Amazon Australia has changed its webpage title to say it no longer just sells books

Amazon Australia fulfillment centre in Melbourne. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Amazon Australia just changed the title of its webpage, in a sign that the launch of the general online store could be just days away.

The Amazon Australia website has operated for many years a bookstore for the US parent, but 10 days ago it opened as a general store to a limited number of customers for testing.

While that test proved an anti-climax for most Australians, who can still only buy books and Kindle products through the site, a significant change occurred in the past few days – an update of the webpage title, which visitors can see on the top of their browser.

It previously had the title “ Shop for Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire HDX, Kindle Books, Apps for Android, Cloud Drive, and Audible Audiobooks”. But now, as industry publication eSellerCafe first noticed, the webpage title is “ Shop online for Electronics, Apparel, Toys, Books, DVDs & more”.

The change indicates Amazon Australia’s launch as a general product site is imminent. The title is now very similar to the original US retail site, which currently bears the tagline “ Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & more”.

The amendment ahead of the actual launch makes sense, in terms of allowing search engines like Google and Bing enough time to update its indexing information about the website.

Here are the screenshots we took. First, the current title: webpage title on December 4, 2017. (screenshot)

And this is how it compares to what it was last week: webpage title on November 27, 2017. (screenshot from Wayback Machine/Internet Archive)

Amazon this year opened its first local fulfillment centre – the term it uses for warehouses — in the eastern Melbourne neighbourhood of Dandenong South.

Last month, as rumours of a Black Friday launch spread, accidentally published pages showed products such as HP computers and printers; household appliances from Dyson and Sunbeam; all sorts of odds-and-ends from Amazon’s own in-house label AmazonBasics; and sporting goods from Adidas, Asics and New Balance.

News then broke last week that Amazon had bought land and leased facilities in Sydney, with speculation that a second fulfillment will be built there.

Industry analysts predict the retail giant could undercut local rivals by as much as 30% in order to gain market share.

Rod Sims, the head of the national consumer watchdog Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, said last week Amazon’s arrival in Australia would be a win for consumers, even if it meant some local incumbents become collateral damage.

“In competitive markets, some firms prosper while others go out of business,” Sims said.

“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.”

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