Amazon's arrival in Australia was one of the most hyped events in 2017. However, what was originally termed a "retail revolution", quickly fizzled into an underwhelming "non-event".
In 2015, Amazon was dubbed one of the four horsemen of the digital apocalypse, alongside Facebook, Google and Apple. Further, in 2017 Amazon overtook Google as the world's most valuable brand. According to the annual Brand Finance Global 5000, Amazon is now valued at US$150 billion.
That marks a massive 42% leap in a year for the company where net sales hit US$177.9 billion. Its net income was US$3 billion.
So, how does such an unstoppable force like Amazon underwhelm so spectacularly?
After months of frenzied anticipation, Amazon launched. Australian users logged on to the e-commerce giant's local site to access the much-hyped bargains - only to find prices were more or less the same as local retailers.
Subsequently, Amazon was immediately dubbed a flop. Journalists and editors caught wind and Australian retailers blew a sigh of relief as they wiped the sweat from their brows - Amazon was no longer deemed 'competition'.
So, is Amazon a total bust? Here's what we think.
While consumers may be perplexed, for now, Australian businesses run the risk of allowing the decidedly underwhelming debut from Amazon to lure them into a false sense of security. Like in Europe and the US, Amazon WILL become a dominant force in Australia.
The question is when not if.
Amazon's Australian Marketplace became its fastest growing in the world and had surpassed 5000 retailers just 42 days after launch. Further, web traffic to Amazon.com.au surged 80% in December as 3.8 million shoppers visited, according to Nielsen.
Amazon is much more than a retailer, it is a data mining machine. Traditional retailers are struggling to transform to the digital age, and that's apparent in the Australian market. Where Australian retailers are focused on physical or online, Amazon is blending the two together to create a consumer experience like never before.
Amazon US launched its automated 'Go' stores, which allow consumers to buy items without lining up to pay at a checkout. It uses technology to identify the shopper as they enter the store and recognises items they pick up, so they can walk out the door without the traditional checkout process. If trials succeed in the US, we can expect to see its arrival in Australia in the future.
Here's our fleeting tip - Amazon is not just simply a retailer. It's a force to be reckoned with. Smart brands will get on board NOW and will reap the rewards when inevitable growth surges. Take first mover advantage, get aboard the Amazon bandwagon. It's not a matter of if, it's just a matter of when.
P.s. Amazon also offers marketing services similar to paid search, but more intent based and shopping search related. That's where we come in. If you want to know more, just drop us a line!