Amazon confirms Australian launch

amazonUS e-commerce giant Amazon has confirmed it’s currently planning its Aussie launch, with local businesses already receiving an invitation to sign up and sell products on its platform.

The American company already sells Kindle e-reader devices and content through its Australian website, but is expected to roll out its full suite of retail services.

“Amazon Web Services launched an Australian region in 2012, we launched a Kindle Store on in 2013, and we now have almost 1,000 employees in the country,” the company said in a brief statement.

“The next step is to bring a retail offering to Australia, and we are making those plans now.

“We are excited to bring thousands of new jobs to Australia, millions of dollars in additional investment, and to empower small Australian businesses through Amazon Marketplace.

“We are optimistic that by focusing on the things we believe customers value most – low prices, vast selection, and fast delivery – over time we’ll earn the business of Australian customers.”

On it’s Aussie site, Amazon said that since 2000, it’s helped businesses increase sales and reach new customers, with sales through Amazon Marketplaces now representing 50 per cent of all items sold on Amazon websites globally.

“There are already thousands of Australian businesses selling their products on existing Amazon Marketplaces. We are excited to bring the Amazon Marketplace to Australia next.”

After months of teasing, Amazon’s commitment will be good news for consumers clamouring for more options, though local retailers are “unfazed”  by the disruptive entry of a global powerhouse into the Australian market.

Instead, Aussie retailers are more likely to innovate and subsequently fall short on ROI from such activity when compared with other businesses, according to research from the Commonwealth Bank.

According to the bank’s retail insights report, nearly half of 700 retailers surveyed said they do not think Amazon’s slated September launch will affect their business.

Meanwhile Amazon’s move has been predicted to “decimate retailing as we know it”, but according to local experts, the ‘sky will not fall in, our shopping centres won’t close and retail will survive’.

Others say though Amazon does fundamentally change distribution dynamics and supply chain management, this effectively creates opportunity not threat, as all logistics models mutate to cover it and third party logistics providers lift their game.

Elsewhere, Myer boss Richard Umbers believes the ball rests firmly in the court of Australian retailers when it comes to Amazon’s prospective entry down under, telling investors recently that the forthcoming battle for consumers is “our game to lose”.

The longstanding department store retailer will look to use its brand equity and investment in omnichannel to stifle the prospects of international competitors, including Amazon, who Umbers said would face geographical challenges implementing its popular Prime loyalty model.

And while Amazon is a name that’s synonymous with retail dominance, it’s performance in fashion has been a relatively different story. Categories such as books, tools and technology play to Amazon’s strengths – there are key brands, which if well-sourced mean that you have the majority of head inventory; products have easily accessible structured data (eg. brand, model number, colour) to identify and draw further buying insights.

Amazon has been able to leverage their own data to move quickly and muscle out key competitors across a variety of categories and dominate. Fashion on the other hand requires a bit more imagination and pizzazz. A look at Amazon’s 12 year journey since entering the fashion game indicates there’s still plenty of opportunity for the behemoth.

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