In early December 2017 Amazon opened its virtual doors in Australia. Amazon is a brand that most of us were well aware of before its launch, due to its innovation, reach, practices and ambition of its CEO. However, it was last year that the behemoth that is Amazon decided to launch in Australia.
With so many start up tech businesses out there and events and funding aimed at start ups, small business owners can easily find themselves sucked into a tech dream, dreaming that they too may become the next Amazon.
The reality is however, Australia is what we marketers call a test market or in some cases, an after market. With a population of 25 million we are a small speck in the ocean when compared to the United States, China or India. Our location means that start ups and corporate organisations have the ability to test concepts, such as if Ali Baba will work with a western audience or the ever popular Share a Coke campaign before launching it into larger, more profitable markets.
However, like any country we do have our eccentricities and kicks, that make it difficult for international brands to survive.
It comes as no surprise to us that it has taken such a long time for Amazon to launch in Australia. I am not convinced that Amazon knows this country that well yet.
Last month, we did some re-modelling of our office, and I decided to make my first Amazon Australia purchase. My purchase was a cute piece of furniture to house our sound system for the office. I had not been able to find anything like it in a furniture shop here. The reviews which contained the shelf in action, helped me decide that this was something that would definitely fit in with our decor. I looked at the price and it was under $35! What a bargain. It was too good to be true. So I reactivated my Amazon account which I had used years ago, having ordered from the non-Australian Amazon and had to wait weeks if not months to receive my purchases.
I then proceeded to the check out, and could not believe my eyes, taxes and other charges had been added to my purchase and my shelf had grown in price from the $30s to over $90. As a result of IKEA fatigue, I decided to bite the bullet and make the purchase, but I was not happy. Taxes and additional charges are not something that I had ever come across in my Australian shopping history. I mean when have we ever had to go to a supermarket or furniture store and start adding up taxes and charges
Despite the shelf arrive in record time and looks great. So I am not disappointed with the purchase overall – but the customer experience I am.
Given our position in the global market, it remains to see if Amazon will be treating us as a test market, after market or as a genuine market.
If you are thinking of becoming an Australian seller on this platform just be aware that the customer experience on the platform isn’t the same as other online stores that cater to the Australian market.