Amazon launches in Australia, offers one-day metro delivery

In the early hours of Tuesday, 5 December, Amazon announced the launch of its full Australian online retail operations at Amazon.com.au.
The site stocks products across more than 20 categories – from consumer electronics to clothing, with fast delivery options.
Amazon is offering customers free delivery on eligible orders above $49, and one-day delivery in select areas across Australia.
Amazon expects to launch its ‘Prime’ shipping, shopping and entertainment benefits in Australia in mid-2018, and the company is directing customers to register online for more information.
“Focusing on customers and the long term are key principles in Amazon’s approach to retailing,” said Rocco Braeuniger, Country Manager, Amazon Australia.
“By concentrating on providing a great shopping experience and by constantly innovating on behalf of customers, we hope to earn the trust and the custom of Australian shoppers in the years to come.”
The selection at Amazon.com.au includes products offered by large Australian brands, as well as small and medium-sized Australian businesses selling on Amazon Marketplace.
Customer orders will be fulfilled from Amazon’s new distribution centre in Dandenong South, and Amazon also has corporate offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Canberra that are home to more than 1,000 employees.
“Over time, we will create thousands of new jobs and invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Australia,” said Braeuniger. “The result will be an ever-improving customer experience driven by the regular introduction of new products and services that we hope customers will love.”
The Australian Financial Review has revealed that shares in Australia-based global delivery logistics software company GetSwift doubled on Friday, 1 December, following the news that it has signed a ‘master services agreement’ with Amazon.
“GetSwift is pleased to announce that it has signed a global master services agreement with Amazon,” GetSwift said in an ASX announcement. “The extent of the services to be provided and the revenues to be derived will be generated from specific transactions agreed with Amazon pursuant to the Master Services Agreement.
“Due to the terms of the agreement the number of deliveries this agreement may generate is currently not determinable.
Australian customers can now also access Prime Video and Twitch Prime, for an introductory price of US$2.99 ($4.00) per month.
Jim Power – consumer sector research analyst at Martin Currie, a division of asset management firm Legg Mason – noted that Australia’s retail sector will cope with the arrival of Amazon.
“While Amazon will have an impact on the Australian retail landscape, based on my discussions with a wide range of market participants in the US, I remain positive of the Australian retail sector.
“My main take away [from meeting US retailers] was that Amazon’s key advantage is that its strategy is driven by data, not gut feel, and the key source of this data is the Marketplace.
“For Amazon’s Marketplace to be successful in Australia, Amazon will need a good product range, including local specialty suppliers. I think this may prove difficult.”

ASBFEO advises Amazon on local SME protection obligations

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has written to e-commerce company Amazon to ensure the company complies with Australia’s unfair contract terms legislation upon its arrival.
Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the pending arrival of Amazon Marketplace in Australia represented an opportunity for many small businesses to compete online and extend their reach, though she took the opportunity to remind the company of its obligation to treat small businesses fairly in accordance with Australian law.
“Some businesses are concerned about the threat of competition while others are excited to embrace the opportunity that Amazon offers,” said Carnell.
“For consumers the Amazon Marketplace promises to expand choice and put downward pressure on prices. I’m interested to see how Australian small businesses can accelerate sales and broaden their customer base though the Amazon platform.”
Carnell said analysis of the Amazon Marketplace contract terms in the US suggested they would have to be changed in Australia to comply with federal legislation.
“From 12 November 2016, changes to the Australian Consumer Law protect small business from unfair terms in standard-form contracts,” she said.
“A standard-form contract is one that has been prepared by one party and where the other party has little or no opportunity to negotiate the terms. An unfair term is one that causes a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations and causes detriment to a small business if it were applied or relied upon.”
Carnell said in Amazon’s US terms and conditions, the company reserves the right to refuse service, terminate accounts, terminate rights to use Amazon services, remove or edit content, or cancel orders at its sole discretion.
“This may be considered unfair as action can be taken by one party, Amazon, but not the other party, the vendor, to terminate the contract,” she said.
“I’ve requested that Amazon review the terms and conditions in use for standard-form contracts in its Australian operations to ensure they comply with the unfair contracts terms legislation.”

Sendle partners with eBay

Courier service Sendle has partnered with e-commerce marketplace eBay, to target small- and medium-sized businesses. The collaboration will enable sellers to link eBay accounts directly with Sendle to instantly create shipping labels and receive access to flat-rate pricing throughout Australia.
Additionally, eBay sellers now have free access to Sendle Premium, normally priced at $10 per month, which provides an extra dollar off standard pricing.
To launch the partnership, Sendle is giving away 25,000 deliveries to the eBay seller community.
“We hear from our sellers that shipping can be one of the biggest pain points in running a business,” said Amrita Blickstead, Director – Small Business & Shipping, eBay Australia & New Zealand. “The integration with Sendle is designed to remove some of this friction, and will allow our 40,000 small to medium sellers to be more efficient and sell instantly without being locked into a contract or a minimum spend.”
James Chin Moody, Co-founder and CEO of Sendle, added, “‘Sendle for eBay’ is levelling the playing field for small- and medium-sized eBay sellers…With a deep understanding of eBay seller needs and working together with eBay, we are focussed on eliminating frustrating pain points for both buyers and sellers, making the delivery process seamless.”

BHP releases online shipping platform

BHP Billiton has released an online auctioning platform for shippers to offer the best haulage price for commodities such as iron ore.
The company hopes the platform will help reduce costs as it avoids brokers who usually negotiate vessel-hire rates between shippers and cargo owners, Reuters reports.
It could also alter the way mining companies contract freight services.
The system is thought to be the first of its kind for a major charterer, although similar platforms have used by companies such as Ocean Freight Exchange.
BHP held its first cargo auction using the platform this week, where 13 ship owners and operators – including Japanese-based Mistui OSK – submitted bids to ship 170,000 tonnes of iron ore from Western Australia through to China in February.
Company spokesperson Angela Perera said they received more than 50 submissions within an hour, with the final price nearly 30c below the spot price.
The winning bidder was not identified.
The platform, however, could affect the ship broking industry, as an anonymous source from French company Barry Rogliano Salles said, “If BHP finds its workable, maybe Rio Tinto and FMG (Fortescue Metals Group) would do online auctions as well which will affect almost all brokers in the market.”
In the year to June 30, BHP spent US$764 million ($1 billion) shipping 275 million tonnes of iron ore from WA globally.

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