It was recently announced that Amazon is coming to Australia. They have actually been operating within Australia since 2013 when they set up their Australian KIndle store. Was that a good or bad thing for Australians? I guess it depends on which perspective you come from.
Retail bookstores have been feeling the pinch for many years now. That's probably in large part due to consumers ability to purchase books online through the likes of Kindle.
Have you noticed that retail prices of books have dropped over the last few years? Books which used to retail for around $30 - $35 now retail in many cases around the $20 mark.
Is that a good or a bad thing? Depends who you are asking. I recently read an article that said that authors are struggling to make a dollar due to online platforms such as Kindle, however, I believe that most published authors have always struggled to make a living from their trade as the publishers take the largest portion of the sale and of course the retailer also needs to be paid, leaving just the crumbs for the author.
Kindle Direct Publishing is only one of the platforms now available for authors to sell directly to consumers meaning they can keep up to 90% of the proceeds from their book sales. Authors no longer need to go through the often demoralising process of having their work scrutenised by publishing houses only to be turned down over and over again.
You can't tell me that these publishing houses are looking for the best written works to publish either, when you consider that the biggest selling book of all time next to the Bible is *Fifty Shades of Grey". Hardly a literary manuscipt.
Australian retailers are going to have their feathers ruffled with the arrival of Amazon but lets face it. We are now living in the 21st century where change is constant. It will mean that retailers will need to better their game in order to survive. No business can expect to set up shop and expect customers to flock to their doors without a well thought out marketing plan, a thorough knowledge of who their competitors are and how they operate, plus have strategies in place to keep their customers returning and loyal to their brand.
Retail businesses will need to improve their marketing practices, better define who their customers are, re-assess what they are selling. Is it unique to the marketplace? and if not then how can it be made to stand out from what everyone else is offering.
I have heard of a trend in womens and mens fashion where some lower priced retailers such as H & M are now launching four new lines of clothing every month. I believe these types of stores will be the first to feel the effects of Amazon in Australia.
Some Australian retailers are already saying they won't be able to compete against Amazon due to Amazon's ability to offer goods at lower prices, but pricing is only one part of retailing.
The stores which offer great customer service experiences, extreme convenience and a unique range of quality products will have a much better chance at competing against the likes of Amazon.
Getting back to the original question.... will Amazon be a good or bad thing for Australians? I believe it will be a good thing and should be looked upon as an opportunity.
Amazon currently attracts 50% of all the money spent on e-commerce in North America. That's a huge slice of the pie, however, Amazon the corporation do not receive all of that.
Third party retailers receive a good portion of those billions. Third party retailers are people like you and I. They are the stay at home mums and dads, the retiree or student grad who decide to spend their spare time setting up an online business, rather than watching the latest tv drama or socialising for a drink or two with their mates every weekend. They have taken the steps to learn about e-commerce and how best to use a state of the art sales and logistics system which Amazon have spent billions developing.
I'm not saying that setting up shop on the Amazon platform is an easy feat. I understand that a very high percentage of Amazon sellers drop off the platform within the first 3 to 6 months of signing up.
It's a great platform and because of that competition is fierce. It may take some time to learn all the ins and outs of selling successfully on Amazon, but once you have learnt how best to use this platform, it becomes an even playing ground. I have seen many examples of where small individual sellers have their products ranking higher than the large corporations. I actually believe that these individuals have an advantage over some of the larger corporate sellers who can't just make a decision on a whim and need to have all the stakeholders agree to any major strategical changes.
At the end of the day if I was to randomly ask retail assistants if they would prefer to carry on working for their companies at $19 an hour or earn the equivalent money or better, working for themselves from home whilst building up their own business and brand and working to their own chosen schedule, I'm sure the majority would choose the latter.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my opinion on this topic. I realise that not everyone will agree with me. Please feel free to comment below.
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