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Amazon are on the property prowl…and have Oz firmly in their sights.

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Amazon’s arrival could put the Fire under local retailers

That’s according to local property execs who say Amazon are trawling local greenfield sites to develop a local warehouse to distribute its goods – everything from Kindles, books, electronics and clothing – meaning headaches for everyone from Gerry Harvey, JB Hi-Fi, to Myer and Solomon Lew’s Pacific Brands.

No word where in Australia the warehouse would be based, but it looks like the development could be a core part of the e-tailer’s Asia Pacific strategy, reports SMH.

Amazon execs are said to be preparing to come Down Under to check out potential sites for themselves said to be located along the “eastern seaboard,” the report states.

And Amazon are coming at an excellent time and this is a “massive opportunity” for the internet mammoth to enter the Aussie market, says Telsyte analyst Sam Yip, who points out the market here is about 24 months behind US, in terms of digital commerce.

Local sites test the waters and then US multinationals come in and capitalise on consumer sentiment, which is now pointing firmly towards online buying.

This happened last year when local group buying sites like Spreets, Jump On It opened up the market for discounted goods and then US big guns like Groupon pounced, pushing Aussie players aside.

Amazon is currently the No. 9 most visited website in Australia, with around 3 million visitors spending an average of 14 minutes browsing every month, according to recent statistics.

However, it currently ships goods from Amazon.com in the US but a local distribution centre could significantly boost local market share by cutting shipping costs and waiting times for customers locally.

But although Amazon entry here is a huge threat, all is not lost for local players, says Yip.

Aussies are not loyal to online sites, they are loyal to deals only – whether its Harvey’s, Spreets or Catch Of the Day.

Big name Aussie retailers like Coles, who are forecasting significant amounts of business online, Dick Smith and Harvey Norman have also recently ramped up its digital offering, meaning the battle is on.

 

Local retailers have also woken up to the fact they need to do more than just place their wares on show in an online forum and have begun offering major discounts online, which was critical to the development of e-commerce here, says Yip.

OZ consumers spent $15.9 billion in online purchases last year, that’s a whopping 64% lift on 2010 figures and now see websites as a major discount channel.

Amazon has the brand and the power to now capitalise on this. Expect Fire.

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