Since it was revealed in August that Amazon would launch in Australia, the retail industry has been thrown into turmoil as speculation grows about the impact the tech giant will have on the local market.
The views range from Amazon having a seismic hit on Australian retailing, to the polar opposite.
And despite warnings from industry experts to prepare in advance, some prominent online retailers remain nonchalant.
Last week Business Insider spoke with Appliances Online founder and Winning Group CEO John Winning, who said his business has done nothing to prepare for Amazon’s arrival.
In his opinion, as a retailer of mainly large appliances, he was only slightly exposed to the online behemoth and the the hardest hit will be books, cosmetics and clothing retailers.
If that scenario is true, Showpo founder and CEO Jane Lu should be worried, but she’s not.
Lu says she hasn’t specifically prepared for Amazon because the clothing ecommerce business is in better position than other local retailers.
“I think we’re not going to be immune from Amazon, but we won’t be as affected due to our strong branding and unique products,” Lu told Business Insider.
“Also, since international expansion is within ongoing strategy, we’re already constantly working on improving on our offerings and services to be more competitive on a global scale.
“We’re just working on building our brand and improving our offerings to our customers – which is what we’ve always been doing, so I guess we haven’t done or planned anything specifically for Amazon.
“I think it’s probably a bit scary if you sell a more homogeneous products or if you sell a branded product that’s selling on Amazon.”
She also expects that there will be initial pain for the local industry following Amazon’s launch, but sees long-term benefits.
“I guess retailers may feel the pains of stiff competition from Amazon,” she said, adding:
In the long-term, they’ll:
1. Educate the market into becoming more savvy online shoppers and convert more bricks-and-mortar shoppers into online and change consumer shopping habits. So they’ll grow the pool of online shoppers in Australia; [and]
2. Force retailers to up their game, become more competitive domestically, which in turn will make us more competitive on a global scale.
Amazon Australia’s first warehouse has begun preparations in eastern Melbourne, although it’s still not known when the company will launch.
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