Amazon is finally here... now what?

Tuesday, 05 December, 2017

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Amazon's impending Australian arrival has been the source of much speculation over the last six to 12 months, but today marks the first official day of trading... so what does it mean for Australian retailers?

Social media is already ablaze with negative comments, suggesting that pricing on certain consumer electronics products such as phones, laptops and TVs is in line with — or in some cases above — that on offer from big-box stores like JB Hi-Fi and Officeworks. It seems the Australian public was led to believe that Amazon would be among the cheaper alternatives, which is proving not to be the case... initially at least.

We thought we'd dip a toe in to the water and search for 'pool cleaner', which delivered three pages of results — 45 products in total. Admittedly, a few of the resulting products looked like they may have found their way into the wrong category, including a Kindle e-book that is probably a little more suited to 'adult fiction' than it is to pool maintenance.

Day one doesn't appear to have met with immediate Aussie consumer expectations, but it will be interesting to watch in coming months as the product range broadens and more sellers come on board. Because Amazon will focus heavily on providing a smooth shopping experience in an effort to gain customer loyalty, local service-based businesses will need to not only match that experience, but ensure that their unique point of difference — expert advice and a full end-to-end offering — is clearly communicated to potential and/or existing customers.

Amazon has already disrupted many disparate market segments — publishing, cloud storage, payments and media, for example — retail is just the next step for the US-based mega-company. The landscape will naturally change as a result of its entry, but it looks like we'll have to wait a little longer to understand just how dramatic that change is.

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