The A-Train is hitting town this week, as retailers joining the Australian launch of the Amazon marketplace have been told to scramble in readiness this week.
Amazon Australia has notified retailers to be ready for products going live from 2pm this Thursday, sending its marketplace sellers into a frenzy to prepare products for launch.
Amazon has been keeping local retailers and customers in suspense all year, with calculated, cryptic messages to the market with only vague references to launch timeframes, but an email received by sellers this week points to a specific date for the first time.
Sellers have been told not to disclose information, but the leaks have turned into a flood as excitement builds. However, the email states that this will be for “internal testing” with a “small number of customers” starting this Thursday 23 November at 2pm AEST (which is 3pm in Melbourne and Sydney, who are on AEDT. Or is it?)
Power Retail spoke with one seller, who wished to remain anonymous, who said that their advice was to be ready by Friday and selling from then.
It has been an intriguing approach by Amazon to the Australian market, as rumours within the business community have been circulating wildly all year, until aligning more firmly in recent months as a November launch became clearer. Access to Amazon’s “Seller Central” platform, where retailers create accounts and load product content, has been open in Australia since August 10, but as one retailer put it, it was “pretty broken”.
Last Monday, on November 13, a seminar for Amazon sellers was held in Sydney, but many who attended said it was more of the vague suspense-building that potential sellers have become accustomed to rather than meaningful facts about a launch date, other than “really, really soon”.
Now, with the breaking release of this email on Tuesday, sellers are scrambling to get ready within 48 hours, though nothing further than the “internal testing” has been advised at this stage. One online retailer Power Retail spoke to has already received approval from Amazon.
“We received an email from Amazon last Friday, and we were approved pretty quickly,” said the retailer, who wished to remain anonymous. Power Retail has sighted a copy of the approval email, which simply read:
We have finished the review of your account.
You will be able to start selling on the launch of the Amazon.com.au marketplace to the public.
Thank you for selling with Amazon.”
It is believed that Amazon will be running promotions of its launch on Thursday afternoon at the major city train stations in Sydney and Melbourne. Scott Kilmartin, who runs a Melbourne-based ice cream business on the side of his e-commerce advisory business ShortBatch.co told Power Retail he had received an enquiry from an anonymous company which identified itself as an “online retail store”, regarding supplying ice-cream for marketing event at Southern Cross Station with yellow and orange theme. “It’s a marketing event for an online retail store. Event will be held at Southern Cross Station so I’d estimate maybe 250-400 single scoops of ice cream. Our theme is yellow/orange…” the company wrote in its written enquiry to Kilmartin. “Amazon is opening in Australia on Friday in time for Black Friday in the US. How do I know this? They are running ice cream promos at the big train stations in Melbourne and Sydney on Thursday afternoon,” said Kilmartin.
Watch this space – we will have more updates for you coming soon.