Amazon Australia: Everything you need to know

What does Amazon Australia sell cheaper? How long will you have to wait for Amazon Prime down under? How can you sell your own stuff through Amazon? All your questions answered.

What is Amazon?

Amazon is a US-based online retailer that started in 1994 selling books online. It has expanded massively over the years, now selling everything from its own branded tablets to washing powder to garden tools and pretty much everything in-between to a global audience. Australians have long been able to shop on Amazon.com, but 2017 has seen Amazon massively expand its Australian presence. Here's what you need to know to be a powerhouse Amazon Australia shopper.

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It's the biggest question for Amazon Australia: is what it's selling available cheaper elsewhere? Check out our analyses to find out.

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When will Amazon Australia launch?

In early 2017, Amazon confirmed plans to expand into Australia, offering a much wider range of goods from the amazon.com.au site. After some experiments in late November, Amazon Australia finally officially launched in the early hours of Tuesday 5 December 2017. We've rounded up everything you need to know about what's happening with Amazon in Australia.

What's the difference between Amazon and Amazon Australia?

Amazon Australia is, simply put, the local arm of the US retailing giant. Strictly speaking, Amazon has been operating in Australia since 2013, selling eBooks and its Kindle e-readers and tablets.

For years it was rumoured that Amazon was making plans to launch a more fully featured retail offering in Australia. Back in April 2016, it confirmed its plans to move into the Australian online retail market.

What this means in practical terms is that if you've already got an Amazon US account (or an Amazon UK account, or one in any of the other markets where Amazon already sells physical goods) it should transfer over to the Australian site without issue, potentially saving you a lot in direct shipping costs.

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Shopping and your account

Do I need an account to purchase something from Amazon Australia?

Yes. Amazon manages all of its customer sales via an account, which is free to set up and incurs no ongoing charges. So you'll need an account to buy from the site. If you have an existing Amazon account for the US, UK or elsewhere, you can use the same login details.

What kinds of products will Amazon sell?

Amazon's expanded range includes clothing, baby items, beauty products, books, music, homewares, sports/fitness goods, stationery, toys, electronics and video games.

When I buy from Amazon Australia, who am I buying from?

It depends what you're buying. In some cases, you will be purchasing from Amazon's Marketplace sellers which are independent small businesses. However, Amazon is also shipping goods directly from its own warehouses, including its own branded line of low-cost products, AmazonBasics range.

How do I pay for purchases on Amazon Australia?

Your account is linked to a purchase method which needs to be a credit card or debit card. You can edit this payment method at any time in your Amazon account.

While Amazon has experimented with bricks and mortar retail stores in the US, there's no sign of such plans in Australia, and in any case, it operates on digital cash only. There's no way to pay with physical cash, and that's not likely to change.

Will I still be able to order through international Amazon sites?

You should be able to order through Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and any other Amazon site even after Amazon Australia launches, if its prior launches are any indication.

However, you can also expect to be gently pushed towards Amazon Australia if what you're trying to buy is available locally, and especially if the only addresses you have on file for your Amazon account are Australian ones.

Shipping and delivery

What is Amazon Prime?

Amazon Prime is Amazon's subscription shipping service. In the US, numerous other services are added to an Amazon Prime subscription, such as video and music streaming, but the key attraction is paying US$99 per year to enable low cost or free shipping on all orders. Amazon has rolled out Prime slightly differently in other markets, such as in the UK where it's offered as a monthly rolling subscription at a much higher price than the US.

Amazon has even taken Prime a step further in the US with Prime Now. Customers can pay an additional US$7.99 and receive their purchases within the hour.

Will Amazon Prime be available in Australia?

At launch, Australian customers don't have access to Prime, but Amazon says it is working on it for 2018>. Amazon does offer one tiny plank of the Amazon Prime platform in Australia via Amazon Prime Video, a streaming subscription service with its own original content. You can pay for that on a month-by-month basis.

How long will deliveries from Amazon Australia take?

