Amazon’s Australian Ambitions in 2018

Amazon’s plans have been laid out according to a former Amazon executive, Bittain ladd, who has also revealed a launch date.

A former Amazon global logistics senior manager confirmed that Amazon’s global rollout will include Australia, in an interview with Fairfax. While speculation of Amazon shoring up in Australia has been rife in the media for months now, Amazon still hasn’t made any official announcements.

According to Ladd, Amazon has plans to have its flagship Australian website up and running by 2018, which will include a version of its Prime membership, which provides a range of membership perks like faster shipping. There was no comment from Ladd however, around how its Australian logistics arm would work, and whether it will bring its own courier service with it, or rely on a local third party delivery service, like Toll or Australia Post.

Ladd told Fairfax: the company would “build physical grocery stores and launch Amazon Go only after Amazon has become more established in the country and analysis determines the market will support physical stores”, further explaining that Amazon will “launch as many services and products as possible within Australia”, as it is an “attractive” market.

It’s important to note, that Brittain Ladd is not longer an employee of Amazon, and his comments do not officially represent the company in any capacity. Ladd was part of the Amazon Fresh division, managing its international expansion. During his time with the company, he was responsible for designing and implementing strategies around expanding Amazon Fresh and Amazon Pantry globally. Prior to joining Amazon, Ladd was a Deloitte supply chain consultant.

In January it was reported that Amazon had begun recruiting for first round jobs of its Amazon Fresh project, to be based out of Brisbane, with job ads surfacing for software development and technical program manager roles, which seemed to shed light on its intentions to set up shop.

Some retailers are taking heed and bracing themselves. Australian grocery chain Woolworths announced at its annual shareholders meeting last year is was preparing itself for the imminent arrival of Amazon, setting up an independent unit specifically to respond to competition from the e-commerce giant. In February this year, Woolies also announced it had partnered with Microsoft to modernise and streamline its e-commerce platform, which will enable it to focus more on user experience.

amazon australian former employee brittain ladd woolowrths icrosoft e-commerce

Image Source: Microsoft Blog

Only last week, analysis from Credit Suisse gave predictions that one third of retailers in Australia aren’t aware of the potential threat of Amazon shoring up this year (which could now be next year), leaving them unprepared to compete with them.

Amazon could nab $4 billion in sales, according to analysts, highlighting Myer as most at risk, with other retailers like JB Hi-FiHarvey Norman, Big W, Kmart and Rebel Sports thought to have “medium-risk.”

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