My first impression of Amazon Australia

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Taa daa! Amazon is finally here in Australia! This is probably THE biggest wait of the year for the eager Aussie online shoppers. Well I was in the queue to see the big landing too and have already been browsing on the site all day. I thought I’d share my first impression of it in case anyone is wondering.

Before Amazon announced its way to Australia, I have already shopped multiple times on Amazon US. I came out as a delightful customer most of the times, so I have high expectations for its Aussie domain. At first glance, I can already see that the layout of the Aussie site is different. It doesn’t offer bonus deals or holiday gift guides like the US domain normally does. But it does offer product recommendations based on your browsing history, which is quite useful and powerful.

So I randomly picked the women’s clothing section to go through. A lot of items they display on the first page excited me. Like this gorgeous smart casual dress from a brand I’ve never heard of before. It looks fairly good quality on the picture though, and I googled some product reviews from YouTube and Amazon US, they all sounds pretty positive. And the best part about it, it’s only $33.09?! I seriously haven’t seen any dress with that kind of price here in Australia. I dare say, if the product is genuinely good quality, it could easily be selling for $60+ at the stores here. So this dress is definitely in my shopping cart to buy and try. Some details I noticed and I’ll also comment:

  • The size selection is in S/M/L/XL, but the size chart only shows numbers, so I have to make an assumption here. I’m generally size 8 in Australia, so I’m guessing that’s an M?
  • No buyer reviews yet which is kind of expected as it’s still early days. But if you go to amazon.com and do a search on the item name, you’re likely to find the same product with US customer reviews.
  • None of the items are on Amazon Prime, yet.
  • Delivery for this item is expected to be 10th January 2018… !@#$%^&* Clearly this is not up to date with online shopping expectation nowadays. Hopefully Prime will be coming soon to expedite this.

Next I went through the toys section. Again, on the first page, I saw some pretty cool stuff which I haven’t seen in any stores here. Take this Marble Run Railway as example, it seems like the perfect Christmas gift my son. Again though, I’m not sure about the product brand. Based on googling reviews, it seems like a decent product.

I also looked through the LEGO collections because I was so keen to see how much they would be selling for on Amazon. We all know LEGOs in Australia, even after taking into account of exchange rates, they can still be 10%-20% more expensive than the US. The specific ones I looked for don’t seem to be on Amazon Australia yet, so I did a quick browse through what they do have available. This time I wasn’t too thrilled as there doesn’t seem to be much of a price advantage here. In fact, for some of the common series like LEGO City or Friends, I’m sure I’ve even seen them cheaper at our local department stores when they are on sale.

I then did a search for picture books, specifically one called Pumpkin Soup (it’s my son’s absolute favourite at the moment). While it’s nice to see that it is available, the price is again not too impressive. Book is something you can easily compare via Google, so that’s what I did. Book Depository sells it with free shipping for 20% less than the best price I could see on Amazon Australia.

Moving on to other things. I was hoping to find some of the popular items I’d constantly seen on YouTube, like gold paint sprays and marble contact papers. To my surprise as well, I couldn’t find much of a selection on Amazon Australia. Not sure if it’s because it’s still early days, I’m really hoping eventually product ranges here will be close to 100% similar with the US.

Later I went on to browse for some shoes. I was amazed to see some familiar brands here like Novo (if you’re in Australia you’d know this brand). However, based on my local shopping experience at Novo, I know they always have some sort of discount promotion going on like buy one get one free. I didn’t see any of this on Amazon, so I thought I’d probably score a better deal at my local Novo store.

Overall, my first impression of Amazon Australia is good, but not as good as I had anticipated. I’m glad it’s made its way to Australia to bring in more retail competition, but so far I don’t see too much of a price benefit for customers as most people have probably hoped for. Maybe things will change as it continues to expand its product ranges and as its operation stabilizes.

My top future expectations for Amazon Australia would be:

  • Amazon Prime – Please! One month wait for delivery, even with considerations for Christmas and New Year, is just not acceptable.
  • More product range with more competitive pricing.
  • Some Aussie buyer reviews would be nice to see.
  • Holiday deals and guides tailored to Aussies.
  • Standardize clothing and shoe size charts for Aussies too please.

In the end, would I recommend Amazon as a place to shop for Aussies? Definitely yes! Even if it’s purely another source to shop for more and different product varieties, it’s worth a wander. I will probably do another update on my shopping experience here after I’ve done a few.

If you’re an Aussie reading this post, let me know in the comments what your first impression of Amazon is like. Do you think you will try it out or continue to shop there? What are your expectations of it?

Happy Christmas shopping!

Shan

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