Amazon’s Australian operation could be open for the holidays
Amazon is about to make its debut Down Under.
While he would not commit to a specific date, Amazon’s country manager Rocco Braeuniger teased that the company is “really, really close” to opening in Australia. He also hinted that the company will ship goods from its first Australian warehouse in time for the end-of-year holiday season, according to Reuters.
According to the report, Braeuniger made the announcement while addressing 600 prospective product merchants at a suppliers’ summit on the Sydney waterfront. The event is held to encourage merchants to sell on its website.
According to another report from the Sidney Morning Herald, Braeuniger added that when Amazon does open, the rollout would be similar to those in other European markets. That said, the company will launch with a wide range of products and delivery options, in effort to build a local customer base. Once that customer segment is in place, then Amazon will consider introducing products like its fast-delivery subscription service Prime Now or the fresh food delivery AmazonFresh.
The new operation gives Australian shoppers the opportunity to buy merchandise locally, rather than place orders on Amazon’s Marketplace — a global marketplace for third-party sellers. Currently, more than 1,000 Australian companies sell their wares on the platform. However, shoppers can wait up to 12 days to receive merchandise — and be subject to hefty shipping fees.
By opening a 93,000 square m (Australian) warehouse in Melbourne, Amazon will stock “hundreds of thousands of products” ready to deliver to local customers.
In addition to shipping merchandise out of its new Australian warehouse, Amazon will continue hosting third-party retailers on its online marketplace.
The Australian operation will also put local brick-and-mortar retailers in the hot-seat to protect their sales. Earlier this month, Myer Holdings Ltd. cut its growth targets, citing weak trading conditions. Meanwhile, David Jones recently contributed to the first profit decline in eight years for its owner, South Africa’s Woolworths Holdings, Reuters said.
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Study: BOPIS usage tops holiday shopping lists this year
If retailers want to maximize in-store foot traffic this holiday season, they must focus on buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS) services.
In fact, 58% of consumers said they’ll rely on the BOPIS fulfillment option this holiday shopping season, an increase of 25% over last year, according to “Holiday Consumer Trends Report: 2017 Edition,” a report from Kibo.
Consumers are attracted to BOPIS for a variety of reasons. The top ones include saving on shipping costs (66%), saving time while in-store (53%), and getting the product when it’s convenient (39%). This holiday season, BOPIS services are key to retailers maximizing in-store foot traffic, and thereby cement their brands’ reputations for stellar service across both digital and physical buying touchpoints, the study said.
“It’s clear that consumer expectations for this holiday season are as high as ever, and retailers need to prepare by providing connected and seamless experiences across online and physical channels,” said Tushar Patel, chief marketing officer, Kibo. “BOPIS fulfillment and accessible inventory information are going to take center stage this season for the seemingly obvious reasons of saving busy holiday shoppers time and money.”
Shoppers are so value-savvy that 70% of shoppers expect to receive free shipping during the holidays, a clear influence of Amazon Prime. Almost half of shoppers surveyed (46%) indicated the top way to improve their experience is for retailers to provide offers and promotions that are relevant to their current gift search. Meanwhile, 70% of shoppers indicated a relevant discount will make them more likely to visit or shop on a website during the holidays.
Customers also have pre-requisites to round out their store visits. For example, over half of shoppers (54%) said they use online inventory information to justify a trip to a store during the holidays. Meanwhile, 67% of shoppers expect free shipping when gifts are returned, and 65% expect to be able to return an online purchase to a store.
“Retailers can further enhance their odds of winning more consumers by providing better personalized and relevant product recommendations and promotional offers,” said Patel.
“Consumers are shopping on the behalf of others this time of year. Personalization solutions that rely only on typical past behaviors will seem completely irrelevant while shopping for gifts,” he added. “Only real-time individualization solutions can predict buying intent and change the offers in response to consumers’ real-time shopping behaviors. The benefits of this continues beyond the holiday season, as consumers fall back into more normal shopping behaviors. No shopper wants be haunted for the next six months by the doll they purchased for their niece at Christmas.”
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