For most of 2017, the topic of Amazon’s Australian launch dominated the conversations of the retail sector. It has been predicted in some quarters that Australian businesses will lose out while in others the outlook is more positive with many believing Amazon will benefit Australian commerce.

One thing we can be sure of is that Amazon’s arrival will fundamentally change how our businesses operate as they alter what customers expect from online shopping. Businesses around the country have already started to adapt to the changing landscape by emulating Amazon’s most profitable feature – customer engagement.

Amazon-proofing your business

Amazon’s customer engagement and delivery will change the way shoppers interact with Australian businesses and their perception of what good service and engagement look like. Businesses that want to thrive in this new market will need to be ready to match Amazon’s quality of engagement.

Businesses will need to think outside the box and reinvent their brand strategy to compete, and the perfect time to do that is now. Investing in and leveraging customer engagement and marketing technology will aid Australian businesses in building emotional connections with their customers. This will be a crucial aspect of competitiveness in an increasingly aggressive ecommerce sector.

Australian businesses have nothing to fear from Amazon if at the heart of all their future marketing decisions is improving customer engagement. In fact, with the right strategy, Amazon Australia could help grow Australian business across the world.

Using Amazon to grow

The best action businesses could take is to get in early by creating their own Amazon Seller Account. Once Amazon fully launches and has well-stocked fulfilment centres, the market will swiftly be terraformed and businesses will be entering late on an upward curve.

It is those fulfilment centres that could completely change ecommerce businesses for the better. Amazon is well known for selling practically everything under the sun but what it excels at is not having an unfathomably large catalogue of products, instead being the complete online retailer. Their customer service is almost flawless and their fulfilment services are unrivalled.

Once Amazon’s fulfilment centres are fully operational, Australian businesses can use the Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) system to massively reduce overheads and provide them with more time and resources to focus on world-class customer engagement.

FBA lets businesses delegate their domestic retail logistics to it, and it will warehouse their goods and dispatch them more quickly and cost-effectively than many businesses could do on their own.

It’s the ‘bulk buying’ of logistics.
However, FBA is not required to sell through Amazon, and businesses that wish to retain control over shipment will still benefit from being catalogued on Amazon.

Why Australian businesses should use Amazon

First, there is the access to new markets. Amazon is a globally recognised brand with an unparalleled reach. When that is coupled with the perception that the quality of Australian-made goods is excellent we have a recipe for success.

Products from a trusted supplier are being sold through a trusted brand platform and that gives global customers the confidence to buy – especially if those products aren’t typically available in the buyers’ home market.

Second, Australians are already using Amazon. Plenty of businesses around the world are already shipping their products to Australia. This demonstrates how trusted Amazon is as a brand as Australians already buy products from international businesses with complete confidence via Amazon. Give them a chance to buy locally and get quicker delivery and they’ll take it with just as much confidence.

Finally, there is no doubt that Amazon’s arrival in Australia will change the business landscape forever for many retailers, putting pressure on physical stores and setting new standards for ecommerce retailers. However, the opportunity for businesses to increase their online presence, reach new audiences and scale their operation is there. They just have to be ready to take it.