With Amazon expected to launch in Australia on Thursday, the build up has seen mixed reactions from online retailers. While the immediate response from many has been one of fear and skepticism, there’s no doubt that appetite among consumers is alive and well.
A recent study by Nielsen reported that 75% of Australians aged 18+ are interested in Amazon Australia, 56% are likely to purchase from its Australian site, and 45% would even pay to become an Amazon Prime member to receive special deals, discounts and delivery perks.
With this top of mind, small and medium sized ecommerce businesses should embrace Amazon as an opportunity to gain exposure to a wider, engaged audience. While there are certainly some potential challenges ahead, there are also a number of steps and principles Aussie businesses should follow to maximise the positive impact of Amazon’s arrival on their business.
Take advantage of Amazon’s network
Australian ecommerce businesses can utilise Amazon as a means of gaining additional exposure to a wider audience. If you break it down, this is an opportunity for retailers to sell their products on a new distribution channel. Whether they choose to use it for select items, or gradually build up to making everything available on the site, it’s a great way to get their brand noticed in a new way. There are additional benefits, such as leveraging Amazon’s logistics support to enable you to prioritise your customer experience, and utilising valuable data to pull insights and make adjustments that will improve your sales performance.
Slow and steady wins the race
There’s no need for retailers to go putting their entire product suite onto Amazon all at once. The safest method is to start slow and gradually expand over time. It’s important that retailers invest time in researching and understanding how the marketplace operates, and sussing out key competitors. This will ensure you are properly set up to fulfil orders and aren’t leaving yourself in an operational nightmare. It will also give you time to optimise listings and adjust price points according to Amazon’s shopper preferences and any major competitors on the marketplace.
Offer something unique
In 2016, Amazon made US$123B in online sales, half of which came from third-party sellers. It’s a crowded and competitive marketplace, and you need to first ensure you are clear on what sets you apart from other retailers. It can be a unique product, more attractive price point or superior shipping options, or even as simple as higher quality images, descriptions and cooler packaging. Smaller retailers, particularly those with unique inventory, have already proven they can do very well via Amazon in developed markets like the US. Decide which factors will make you stand out and own them, and you’ll get results.
Don’t forget who you are
At the end of the day, it’s crucial that you stick to your brand mission and purpose, and continue to nurture your audience’s needs through your own online store. There are boundless opportunities for Aussie retailers to take advantage of Amazon, but those that continue to focus on niche offerings.
Jordan Sim is a Group Product Manager at BigCommerce. He enjoys taking merchants along the product design journey and delivering features that are simple to use and meaningful. Jordan also focuses on enabling integrations between BigCommerce and other partner products, to equip merchants with the tools and services they need to operate their entire business within the BigCommerce ecosystem. Jordan is based out of Sydney and has a strong passion for product leadership, and health and fitness.