Author: Angie Mardon, Engine Room Hub

 

Retail giant Amazon has announced that from July 1, Australian shoppers will no longer be able to buy goods from its international websites.

 

Amazon’s made a shock announcement last week stating its’ intention to limit Australian shoppers to purchasing goods from Amazon.com.au touting changes to GST collection rules on goods shipped from overseas being the basis for this decision.

 

Australian shoppers will be automatically directed to their recently launched Australia site Amazon.com.au

 

The result of this decision will mean that Australians will lose access to some 480 million products currently available to Australian shoppers and limit them to a choice of just 60 million products that will be available through amazon.com.au

 

Along with ebay and ASOS, Amazon have been engaged in a long-running battle with the government over its plans to do away with the GST threshold for online purchases and how GST is to be collected. While, simultaneously local retailers have made a strong case for GST to be collected on global shopping platforms so as to close the advantage overseas retailers have been enjoying.

 

Some well-known Australian retailers see this decision as a ‘publicity stunt’, some see this is an arrogance that says ‘we don’t care enough about Australian customers’ while others see this as a ‘Trojan Horse’.

 

Whoever is right and whatever the outcome of Amazon’s decision, perhaps the biggest takeaway is that maybe the sky won’t fall in after all, maybe Australian retailers won’t be decimated because Amazon is here but traditional retailers do have to make changes to counter not only Amazon but other online global shopping platforms.

 

The bricks & mortar retailers most competitive in the digital age will be those who offer something online stores can’t and who use their high-street stores to support their online platforms.  Retailers must use analytics captured online to track customer behaviour and use it to their best advantage. The opportunity lies with those who can use technology to shape their future because, despite Amazon’s decision they are not going anywhere soon.