Amazon Australia launches after false starts

The international retail giant, initially tipped to launch on Black Friday, more than a week ago, instead progressively rolled out to users starting just after midnight.

The launch comes just one day after it again warned its Australian Marketplace sellers to “make sure everything is up-to-date” including pricing and shipping details to “take advantage of sales from day one,” according to an email leaked to News Corp, and despite analysts’ predictions that it may delay the launch until early next year due to technical issues.

Bargains available on Amazon’s Australian website at launch included a Nintendo Switch console for $399 (RRP $469), and the PlayStation 4 video game FIFA 18 for $40 (RRP $100).

Amazon launches in Australia, promising to deliver “millions of new products”. Picture: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Amazon launches in Australia, promising to deliver “millions of new products”. Picture: Andrew Harrer/BloombergSource:Supplied

But, as prices are offered by many different retailers on Amazon’s website, others were no cheaper than existing Australian department stores, and some were significantly more expensive.

A 65-inch Samsung QLED Series 7 television, for example, was offered for $5999 by one seller on Amazon Australia, but cost just $3996 in JB Hi-Fi.

The Canon EOS 5D Mk IV digital SLR camera with 24-105mm lens sold for $7399 on Amazon, but was on sale for $5600 at Ted’s Cameras, with an additional $200 cashback offer available.

Amazon also stopped short of launching its Prime service in Australia on day one, which includes discounts and expedited shipping times for members in the United States.

The company’s arrival in Australia has been tipped to shake up the retail industry, with predictions Amazon Australia would put price pressure on department stores and retail chains, in particular.

Gartner research analyst Thomas O’Connor said the American firm was unlikely to offer the cheapest prices “across a full range of products” but would deliver special discounts on some goods, and force existing Australian retailers to innovate to keep consumers loyal.

Harvey Norman founder Gerry Harvey said his retail chain would seek to match prices with Amazon Australia if it provided consistently lower price tags on some good, but not if it merely offered “bait advertising and predatory pricing” on selected items.

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