else on the web. While there are some bargains to be had, pricing is similar to eBay in that prices can fluctuate wildly for the same product. In other words, you need to do some digging to find the best deal.
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?
Amazon is offering next-day delivery when you select Priority Delivery ($9.99) at checkout and order before a nominated time. However, this option is only available in select regions.
Here what Amazon’s opening delivery schedules look like:
Crucially, Amazon is also offering free shipping on orders over $49. Hurrah! Some third-party sellers are providing free shipping on orders under $49.
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.
The Australian Amazon Prime launch is, according to a landing page that was live on site the morning of launch but has since been removed, "coming in the future". Membership will give you access to Amazon Prime Video and Twitch Prime - however, as of writing, the landing page has been removed.
It seems that Prime will launch with an introductory pricing of US$2.99/month (~$3.90AUD) after a 7 day free trial that will last for six months. Membership will then renew at US$5.99/month (~$7.89AUD) after that period of time. You will be able to cancel your Amazon Prime membership at anytime.
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 launch down under. Have you found any bargains? What are you most excited about? Tell us below.