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Amazon launches its retail offering in Australia

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Amazon has officially launched its retail offering in Australia at Amazon.com.au, shaking up electrical wholesaling.

Amazon’s entrance into the Australian market means it’s only a matter of time before Amazon Business arrives and upsets the wholesaler apple cart. However, the good news is Amazon has given itself two years to get its consumer offering up and running and even then, it will probably take a few years before it starts to turn a profit locally.

This means there’s still time for you to ‘Amazon-proof’ your business.

Savvy wholesalers will be shoring up their supply lines, investing time and money in understanding their customer base, and developing a robust e-commerce platform that complements their conventional stores.

Geoff Dart is an industry consultant with more than 30 years’ experience working with the likes of Bunnings, Mitre 10, Reece, Lawrence & Hanson and Cetnaj.

“Wholesalers are going to be in a lot of trouble once Amazon opens in Australia,” he says.

“One of the biggest challenges with wholesalers is that they’re not interactive. There’s no ‘click and collect’ feature on many of their websites and there’s quite often no information available on many of the products they sell.”

However, Amazon will not have access to all the brands that wholesalers have, according to TradeZone director Robert Kingston.

“Key brands say they aren’t going to sell directly to Amazon, as that would contradict everything they have said in the past. This means that everyone in this industry will be protected, we hope, to a certain degree.”

The selection at Amazon.com.au includes products from well-known Australian brands, as well as small and medium-sized Australian businesses selling on Amazon Marketplace. Globally, approximately 50% of Amazon’s total units come from Marketplace sellers.

Amazon Marketplace connects customers to millions of products and helps sellers reach more than 300 million active customers worldwide. In 2016, more than 100,000 small businesses across the globe achieved sales of over $US100,000 through selling on Amazon.

Australian company KoalaSafe has sold its products on Amazon Marketplace since 2015.

“Small businesses and retailers across the country should be excited about Amazon launching in Australia. While it can be a challenge to ensure potential customers find your website, Amazon already has hundreds of millions of customers around the world searching for new products. The visibility and access Amazon provides is an enormous opportunity for all businesses,” says KoalaSafe chief technology officer and founder Adam Mills.

Australian customers will also be able to access Prime Video and Twitch Prime and Amazon expects to launch Prime shipping benefits in Australia in mid-2018.

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