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Amazon Australia Soft Launch is Underway

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Amazon’s long awaited opening in Australia is underway. On Friday, Amazon.com.au, which has long been a popular shopping destination for Kindle content and other digital products, will start to feature a range of physical products similar to Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Amazon Australia is currently undergoing a “soft launch,” which has been dubbed as something of an anti-climactic event by the Australian media. The full website is currently only available to a small test audience, with the new product categories expected to launch on Friday.

The new version of the website will reportedly feature a full range of product categories similar to the American and UK Amazon stores, offering everything from consumer electronics to toys, groceries and more.

Details of the soft launch were leaked after Amazon sellers received emails alerting them that their Australian product offerings needed to be ready by “2pm AEST Thursday” to be viewable on the website.

The current Australian Amazon website only features a limited number of product categories, with Kindle books and other digital content but little else. The newer, expanded marketplace is hotly anticipated in Australia, where e-commerce options are less numerous than the USA.

Millions of Australian consumers already shop using the UK and USA Amazon stores, often for goods that are not available in Australia. Purchasing items internationally is a popular way for consumers to avoid the “Australia tax” of inflated pricing that often applies to imported goods.

Amazon has confirmed that Australian users will still be able to shop from its US and UK online stores — something that’s reassured many customers. However, many of the items sold on the company’s US and UK platforms may be more affordable to purchase locally via Amazon AU.

According to the Daily Mail, some analysts have predicted that Amazon’s prices will be as much as 30% cheaper than other merchants in Australia — a welcome sign for Australian consumers.

However, other have pointed out that this sudden reduction in pricing for many consumer goods could create difficulties for local retailers, many of whom haven’t been subject to the same level of pricing pressure from Amazon as their UK and US-based counterparts.

According to the Australian Financial Review, the marketplace’s launch is expected to trigger “the biggest shake-up in retail in a generation.”

Amazon has grown tremendously over the past decade, expanding from an online marketplace for books into the world’s largest e-commerce company, supplying approximately one third of all online product purchases.

The company has also expanded into areas such as original content creation and cloud storage, with its Amazon Web Services division contributing substantially to its recent revenue growth.

Other recent moves by Amazon include its successful $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods, a health-focused grocery chain. The company’s stock price has increased from $750 near the beginning of 2017 to a recent peak of more than $1,000 in July.

With its Australian opening underway, it appears that Amazon’s growth story has plenty of room to continue.

Elliot Preece
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