Amazon launches dedicated Australian site

Australians woke up on Tuesday morning to news that online retailer Amazon had launched a local website overnight.

It had been rumoured that the global retail and technology powerhouse was set to start trading last week, but after a soft launch to test its platform in the new country site it has now officially opened for business.

Products purchased from the Amazon Australia site will be shipped from Amazon’s fulfilment centre on the outskirts of Melbourne, which was converted from a 24,000 sq m warehouse earlier this year.

Customer orders over AU$49 will not carry a delivery charge, while a one-day service is being offered in some areas of the country. Other services and features such as Amazon Prime are expected to be added in due course.

Amazon’s arrival comes at a time of sluggish sales for the wider Australian retail market, with the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) describing September trade figures – released last month by the Australian Bureau of Statistics – as “alarming”. The 1.44% total year-on-year growth was well below the seasonally adjusted long-term average.

Analysts in Australia predict that Amazon’s arrival will accelerate the number of online shoppers in the country, and put significant price pressure on rival retailers – particularly in the electricals space.

Amazon’s marketplace recruitment drive is already in full flow as it teamed up with the ARA and the SME Association of Australia in Sydney, last month, to host a seller summit, where Australian retailers were advised how to set up and grow sales with Amazon.

Former director of consumables at Amazon Germany, Rocco Braeuniger, is heading up Amazon Australia as its country manager, having been officially appointed to the role in the summer.

In a statement to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday, Braeuniger said: “By concentrating on providing a great shopping experience and by constantly innovating on behalf of customers, we hope to earn the trust and the custom of Australian shoppers in the years to come.”

He added that the company plans to create “thousands of new jobs” and invest heavily in its new international territory.

"The result will be an ever-improving customer experience driven by the regular introduction of new products and services that we hope customers will love."