This will depend on where you live, what you're ordering and what you're prepared to pay. Priority delivery is available on the same day in capital cities, and within 1-3 days to many other locations. If you spend more than $49, you can qualify for free delivery, which will taken 3-10 days depending on your location. Here's the full breakdown:

LocationPriority speedPriority costExpedited speedExpedited costFree delivery speedCost
Sydney1 business day$9.992-3 business days$5.993-7 business daysFree for orders $49+
Melbourne1 business day$9.992-3 business days$5.993-7 business daysFree for orders $49+
Brisbane1 business day$9.992-3 business days$5.993-7 business daysFree for orders $49+
Adelaide1 business day$9.992-3 business days$5.993-7 business daysFree for orders $49+
Canberra1 business day$9.992-3 business days$5.993-7 business daysFree for orders $49+
Perth1-2 business days$11.992-3 business days$7.993-7 business daysFree for orders $49+
Major cities in NSW, VIC, SA1-2 business days$11.992-3 business days$7.993-7 business daysFree for orders $49+
All other areas1-3 business days$19.993-7 business days$9.997-10 business daysFree for orders $49+

Amazon Marketplace sellers have the option to sign up for Fulfilment by Amazon, which will mean Amazon handles all the seller's deliveries from their Melbourne warehouse. This could allow for quicker delivery time. However, signing up to this isn't compulsory. Check delivery times and costs with each seller before you make your purchase.

Where will Amazon Australia ship from?

Amazon is a retailer, but the secret to its success has long been its mastery of supply chain logistics, which sounds all kinds of impressive, but is basically just a fancy way of saying "they know how to efficiently ship stuff". For long-term customers using the US site to shop from, you'd be aware of the higher shipping costs to Australia in cases where Amazon would ship, or the even higher prices some shipping agents would charge to be middlemen in the equation.

Amazon has opened a fulfilment centre in Melbourne's Dandenong South for the shipping of goods across Australia. That's not a retail location, though, so don't make any plans for a family shopping trip. Interestingly, while physical goods will come from Melbourne, the Australian operation will actually be run from a head office in Sydney.

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What is Amazon Marketplace?

Amazon sells products it warehouses itself, but it also opens up its infrastructure for other merchants to retail through, including advertising of products through Amazon, financial transaction management and even use of Amazon's warehouse facilities where suitable.

Which businesses will be able to sell on Amazon Australia at launch?

According to the email sent to sellers, any seller which has passed the Seller Identity Verification will be part of the testing phase and should be prepared to receive orders from Thursday, 22 November.

How do I sell on Amazon?

Selling on Amazon's Marketplace simply involves signing up on Amazon's website. We've written a full guide on what you need to know about selling on Amazon Australia here.

How much does Amazon Australia charge its sellers?

The following fee structure is in place for sellers on the Amazon Australia Marketplace:

  • $49.95 fee to list products on Amazon.com.au
  • 6-15% commission fee on top of sales. This fee is determined by the type of product you're selling.

How many products will Amazon sell?

A precise number of the product offerings for Amazon Australia is all but impossible given that it's not only launching its own retail offerings but also Amazon Marketplace locally. That could inflate the sheer number and range of products Amazon is offering through its local site markedly. One thing is certain, and that is that Amazon is unlikely to enter the local market with anything less than a significant splash.

Will Amazon also be selling its own products?

Yes. Amazon is selling its own branded goods, including the Kindle line of ereaders and tablets, as well as its own "AmazonBasics" line of self-branded low cost products covering everything from AV connection cables to exercise equipment.

Will Amazon affect local retail jobs?

One of the more contentious issues with the entry of Amazon into the local retail scene is the likely impact on retail jobs. In the US Amazon is a retailing giant and its impact on retail jobs has been quite marked, especially as the company favours automation over long-term staff hiring for most of its shipping tasks.

That being said, while Amazon has launched in other global markets, its effect in those places has been less pronounced than in its home market. Equally, while it may affect some bricks and mortar retailers, the possibilities for merchants selling through Amazon Marketplace could open up new job opportunities for some retailers.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    HarryDecember 10, 2017

    How to join Amazon in order to buy daily foodstuff?

    • Staff
      RenchDecember 12, 2017Staff

      Hi Harry,

      Thanks for your inquiry. Please note that we are not affiliated with Amazon or any company we feature on our site and so we can only offer you general advice.

      Amazon manages all of its customer sales via an account, which is free to set up and incurs no ongoing charges. So you’ll need an account to buy from the site. If you have an existing Amazon account for the US, UK or elsewhere, you can use the same login details. Please visit Amazon official site and log in/register an account.

      Best regards,
      Rench

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