Alexa is teaching Amazon's German-born country manager how to speak Australian

The Amazon Innovation Summit in Sydney. Image: Chris Pash

Amazon Australia country manager Rocco Brauniger’s view of his new home was formed 20 years ago when he worked on a farm in Queensland.

Brauniger, who’s been with Amazon since 2006, came to Australia after being director of consumables at Amazon Germany.

He says his favourite moment at Amazon is launching Amazon Australia on December 5 last year.

“It was a great experience as a team, energetic, it was amazing,” he told Amazon Innovation Day at Darling Harbour in Sydney.

“I have actually been in Australia 20 years ago. I did a working travel thing for nine months … and three months on a farm in Queensland.

“It was totally remote, two to three hours drive to the next town, and seven people, one dog and me. One German, 7000 cattle and 40,000 sheep.

“Back then I already knew that one day I would come back. The country was so amazing.”

Since launching last year Amazon has been disrupting the local retail sector by introducing services normally seen from Amazon in the US and Europe.

One is Amazon Prime, a membership offering free delivery. That’s expected to be introduced later this year.

Local retailers are already having trouble keeping up with Amazon on price, according to research from Morgan Stanley.

And in February Amazon launched delivery for third-party sellers in Australia via Marketplace, Fulfilment by Amazon.

Rocco Braeuniger. Image: Chris Pash

“We are working hard at bringing a lot of innovation here,” he told several thousand people at the International Convention Centre.

Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated digital assistant, arrived complete with an Australian accent.

His children love Alexa and the assistant has been correcting Brauniger’s Australian pronunciation.

“I wanted to go to the beach and I asked Alex: ‘What’s the surf at Freshwater Beach?’.”

“It answered: Today at Freshie beach …

“So it is already correcting me. It’s not Freshwater beach, it’s Freshie.”

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