After false starts all year, Power Retail confirms this is the real deal – Amazon launches its Australian operation today. Prinitha Govender with the story.
It’s official. With much anticipation, starting today Australian online consumers will be able to shop either via Amazon’s mobile shopping app or through www.amazon.com.au to purchase millions of items across 23 categories including books, music, clothing and accessories, consumer electronics, beauty, kitchen and baby.
Amazon will be launching with both its Amazon Marketplace offering as well as retail, which includes Amazon’s own products, across its extensive category selection. A spokesperson from Amazon told Power Retail there isn’t one particular category it will be focusing on in Australia, with the goal rather to be growing that selection for customers over the next couple of years. The company also confirmed that a grocery category will not be launched today and that there is no time frame as to whether or not grocery will even come to Australia.
While its only day one for Amazon in Australia, Amazon has confirmed with Power Retail that it will continue to try and increase categories, product selection, offer lower prices and further convenience for the customer, with the aim of building Australian consumers’ trust.
As far as shipping goes, Amazon has told us that initially, sellers on Amazon Marketplace will be responsible for shipping their own products to customers, with the goal of a “near-future launch of FBA” (Fulfilment by Amazon) for sellers.
When it comes to Amazon’s retail arm, it will deliver to customers nationwide – customers are eligible for free shipping on orders totalling $49 or more for Amazon products. It will also offer two other shipping options for its retail arm, including “Priority” and “Expedited”, which will be available for a fee, depending on where items will be delivered to in Australia. Major cities, including Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and Melbourne will benefit from Priority one-day business delivery for a cost of $9.99, and 2-3 day Expedited delivery for a cost of $5.99. There are a series of other shipping options available to its customers.
Next year will be the year when Amazon will bring out a raft second-round offerings to Australian consumers. A company spokesperson confirmed with Power Retail that it would offer its Prime shipping benefits to Australian customers in mid-2018. With Amazon Prime, currently Australians have access to Prime Video and Twitch Prime, both of which will be available to Aussie customers for an introductory offer of US $2.99 a month. In addition, last week Amazon announced that its Echo Smart Assistant and Alexa (the brains behind Echo), will be coming to Australia and New Zealand early next year, which will coincide with launching Amazon Music Unlimited. Speaking of New Zealand, the company has confirmed it has no plans to launch there.
Amazon has also told Power Retail that its Australian launch and the rollout of new offerings are all part of its long-term strategy in Australia, determined to make an investment locally. “Focusing on customers and the long-term are key principles in Amazon’s approach to retailing,” said Rocco Braeuniger, country manager of Amazon Australia. “By concentrating on providing a great shopping experience and by constantly innovating on behalf of customers, we hope to earn the trust and the custom of Australian shoppers in the years to come.”
The company opened its fulfilment centre in Melbourne’s Dandenong South earlier this year, where customer orders will be fulfilled, and where it says its hundreds of its local associates are ready for today’s big launch, a workforce which it plans to expand. Amazon currently has corporate offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Canberra which its says are home to more than 1,000 employees.
“Over time, we will create thousands of new jobs and invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Australia,” said Braeuniger. “The result will be an ever-improving customer experience driven by the regular introduction of new products and services that we hope customers will love.”
When it comes to sellers, while it didn’t disclose an exact number, it did confirm that it has already signed up thousands of local sellers onto its marketplace, including small and medium-sized Australian businesses, as well as some of the bigger brands such as Bonds and Sol-Sana, as well as Puma, Lego, L’Oreal and Sonos. Globally, approximately 50 percent of Amazon’s total units come from marketplace sellers.
Amazon first came to Australia in 2012 with its Amazon Web Services business, followed by launching the Kindle store in 2013, which has enabled Australian customers to purchase digital content from it. Prior to today’s launch, Australian consumers have shown their appetite for Amazon by shopping on its .com website as well as having local sellers sell their goods on its marketplace to customers around the world.
The company says it’s very diligent about not launching till its ready, which means that while Australian customers may have had to wait a little bit longer while it completed its protocol internal testing phase which commenced on Thursday 23rd November, it is focused on offering the best possible customer experience. Amazon says it’s ready for that today.
To celebrate its Australian launch today, Amazon will be offering a range of promotions and deals to online shoppers, including:
- The new Fire TV Stick Basic Edition available for the first time to Australian customers for $69. The streaming media player provides simple and fast access to thousands of movies, TV shows, apps, and games
- Kindle e-readers, from the most affordable Kindle selling at $109, to the Kindle Paperwhite from $179, to the all-new Kindle Oasis from $389
- Up to 30% off RRP on select toys, including Barbie, Batman, Hot Wheels, Disney Cars, Fisher Price, Thomas the Tank Engine, and board games
- Up to 20% off RRP on select Sunbeam kitchen appliances, including Ellise Stainless Skillet, Electronic Slow Cooker, Beatermix Pro 320W, and Cut & Seal Vacuum Sealer
- 30% off RRP on select Calvin Klein men’s and women’s underwear
- 30% off RRP on select Tommy Hilfiger men’s and women’s polos