Amazon Is Here

Today, Australian retail changes forever. Here's what's happening, what it means for you, and what it might mean for thousands of independent producers and makers.

 

Last month, Amazon Australia quietly launched to a test group of customers ahead of the platform's official December launch.

Last month speculating that the service would be unveiled to the public to coincide with Black Friday sales, one of the busiest shopping days in the world, which didn't eventuate. 

The hype has been, to put it mildly, intense. The Australian Financial Review said the arrival of Amazon in Australia “will trigger the biggest shake-up in retail in a generation." 

Australian customers have had access to Amazon's online bookstore for years, so why the fuss? Put simply, this is an entirely new service. Amazon's arrival will mean a single online retailer offering fast, cheap access to hundreds of thousands of products from clothes to electronics to food, from producers big and small, and without the premium currently paid to international online stores. Essentially, Amazon plans to do it cheaper, faster, and with more options than anyone else.

How much cheaper?

As Kim Do, of business analysts IBISWorld, says, Amazon “intends to challenge domestic retail prices by offering items for 30 per cent less than domestic retailers. This is expected to appeal to price-conscious Australian consumers, and is likely to affect local retailers that have found it difficult to adjust to a shift in consumer spending behaviour over the past five years.”

As well as independent brands, the Australian launch will include “Amazon Basics” (essentially the company’s home brand), along with “Amazon Fresh”, which suggests food delivery will be an initial priority.

Earlier this year UBS Australia released a widely reported survey saying Amazon was in talks with almost a quarter of Australia’s food and grocery suppliers. More