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Amazon goes live in Australia

After months of speculation, the online retail giant has officially graced Australian shores.

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(Image: Screenshot by Asha McLean/ZDNet)

Online retail giant Amazon has finally launched in Australia, and although the appeal to many locals is the idea of easy access to global products, Amazon is focusing on the "buy Australian" angle.

According to Amazon Australia, the listings on Amazon.com.au include "millions" of products offered by well-known Australian brands, as well as those from small and medium-sized local businesses selling on Amazon Marketplace.

It will offer customers just over 20 product categories, including books, video games, consumer electronics, shoes, and Amazon Devices.

Orders of over AU$49 sold by Amazon will receive free shipping, and a one-day delivery service is available in select areas across Australia. Orders will be fulfilled from Amazon's new fulfilment centre in Dandenong South, Victoria.

"Focusing on customers and the long term are key principles in Amazon's approach to retailing," Amazon Australia country manager Rocco Braeuniger said. "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 launch of Amazon down under is expected to shake up the retail space in Australia, despite many organisations having years to prepare for such a company to enter the local market.

Speaking with ZDNet last month, Stuart O'Neill, head of SAP Hybris for Australia and New Zealand, said he expects the launch to light a fire under local organisations.

"I've seen them rest on their laurels and continue to make fairly significant margins in the retail space and be comfortable to do that, and not really expect this was going to happen," he said.

"It's not like it was a surprise, but I'm very much hoping this is a catalyst for change.

"There is a massive opportunity for a differentiated experience."

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chair Rod Sims last week offered his support for the online retail giant coming to Australia, noting that the launch would be good for consumers.

"It is hard to see otherwise than that Amazon's entry into Australia will be good for consumers, despite it not being good for incumbent retailers," Sims said, addressing the RBB Economics forum in late November.

The ACCC has even been asked to "act against Amazon's business model" by some of Australia's retail incumbents, he added.

According to Sims, though, the regulator encourages "vigorous competition on its merits -- and this will see many firms fail".

Amazon Prime Video and Twitch Prime are also available to Australians as of Tuesday.

Amazon announced on Thursday that it will be bringing Alexa and Echo to Australia and New Zealand in early 2018, as well as allowing developers to "build voice experiences" with the Alexa Skills Kit and Alexa Voice Service for customers in both countries.

Amazon Web Services launched an Australian region in 2012, and the Australian Kindle Store opened in 2013.

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