Somewhere, in a dimly lit sitting that somehow looks both brand new and like it hasn’t been touched since 1983, Gerry Harvey just quietly shit himself.
Gargantuan retail megalith Amazon has finally put paid to any lingering doubt by confirming it has plans to be fully operational in Australia by the end of 2018.
We’ve known for quite a while that the company has had designs on expanding into our familiar shores – a fairly major billboard advertising campaign plastered across major cities revealed that to us – but today company honchos have, for the first time, talked openly and on the record about their expansion plans.
Speaking with Fairfax Media, Amazon’s senior manager of Global Logistics Brittain Ladd asserted that the company views Australia as an “attractive market” (OOH LA LA!) and will aim to roll out as many of its services locally as possible.
In the initial phase of Australian expansion, this will include an Australian version of the membership-based Prime Now delivery service – an UberEATS-like platform that delivers everything from restaurant meals to household basics to your door in rapid time. They’ll also be rolling out their online grocery delivery service Amazon Fresh, a direct competitor with Coles and Woolworths‘ online shopping platforms.
Those, along with delivery warehouses, will form the first stage of the rollout, which the company insists will be fully operational by the end of next year.
For the time being the expansion does not include any bricks-and-mortar stores, like the Amazon Go concept rolled out overseas, which sees customers able to grab items off the shelf and leave without visiting a checkout; the items are simply charged to the individual’s Amazon account upon exit.
“Australian consumers will embrace online grocery ordering and delivery from Amazon. And I believe Amazon’s retail store formats such as Amazon Fresh Pick Up or the multi-format store can be successful in Australia and south-east Asia.”
Coles, Woolies, and other big-box retailers remain bullish about the impending arrival of the new major player, but an Amazon presence in Australia is a very obvious gamechanger for the industry, particularly as technology continues to influence and change consumer desires and habits.
There’s no set date for when we’ll start seeing Amazon signs appear locally, but with the clock now officially ticking, it’s clearly gonna be sooner rather than later.
Photo: Carsten Koall/Getty.