Photo by Jiří Wagner on Unsplash
There have been plenty of news reports this year that online retail juggernaut Amazon will become available to Australian customers this month.
Some are worried that this could be another major blow to the retail industry in Australia who are already struggling with the advent of online shopping, while others predict Amazon’s launch in Australia is still a way off, and when it happens it may not make as much of an impact as some believe.
We went fact finding to give you the low down on what it is, and what it could mean for every day consumers, the retail industry and the Australian economy.
FIRST THINGS FIRST, WHAT IS AMAZON?
Amazon.com originally started in the United States as an online bookstore, and expanded to sell almost everything online. The brand has since expanded to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, China and India and in the countries it is most established (UK and America) every day people buy just about everything from the site out of sheer convenience. In the U.S. alone, Amazon has over 150 million monthly unique visitors.
In most cases Amazon users enjoy low prices and a next day delivery service, that until now Aussie retailers have been unable to pull off. Those on the inside are aware that Amazon purchased a large tract of land near Sydney Airport several years ago. The question every since has been ‘when will they launch here’, with reports being made in March this year that it would be September 2017. Amazon have very few restrictions on what can be sold on their website, people buy everything from groceries, to cooking appliances, movies, books, disco lights for your bathtub and everything in between.
Our favourite is the unicorn wine bottle holder.
What others think will happen when Amazon hits Australia
When asked about the imminent arrival of Amazon in Australia and its impact on local retailers, Australian wedding business start-up owner Shan-Lyn Ma says companies can win against Amazon by focusing on their niche, improving their user experience design and building their brand. Co-founder of Harvey Norman, Gerry Harvey doesn’t think Amazon will launch before 2020 and is playing down the impact it will have too.
What we think will happen when Amazon hits Australia
Fact: Australia is a much smaller retailer market than the US and the UK so when it comes to priorities, we’re definitely down Amazon’s list. Having said that, we weathered the GFC much better than most, we have quite a buoyant economy, Australians love a credit card and love to shop, and these days are quite comfortable buying online.
We predict that like most disruptions, the early adopters (likely the most digitally enabled and informed amongst us, the time poor and those who have lived in the UK or the US, or who are influenced by people who live there and use and love Amazon) will get stuck in, but that Amazon shopping going mainstream will take about two years after it launches in Australia, when ever it is.
Some media reports are suggesting it will be here in the next 8 weeks. Others suggest mid 2018. The bottom line? Every Australian online retailer should create an Amazon Seller account and hedge their bets.
How do you get started as a consumer when it does come?
Like many other online mega retailers, Amazon makes it super easy to set up an account and once you’re done to start clicking the “add to cart” button. To get the most bang for your buck we’d recommend becoming an Amazon Prime Member. Like the Costco model, for an annual fee, Amazon Prime you get the special member only offers as well as free and fast delivery, which is largely the whole point of shopping with Amazon over other available options.
How do you get Started as a Business on Amazon?
Selling on Amazon.com is a good idea if you can. If you can’t beat them you might as well joint them and all that. Sign up is simple and easy. Whether you are a small business run by an individual or a professional business pick the most relevant plan to you, list products and sit back and wait for the customers. Like anything online, a little marketing would be a good idea. What you will pay for the privilege of selling on Amazon depends on a few factors. If a seller sells fewer than 40 items a month they only pay $US0.99 to Amazon per item plus a small referral and closing fees. If more than 40 items are sold, a monthly fee of $US39.99 is requested, however no pay-per-item is applicable just the referral and closing fees.
There are three important things that sellers need to remember to be successful on Amazon.
1/ Price point -like any e-commerce environment, you will be competing with hundreds of other businesses on Amazon, both in Australia and internationally, so it is important to provide, affordable products. Consumers aren’t silly and will shop around.
2/ Service – the faster and better your service, the more chance you have of becoming the featured seller thus getting you more sales.
3/ Unique – the more unique your product is, the less competition you will have thus bettering your chances of making more sales. That is, if what you sell is in demand.
Sign up here before it launches in Australia. What are you waiting for? Do you think Amazon will disrupt the Australian retail scene? Will you be getting involved in Amazon?