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Embrace Amazon: You have no choice

Amazon today placed a banner on its AU domain website calling for interest from Australian sellers to participate in its marketplace.

So, at last, Amazon has broken its silence on its plans to launch in Australia, and about time too. The heated debate and open licence for all to speculate has led me to keep silent on this contentious topic, as it was all just hot air.

Until now, when asked about Amazon coming to Australia, I have simply answered, “They are here already!” Enough said.

But now that it’s official, what do I know?

More than hot air?

I have read and heard more than most about Amazon’s arrival in Australia.

I have heard rumours they are currently losing money on shipping to Australia, and that, when they launch, they will distribute some of their smaller goods out of Singapore.

I have heard they have had scouts on the ground in Australia looking for sites or partners to fulfil orders. There is talk about Amazon Fresh.

Personally, I think this is just part of Amazon’s marketing hype to prepare the market for a brand that is already here. Amazon Fresh will only happen after they can prove that being on the ground in Australia works for them.

Remember Starbucks?

What does it mean?

Amazon in Australia means one thing for consumers: great prices and amazing range. For retailers, it means stiffer competition and pressure on margins. For retailers signing up to sell on Amazon, it’s a double-edged sword.

If a retailer’s sales go up, then Amazon will simply identify their product, source it directly and compete against them. Foreign sellers have a love-hate relationship with Amazon because of this.

So how do you take on Amazon? Know your enemy.

I have followed Amazon for years with fascination and admiration. The key learning I have absorbed from Jeff Bezos is that the customer is more important than anyone else.

I have learned that to succeed the customer must come first, even if it means going around the barriers created by managers and influencers within the business, who are afraid those changes will make them redundant. That is often true.

Australian business leaders need to learn this themselves if they want to have a chance of surviving when competing against Amazon. Think about your customers first, not your staff.

I recall contracting to a pureplay e-commerce start-up some years ago. An order had been overlooked and was late to the customer.

I asked the distribution centre manager if he could fast track the parcel to ensure it was sent out that day, but he simply replied that he would get to the order when it came through the system and that I shouldn’t interfere with his process.

That business no longer exists. I wonder why? And what would Jeff Bezos think? The customer pays your bills and is always right. When they are paying, they are always right. Never forget that!

Embrace Amazon

Whether you become a Marketplace partner or are a competitor, Amazon is going to make retailers do an even better job than ever before, so get ready for the relationship whether love or hate.

Given the opportunity to work with Amazon Australia, I would take up the offer with open arms. I am personally excited they are here at last because they force innovation and change.

What are your thoughts about Amazon? Share in the comment section below. 

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Geoff C

April 20, 2017 at 4:26 pm

And in the words of Kent Brockman – “I, For One, Welcome Our New Insect Overlords…”