When Amazon launched in Australia earlier this year, many shoppers were disappointed that the local range and prices weren't all that great and that shipping from the US was suddenly blocked. In the lead up to Black Friday, Amazon has revised that decision, saying US shipping is coming back.
An Amazon spokesperson has said “As a result of customer feedback, from November 22 Amazon customers will be able to ship eligible items from Amazon.com to Australian delivery addresses".
Amazon said that the decision to stop shipping to Australia from its overseas warehouses was difficult but claim they were forced into it because of challenges in being GST compliant. That always seemed a bit lame as they seemed to cope with the ridiculously complex sales tax system in the US with different state and city taxes all over the country. The GST is pretty simple - a simple 10% on everything.
The company says they are focussing their effort on "building the complex infrastructure" that is needed to add 10% to the price of goods and then funnel those dollars to a separate account in order to pay the tax department.
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While Amazon's entry to Australia was expected to cause major disruption to the local retail market, the decision to not offer imports from the US and other countries meant the local launch had a lot more bark than bite. That's given local retailers the opportunity to get their act together when it comes to logistics, online system and improved customer service.
Now that Amazon is really launching here, the competitor will get more serious as the 10% GST markup will still undercut local retailers in many market segments - although shipping costs might prove to be the bigger challenge for Australians.
It's worth noting that this might not help Amazon this Black Friday as word of a potential data breach is doing the rounds. Some Amazon customers have received emails telling them that their names and email addresses had been "inadvertently disclosed" due to a "technical error". The scope of the potential incident isn't yet known.
The launch of Amazon Australia was supposed to be a game-changing event that redefined retail pricing for the whole nation. Instead, its arrival went down like a huge wet fart.
The chief disappointment was price - but that's not all that left us feeling miffed. Here are six things we hated about Amazon Australia's launch.