My Business heard from several disappointed shoppers, who labelled Amazon’s launch on Tuesday, 5 December, as “a major flop” and “an epic fail”.
Despite claims leading up to the launch that Amazon would slash retail prices by as much as 30 per cent, price was one of the major disappointments, as was the lack of next-day delivery — something already offered by Amazon in other countries including the US and Europe.
Others complained about a limited product range, which weakened the desirability of the platform as a shopping destination in the lead up to Christmas.
The company was also panned in the mainstream media, after reports emerged that Amazon’s own product — the Kindle — was selling on its marketplace for a higher price than the one offered by retailer Officeworks.
My Business saw a number of other examples of price discrepancies, such as with the Canon IXUS 185 digital camera, which Amazon listed for sale at $141.96, while Harvey Norman was selling the same camera for $135.
The complaints about price and delivery add weight to the views put forward by Russell Zimmerman, head of the Australian Retailers Association, that Amazon would struggle to face the same challenges that have long plagued established local retailers.
“I don’t know whether the cost of business that they talk about — this 30 per cent — whether that is achievable when you work out what the costs of doing business in Australia are,” Mr Zimmerman previously told My Business.
However, Amazon is unlikely to be put off by the disappointing start, with a statement announcing its official launch describing the company’s long-term commitment.
“Focusing on customers and the long term are key principles in Amazon’s approach to retailing,” said Rocco Braeuniger, country manager of Amazon Australia.
“By concentrating on providing a great shopping experience and by constantly innovating on behalf of customers, we hope to earn the trust and the custom of Australian shoppers in the years to come.”
He added: “Over time, we will create thousands of new jobs and invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Australia. The result will be an ever-improving customer experience driven by the regular introduction of new products and services that we hope customers will love.”