Amazon’s soft launch into Australia, fraught with delays and uncertainty, is now just over one week old.
On the first day, some folks went on social media to highlight some of the big challenges that are still facing Amazon in Australia.
Ordered 6 items on Amazon went to pay and 4 items estimated delivery between Dec 20-30 . To guarantee by Xmas need to pay $$$ delivery fee. As a result no sale.
— brigid glanville (@brigidglanville) December 5, 2017
A single pen on Amazon Australia, ladies and gentleman? $41.59 delivered.
Officeworks? $4.88 at store.
— Ben Grubb (@bengrubb) December 5, 2017
We must be fair to Amazon, it will take some time to iron out all the issues and servicing a country of the size of Australia from one warehouse location near Melbourne is not going to work in the long run.
But expansion is already in the works with Amazon buying land in Sydney for a fulfillment center, and it is likely more are on the horizon for 2018.
Also, Amazon Prime is not available yet in Australia. Therefore many orders that ship outside of the Greater Melbourne area are going to take much longer than shoppers in the U.S. or Europe are accustomed to.
Some rumors suggest Amazon Prime could come to Australia sometime in 2018, but that will likely be a phased-in process around operational fulfillment centers in major cities.
At the moment, this is likely to include Melbourne and Sydney. Until more news trickles out about Amazon purchasing land elsewhere, residents of both cities should be the likely first eligible group for Prime Membership and fast delivery.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about 2/3 of the Australian population lives in a Greater Capital City (in the U.S. we would use the term major Metro area). Therefore future expansion of Prime is probably going to concentrate on these Greater Capital Cities.
But concentrating on Greater Capital Cities will still take a few years. Even today, Amazon continues to open fulfillment centers as needed in the U.S., U.K., and Europe.
How Amazon may manage rural expansion is still a bit of an unknown. But since Amazon utilizes USPS in the U.S., it may employ a similar strategy in Australia.
Amazon could handle the long distance logistics and ask Australia Post to manage the local delivery from a regional mail distribution warehouse.
It is reasonable to assume that Amazon may look at the U.S. as a model for managing fulfillment centers and logistics. While Australia has even more remote locations than the U.S., there are similar challenges that could mean similar solutions.
Now That We Highlighted Some of The Challenges, What Did Australians Buy The First Week?
With the first full week of sales completed, here is the list of the ten most popular products purchased on Amazon.com.au (courtesy of Business Insider)
1. FIFA 18 PS4
2. CALL OF DUTY: WW2 PS4
3. STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT II PS4
4. Nintendo Switch – Neon Blue and Red Joy-Con
5. Strong 3M HDMI Cable
6. Strong Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
7. The Barefoot Investor: The Only Money Guide You’ll Ever Need
8. 5 Ingredients – Quick & Easy Food
9. STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT II XBOX ONE
10. Nintendo Switch – Gray Joy-Con
With Christmas around the corner, it is no surprise that video games would do well.
Also, some of the smaller tech items such as the Bluetooth Speaker and HDMI cable make sense.
And since digital books were already available in Australia, seeing a couple of books on the list is not a shocker either.
One week does not tell the future, but the list shows that a pre-Christmas launch was a good way to capitalize on the holiday season.
As the giant online retailer expands in Australia, the merchandise mix will change.
Just this week Amazon UK offered a bit of insight into popular products and trends.
We hope to see such a report from Amazon Australia this time next year. And that may provide a useful guide for third-party marketplace sellers to understand what will be successful in the Amazon marketplace.
If you are in Australia and have a story to share about buying or selling on Amazon, we would love to hear it. Please use the comments section below.
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