Amazon Australia opened as a general store this morning, amid predictions from experts that it would initially undercut and absorb losses to establish market share. The much-vaunted Prime service - which bundles offerings like priority shipping, streaming and Kindle content in one package - is not now available, with expectations it'll come in mid-2018.
Although the catalogue at the moment seems limited, Amazon Australia's county manager, Rocco Braeuniger, has said that "millions" of products from Aussie retailers will be sold on the digital platform, with a long-term commitment being made to the Australian economy.
Amazon's Australian orders will be fulfilled out of the company's centre in Dandenong South in Victoria.
For electronics, we saw a portable hard drive from WD on sale for $89 on Amazon, which again meets the $49 free delivery threshold.
Amazon did not say what time of day it would begin taking orders from its Australian warehouse, except to say it would be on December 5. Still, it's a huge blow to our $16 billion retail sector. However, they need to react quickly. About half its global sales come from such marketplace sellers.
"We are here to take Amazon on", he said.
Amazon has already secured a rich range of Australian and worldwide brands (including Bonds, Sol-Sana, as well as Puma, Lego, L'Oreal; and Sonos) available to consumers as part of the local marketplace launch.
The e-commerce giant has already been selling Kindle e-reader devices, audio books and content from its Australian website but it has now activated its full- service local offering, featuring its own products and items sold by small local retailers.
"Over time, we will create thousands of new jobs and invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Australia", said Braeuniger.
The company has now set up a massive distribution warehouse on the outskirts of Melbourne city, on the country's east coast where four-fifths of the population live, and the company hopes to cut delivery time to as little as a day.
"Small businesses and retailers across the country should be excited about Amazon launching in Australia", said Adam Mills, CTO of Koalasafe, which sells a range child-safe wireless routers.