Finally, Christmas Online Shopping Doesn't Suck

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We're still a couple of weeks away from Christmas and have you noticed something different from previous years? You can still order stuff online and have it delivered in time for Santa to get it into his sack and bring it down the chimney. What's changed over the year? It seems the arrival of one particular overseas retailer has transformed local retail for the better.

Before Amazon actually announced they'd be opening a local presence, most online retail in Australia had long delivery times and charged a premium. But Amazon's impact on supply chains is noticeable. A year ago, before Bezos' behemoth landed locally, large retailers were aware that they they probably weren't going to be able to compete with Amazon on range and price. But they had a chance to at least match, if not beat, Amazon when it comes to service.

This year, lead times for delivery are about a week. You could still order next Monday with items likely to arrive before Christmas Eve. I've already been receiving parcels on weekends as courier services are ramping up services in order to ensure there's no backlog and people don't miss out.

It's not all perfect - a book I ordered last week is now out of stock and I'll need to wait till the week after Christmas for delivery. That means my bother-in-law's Kris Kringle gift will be an envelope with a picture of a book. But the retailer, while informing me of the delay, has charged my Paypal account!

Most retailers are now offering shipping within four days with Amazon Prime cutting that back a little. There are even same day and three-hour options if you're in a hurry and prepared to pay extra.

That's all good news if you're a last minute shopper or if you need an extra stocking stuffer or two and can't get out of the office.


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